Reviewing the Review: November 18 2007

Last week we considered some evidence that New York Times Book Review editor Sam Tanenhaus's apparent sympathy to neo-conservative viewpoints might color the Book Review's coverage of political books.

Beowulf and Other Literary Links

-- Here's an article that waxes effusive about digitizing books and making them available on the internet. And here's a related piece about scanning 19th century works to preserve them and make them more widely available.

Ira Levin’s Perfect Day

Reviewing the Review: November 11 2007

I've often wondered (naively, perhaps) if New York Times Book Review editor Sam Tanenhaus's personal political views are expressed in the publication's selection of reviewers for books about history and current events. According to this well-reasoned article by Jim Sleeper from Talking Points Memo Cafe there is a clear neo-conservative slant, specifically a slant towards political critics who believe that "hate America" liberals are to blame for our nation's current problems. Is this true?

Reviewing the Review: September 9 2007

Some issues of the New York Times Book Review just don't seem to get the blood flowing as well as others. It's probably just me, but I can't rouse much feeling one way or another about today's issue.

If I Invaded It

1. Enough with the outrage about O. J. Simpson's If I Did It. The book will be dead on arrival anyway, so who cares about it? What's really obscene, I think, is that some publisher will probably pay Donald Rumsfeld a million dollars for If I Invaded It.

Reviewing the Review: August 5 2007

The problem with me reviewing the New York Times Book Review each week is that I start (start?) to repeat myself. It's pretty much a sure thing that I'll enjoy a book review written by either Liesl Schillinger or Walter Kirn, because Liesl approaches each book with the joy of fresh discovery, and Walter will not consider his job done until he has unearthed at least a couple of surprising insights or connections. So, yeah. They both show up in this week's issue, and they both do a fine job yet again.

Reviewing the Review: July 29 2007

I'm back from vacation, having not looked at a New York Times for exactly one week, and I find the New York Mets still ahead of the Atlanta Braves (good), Dick Cheney still alive (no comment), and the rest of the world generally in the same lousy shape it was when I left it.

Reviewing the Review: July 15 2007

Colin Thubron, the dean of British travel writers, would hate being called the dean of anything.

Walden, or Life in the Woods, by Henry David Thoreau

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, to see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when it came time to die, to discover that I had not lived.
-- Henry David Thoreau, Walden