This week, it’s very hit-or-miss at the NYTBR. However, Tanenhaus should be commended for taking a few risks (he scores by throwing in de Beauvoir and Persepolis 2, but Klosterman is a serious mistake). Suzy Hansen’s article on plagiarism is a nice journalistic piece, but it belongs in the magazine. All in all, we’re disappointed that we couldn’t put on our oven mitts, because we were definitely in a brownie-baking mood. We’ll let the statistics stand alone.
Total Full-Length Reviews: 5
Full-Length Fiction Reviews: 3 (While the fiction-to-nonfiction ratio still seems right, five reviews is still on the slim side. Sam thus lost out on the brownie point here this week.)
Full-Length Nonfiction Reviews: 2
Appearance by Choire Sicha? Yes, and Sam has him wisely taking on “tough girl fiction.” (One and a half special brownie points awarded.)
Number of Non-U.S. Authors Covered: 2
Kickass Retrospective? Yes! On Simone de Beauvoir. (Special brownie point awarded.)
Articles Written by Women: 6 (We’d like to think we had some infuence here, but we’d be kidding ourselves. Nevertheless, one and a half special brownie points awarded for the dramatic shift here.)
Number of Articles Covering Comics: 1, a nice review of Persepolis 2, respectful and inviting (special brownie point awarded)
Laura Miller’s Presence? Yes (minus one brownie point). And it’s pretty bad this week. (Minus an additional brownie point for a preposterously phrased opening sentence and because she completely fails to understand the joys of Norton Juster and Jules Feiffer’s The Phantom Tollbooth, which was a hell of a lot more than a frickin’ “road trip.”)
The WTF? Assignment: Chuck Klosterman, who we thought would bring a humorous take on self-help books in his Real College review, but instead decides to pull a Wieseltier and dispense his own advice. (minus one brownie point)
TOTAL NUMBER OF BROWNIE POINTS FOR AUGUST 22, 2004: 2
Does Sam Tanenhaus Get a Brownie This Week? No (minimum 3 brownie points needed to score brownie)
I think you’re giving Mr. Tanenhaus way too much credit: my count — and the NYTBR index — finds a single (1) full length fiction review (plus a ‘Chronicle’-jumble of four more fiction titles) and four (4) full length non-fiction reviews (three solo, one covering two titles). I.e. the ratio seems as wrong (but as typical) as ever.
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