Ignoring the Review: May 28 2006

Today's edition of the New York Times Book Review is a repulsive pretender, titled "The Food Issue" and devoted entirely -- yes, every single article -- to books about food. I spent about twelve seconds with the issue before concluding that I have no interest in reading any of it.

Last week the Book Review graced us with an all-fiction issue -- most of the articles were dull, but it was good to see so many new novels covered. Now I see that "concept issues" are going to be a continuing plague at the Book Review, and I also see that the fiction-book category is only equal to the food-book category in the mind of editor Sam Tanenhaus. Fiction books, food books ... they're all books, right? Blah.
This article is part of the series Reviewing the New York Times Book Review. The next post in the series is Reviewing the Review: June 4 2006. The previous post in the series is Reviewing the Review: May 21 2006 (and a Tribute to Richard P. Brickner).
2 Responses to "Ignoring the Review: May 28 2006"

by tkg on

I like FoodHey man. I like food. In fact I am hungry now. I want to go down and get some shiau mai right now.Man, even instant oatmeal with brown sugar and real butter, put it in a 32 oz pyrex cover with hot water from the hot water machine and microwave it for two minutes. The oatmeal will be boiling almost over if it weren't such a high 32 oz pyrex cup.The oatmeal (cheapo instant -- store brand) slides down the pyrex sides immediately after the energy is stopped. ...little milk, brown sugar (lots) stir it up add butter while still hot. Like desert and breakfast all at the same time.I think all books maybe should be about food and the NY Times Book Review should only be about food or food related issues or should have a rule that authors of Sunday NYTBR articles must at least put in references to food (in code, secret code if nothing else) in all articles published.For example when some foggy bottom buffoon gets his or her next dull book underwritten by some big NYC publishing house and NYTBR duly features it as cover story, each paragraph begins with a letter that spells out food, e.g. D-U-M-P-L-I-N-G-S-A-R-E-G-O-O-D-Y-U-M-M-Y would envelop a 21 paragraph review of Mad Maddie's next insufferable piece of garbage.

by Thebes on

FoodFood for thought is better. Variety better still. I share the distaste for themed issues, unless the issue can make novel connections between more than one category. Food and symbolism across genres, perhaps, but not "anything about food". I could read about the Beats all day, but an issue devoted exclusively to them would exclude readers and perhaps become overkill unless framed or focused.