The Lies, Libel, and Deceit of Molly McArdle: Rebuttal to a Hatchet Job, a Personal Reckoning with What I Actually Did, and an Exposé of Literary McCarthyism

On the evening of September 25, 2014, I did something awful and tried to kill myself the next morning. I lost everything I had. Is this apparent monster worth forgiving? Or is he not so much of a monster? This 50,000 word essay is a personal reckoning with what I did, who I really am, a treatise on public shaming and how we express ourselves and the importance of getting facts right, as well as a thorough rebuttal to the many invented charges against me.

Save the Blogs!

Pictured above is a basement in Terre Haute. It is within this damp and miserable environment that 26-year-old literary blogger Jerrold Hysteria muses about literature, often mocked and belittled by newspaper critics who cower under desks the minute that they hear the words “Tanenhaus Brownie Watch” or “LATBR Thumbnail.” Mr. Hysteria has received forty-two phone […]

Bookforum: All Male, All the Time

The latest issue of Bookforum has hit the stands and the Artsforum gang has made most of it available online. Of particular note: Christopher Sorrentino on the new Flanagan book, this interview with A.M. Homes, and Ben Marcus on Lydia Davis. What is not particularly good is that out of 35 reviews, only fourteen are […]

Rachel the Hack

Long-time readers of this site know that we’ve often held Sam Tanenhaus’s feet to the fire. But with Rachel Donadio’s latest essay, it’s occurred to us that Donadio, perhaps working independently of Tanenhaus, may be one of the major problems with the NYTBR. While we applaud Dwight Garner’s “Inside the List” columns, welcome David Orr’s […]

Memo to Tanenhaus: Liesl’s Your Only Shot

Dear Mr. Tanenhaus: Nearly every serious literary person knows that your finger ain’t exactly on the pulse of contemporary fiction. Your coverage, even when it does concern itself with literature, often misses the mark. (This week’s issue, however, isn’t bad. But still, NO BROWINES FOR YOU! Just because I’m under no obligation to resuscitate the […]

Tanenhaus: Just Say No to Podcasting

While I have given up the Tanenhaus Brownie Watch, did you know that Sam Tanenhaus is in the podcasting business? Every Friday, NYTBR editor Sam Tanenhaus releases a new installment through the New York Times website. And while you can’t access the podcast without iTunes and there doesn’t appear to be an archive of Tanenhaus’s […]

In Praise of David Orr

While the Tanenhaus Brownie Watch may be discontinued, Levi Asher has picked up the slack with his “Reviewing the Review” blog posts. This week, Mr. Asher made the claim that “The Book Review continues to prove that it has no capability at all to review poetry.” While I can certainly agree that its poetry coverage […]

BEA: Do Not Question the NYTBR!

PANEL: The Best American Fiction Since 1980 Moderator: Sam Tanenhaus, Editor, The New York Times Book Review Panelists: Greg Cowles (The New York Times Book Review), Thomas Mallon, Cynthia Ozick, Liesl Schillinger At last year’s BEA, I didn’t get an opportunity to talk with Sam Tanenhaus about his continued failure to provide coverage on today’s […]

BEA: More to Follow

More BEA reports to follow, including Chris Anderson’s speech presaging his forthcoming The Long Tail book and the Sam Tanenhaus panel, in which your correspondent questioned Tanenhaus about his male-centric offerings in a playful way, watched Tanenhaus take it personally and was answered with a very public damnation of the brownies that we had sent […]

To Do List

Finish the Naughty Reading Contest. Three Segundo podcasts. Reinstate the Tanenhaus Brownie Watch. Get Secret Project #24B started. At least six installments of The Neurotic Chronicles. I have not forgotten about this stuff, but I wanted to address these failings publicly for all who have asked. Also, this gives you a great opportunity to publicly […]

The Tanenhaus Ad Count

While the Brownie Watch may be on hiatus (I expect to revive it in December), I decided to analyze the ads in relation to the content. Here then is a rundown of the ads in the November 13, 2005 NYTBR issue: PAGE 2: Full-page ad — HaperCollins. PAGE 3: Half-page ad — Miramax Books. PAGE […]

Yes, We’ve Sold Out

Finally, one of our esteemed colleagues had the balls to point out the obvious. All this time, while we organized groups to discuss neglected authors, delved into the world of podcasting, and had the temerity to redesign this site so that it was easier on the eye, our purpose all along was to start reading […]

Brownie Watch on Hiatus

As others have pointed out, the NYTBR is once again an embarassment. It’s the same old song. Richard Posner’s essay is not so much a book review but an excuse to whine about the blogosphere. The writers remain, for the most part, male, offering dull and uninteresting coverage for dull and uninteresting books. The insufferable […]

Not Fishing on Multiple Fronts

I had hoped to get to the Tanenhaus Brownie Watch this week. But I appear to be, once again, time-challenged. But congratulations to Maud for scoring a review. Posting will be light over the next day, as I work on a few things on multiple fronts. Including this front. In fact, it suddenly occurs to […]

Tanenhaus Watch: July 17, 2005

WEEKLY QUESTION: Will this week’s NYTBR reflect today’s literary and publishing climate? Or will editor Sam Tanenhaus demonstrate yet again that the NYTBR is irrelevant to today’s needs? If the former, a tasty brownie will be sent to Mr. Tanenhaus’ office. If the latter, the brownie will be denied. THE COLUMN-INCH TEST: Fiction and Poetry […]

Rose-Colored Glasses

It appears that the J in M.J. Rose’s name stands for “Julavits.” Without naming names or citing any specific examples (or, for that matter, actually invoking an argument for why any of it is bad), M.J. Rose offers us yet another piece of flummery complaining about what she identifies as “whining” (and what the rest […]

I Need a Vacation

Okay, I fully confess (the dropoff in stats and Blogllines subscribers doesn’t lie!) that I’ve been biting the big one lately and that my posts these days leave much to be desired. (Hell, I can’t even find time for the Tanenhaus Brownie Watch.) There are reasons for this — namely, other projects and things that […]