Regifting the Review: December 6 2009

Ahh, what am I going to do with a cheery Holiday Special New York Times Book Review that looks like a Christmas catalog? I don’t begrudge the NYTBR its Yuletide spirit, but the only books I can get remotely excited about here are The Complete Lyrics of Johnny Mercer and The Best of Punch Cartoons, and neither article offers me much opportunity for literary analysis.

But I don’t want to lame out two weekends in a row, so here are some Book Review related links as a substitute offering today:

  • From the Nervous Breakdown blog, here’s an author’s account of surviving a terrible NYTBR review.
  • Dwight Garner, former NYTBR mucky-muck and now one of the daily NYT book critics, has put together a wonderful collection of historic book ads, Read Me. I love stuff like this. I haven’t even seen a physical copy of this book (it hasn’t turned up in any of my local bookstores, and I guess my review copy from Ecco Press got “lost in the mail”) but I browsed through it online and I like what I see.
  • I’m really a sucker for archives of any kind. Here are a few selected lines from reviews of important books that originally appeared in the Atlantic Monthly in the last 150 years. I would love to see the full texts of these reviews and more, and I hope Atlantic Monthly will put something like this into book form. In fact, I still think a historical volume of the most important New York Times Book Review articles would be a kickass book, and I don’t know why the NYTBR hasn’t done this yet.

Oh, and, just for the hell of it, this appeared in LitKicks “Reviewing the Review” three weeks ago:

What Pinsky would have said, if he had a clue what he was talking about, is that in televised poker each player’s two pocket cards, not the five shared cards, are visible through a camera placed under a glass-topped table. Go write a poem, Pinsky, and don’t ever, ever, ever try to write about poker again.

In the New York Times Book Review, today:

A review on Nov. 15 about “Cowboys Full: The Story of Poker,” by James McManus, misidentified the cards in a televised hold ’em deal that are face down yet visible to viewers through a glass panel in the table. They are each player’s hole cards, not the five shared cards, which are dealt face up and visible to all.

Glad to provide the service once again, though nobody at the Book Review ever says thanks.

One Response

  1. Johnny Mercer was a great
    Johnny Mercer was a great songwriter and lyricist who hailed from Savannah, GA. I really liked some of his stuff and the book looks like an interesting buy to me, too. I’ve been to his grave in the Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah. His grave isn’t too far from pulitzer prize winner, Conrad Aiken, whom I also read quite a bit.

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