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Posts Tagged ‘Michiko Kakutani’

Mailer to Sulzberger: ‘Michiko Was First With the Worst’

mailer.jpgBefore the Internet was around as an tool with which to fight back, or start them in the first place, writers had to resort to, gasp, letter writing. The Beast has a collection of letters penned by the late Norman Mailer to people who took a less than favorable view of his writing. One can only imagine what Mailer could have done with Tumbler (Twitter, come to think of it, may have been a useful exercise for the loquacious writer). Anyway! Here’s part of what he once wrote to then NYT publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger after one-too-many nasty reviews (including one ill-researched one) from infamous critic Michiko Kakutani.

Over the last ten years, Michiko Kakutani has reviewed every one of my books published in that period. In order, they were Oswald’s Tale, Portrait of Picasso as a Young Man, The Gospel According to the Son, The Time of Our Time, and The Spooky Art. All five were given bad reviews (The Spooky Art perhaps the least awful), but three of those five could make the claim that the ugliest review all received came from Kakutani. What underlined the procedure and could give it a willful subtext was that four of those five reviews came out a week to two weeks ahead of publication. Michiko was first with the worst. One of the basic tricks in book criticism is to get out early if you really detest a book. Still, four out of five! Kakutani was abusing her privilege.

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Spoiling The Harry Potter Spoilers

Kyle Good, a Scholastic spokesperson, has the unenviable task of returning a genie to its bottle. That genie would be the Harry Potter spoilers. Good told FishbowlNY via email: “The Harry Potter fans do not want to find spoilers online and overwhelmingly say they won’t look (A CNN poll found that 95 percent say ‘No, I won’t look.’)”

As launch night swiftly approaches for the seventh and final installment of the Harry Potter series, Scholastic has accused Deepdiscount.com of the early shipping of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. In addition, leaks of pictures contained in the book have found their way onto the internet. Further, eBay is selling the book online a day before the official launch. And reviewers — like Michiko Kakutani in today’s Times — reveal spoilers, and have drawn the ire of J.K. Rowling, but to no avail.

(Scholastic issued a press release yesterday urging fans who got their hands on the book early “to keep the packages hidden until midnight on July 21st.”)

When asked if Scholastic should appeal to parents, on the off-chance that the kids might fall prey to online temptation, Good responded: “The parents already know. They are avoiding the uploads and so are the kids … it will all boil down to 12:01 AM on July 21 and everyone will get that big book and love it!”

— Ron Mwangaguhunga

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