Jessa Crispin talks with Jennifer Howard and investigates the current rise of NYTBR-bashing. I’m glad that somebody has looked into this because, as Jessa quite rightly observes, it seems that Tanenhaus is more concerned with attracting attention through sloppily penned contrarian reviews rather than putting out a quality literary publication. Incidentally, I have put in interview requests to talk with both Rachel Donadio and Dwight Garner (since Tanenhaus refuses to talk with me), both senior editors of the NYTBR, and give them a chance to respond to the many criticisms that have leveled the Times‘ way. But both seem to be regularly “unavailable.” The hilarious thing is that I’ve had greater luck (and certainly spent far less time) booking Dave Barry, Bret Easton Ellis and William T. Vollmann for Segundo). If such self-importance and diffidence among the NYTBR is the norm, and if the NYTBR‘s top brass lacks the maturity or the courage to have a respectful disagreement, then it’s small wonder why the NYTBR is becoming the laughing stock of the literati.
Gwenda Bond points to this incredible story of a Pablo Neruda reading being rediscovered on tape, with the audio described as “very clear.” The tape is being remastered and is, for decorum’s sake, well out of my hands. The last thing the literary world needs right now is an Adolescent Audio Experiment involving Neruda. But then again…
Another day, another awards ceremony. Ian McEwan and Sue Prideaux have won the James Tait Black Memorial Prizes. Given the way the Brits hand out awards these days, in ten years, I think you’ll be hard-pressed to find a single writer who hasn’t garnered an accolade.
And this is the theatre geek in me talking, but a new Broadway run of Simon Gray’s excellent play Butleydebuts on October 26. In an extremely interesting casting move, Nathan Lane is playing the titular character, presumably tapping into the same viscera that gave us Sheridan Whiteside a few years back.