A Moment of Jen
THE NEXT BEST THING — In Stores July 3rd!

Thursday, June 14, 2007
posted by Jen at 6/14/2007 03:44:00 PM

So I’m having my own little Kanye West “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” moment over on the New York Times’ book blog.

As regular readers know, I am a regular, and frequently disgruntled, reader of the New York Times Book Review. I'll typically spend a part of each Saturday morning totting up the number of women who get reviewed, or who get to write reviews, muttering things like, “Three pages on the new Ian McEwan? That’s almost as long as the freakin’ book!” and “I can’t believe the only coverage The Thirteenth Tale is getting is a one-liner about how the author’s last name sounds like another author’s last name,” and “Three weeks without a piece by, or about, or even mentioning Gary Shteyngart? How can I go on?”

Things started on Tuesday TBR senior editor Dwight Garner posted a roundup of what other newspapers were reviewing: Michael Chabon, Woody Allen, your typical assortment of Living Dead White Men who the Times routinely covers to death and beyond, leavened with a review of Tina Brown’s take on the ten-years-dead Diana.

I posted a comment pointing out that it was interesting that the Times itself has reviewed all of those titles (in Chabon and Brown’s cases, twice), and wondered whether book review editors the world over got some kind of top-secret list as to which books to write about each week.

Garner replied and said that Book Review czar Sam Tanenhaus had addressed the question of who gets reviewed in the TBR during an email Q and A with readers

I responded that I’d read the Q and A, and that it didn’t answer my question: telling us the number of ‘previewers’ it takes to plow through the week’s advance copies and give their thumbs-up or thumbs-down doesn’t tell us much – or, really, anything -- about what goes into their decisions.

And some of those decisions are nothing less than mystifying.

There are entire genres that the Times’ editors ignore. They run round-ups of mystery and sci-fi and horror, but they never cover romance. On the infrequent occasions when they deign to notice chick lit, they only notice roman a clefs that take place in New York City and/or the publishing world, and typically feature a thinly-veiled but completely recognizable villainess (Anna Wintour, Judith Regan, Rosie O’Donnell).

Why no romance? Why only one kind of chick lit? Why review the new Michael Chabon in the daily paper, then again on Sunday? Why tell romance readers that they can get their fix elsewhere, while lavishing two reviews upon Tina Brown, whose book has already been excerpted in Vanity Fair, written up in Newsweek, and discussed on The Today Show and Good Morning America? Why review a memoir about anal sex, while refusing to even mention the vast majority of big bestsellers?

You can follow the thread here. Some of my questions got answered, and some, not so much. (I’m the one posting as ‘Jen.’ Yes, I am that creative). Then you can head over to Smart Bitches, Trashy Books as they answer the question, Where is the love?

I’m enjoying Garner's blog, and I appreciate his willingness to engage with not-entirely-satisfied readers.

But I would still be thrilled to see an editor pull back the curtain and spend a Monday morning going through Sunday’s Book Review, choosing examples to explain how books and reviewers got picked and paired.

Labels: , , ,

| #

Welcome to A Moment of Jen, author Jennifer Weiner's constantly-updated take on books, baby, and news of the world. Email me at jen (a) jenniferweiner.com.

Follow me on Twitter

To order Then Came You, click on the cover

To order Fly Away Home, click on the cover

To order Best Friends Forever, click on the cover

To order Certain Girls, click on the cover

To order The Guy Not Taken, click on the cover

To order Goodnight Nobody, click on the cover:

To order Little Earthquakes, click on the cover:

To order In Her Shoes, click on the cover:

To order Good In Bed, click on the cover:

My bio
Advice For Aspiring Writers

This weblog is now syndicated via this link.

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]

Jen International

Goodnight Nobody - Norway

Little Earthquakes - Norway

The Guy Not Taken - UK

Good In Bed - Japan

Good In Bed - Dutch

The Guy Not Taken (Dutch)

Goodnight, London!

Goodnight, Amsterdam!

Petit Earthquakes!

Little Earthquakes Japan

IHS Japan

GIB Norway

IHS Norway

Chaussure à son pied

Little Aardschocken

In Her Shoes - Polish

En sus Zapatos

Bueno en la Cama!

Little Earthquakes - Germany

In Her Shoes - Germany

In Her Shoes - UK

In Her Shoes - Italian

In Her Shoes - Dutch

GIB in Finnish

GIB in French

Germans love Hasselhoff and GIB:

Cannie hits Japan!:

NEW - Little Earthquakes Sweden

Cannie goes Swedish!

Cannie hits Rio!

Cannie Goes Dutch:


Jen's Favorite Links:

All in the Family:

Throwing Things
Joe Weiner

News and Media:
Television Without Pity

Moby Lives
Publisher's Weekly
Old Hag
Sarah Weinman
Galley Cat
Southern Comfort

Baby Mama:
Bad Mother

Snarkspot archives:

Powered by Blogger

Copyright 2002-2008, Jennifer Weiner

Listed on BlogShares