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Posts Tagged ‘Sam Tanenhaus’

Michael Wolff: The NY Times Book Review Is Dying

Michael Wolff — the eloquent, if prickishly pugnacious media commentator — has forecast the end of yet another aging publication: The New York Times Book Review.

In his Monday column on The Guardian, Wolff forecast the demise of the last freestanding national book section, in much the way he has predicted the inevitable death of The New York Post tabloid.

“[W]hile the NYTBR has been at the very center of the book business in New York and has been the most influential voice in book culture for the better part of a century, it is surely hard to say quite what to do with this weighty history,” he wrote. “Not to mention, how to squeeze a buck out of it. The New York Times has other things to worry about.”

His news peg? The new editor, Pamela Paul, whose credentials he must consider laughable for taking over such an esteemed position.

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New York Times Names Pamela Paul Book Review Editor

Pamela Paul has been named the New York Times’ book review editor. She will take over the role previously occupied by Sam Tanenhaus, who has been named writer-at-large. Tanenhaus was the book review editor for the past nine years.

Paul was most recently the Times book review features editor. She joined the Times in 2011 as its children’s book editor.

The memo announcing the changes — from Jill Abramson and Dean Baquet — is below.

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The New York Times Book Review Gets New Deputy Editor

David Kelly, who has been with the New York Times Book Review since 2005, has been promoted to Deputy Editor. Kelly will succeed Bob Harris, who left the paper last month. According to the New York ObserverSam Tanenhaus, the Senior Editor of the Book review, wrote that Kelly was more than qualified for the position.

“It’s not surprising that so skilled an editor should also be a witty and amusing writer (see, for example, David’s reviews of memoirs by Barbara Walters and James Wolcott and his wry essay on The Sopranos and cultural studies),” stated Tanenhaus in a memo announcing the change. “No one in our shop commands more respect, and no one is better liked. Please join me in congratulating David on his new job.”

The New York Times Book Review Editors’ Summer Reading List

The editors of the New York Times Book Review (and there are surprisingly many of them!) get to read books constantly for work, in what we imagine is the perfect job. So what kind of a reader do you have to be to qualify? Recently, the editors assembled a summer reading list of the books they plan to read apart from the ones they have to read for work, and the few recurring themes gave us a little insight into how to be the type of reader that gets paid for it.

1. You can’t read everything. One comforting thing about the summer reading list was that it was full of books that many of us feel we are “supposed” to have read, but haven’t quite gotten around to yet. Copy editor Ihsan Taylor is yet to read Jonathan Franzen‘s “Freedom,” despite it being the most talked about book of the year. Preview editor Jennifer Schuessler is yet to finish Lydia Davis‘ translation of “Madame Bovary,” which was right under “Freedom” in terms of wisespread acclaim. And preview editor Jen McDonald may finally get around to reading “Infinite Jest,” one of the most talked about books of the last couple of decades. So it’s okay if you haven’t read everything! Summer is the time to catch up.

2. But you must read Melville’s “Moby Dick.” Deputy editor Bob Harris just read a book about “Moby Dick,” so plans to re-read the classic itself. And preview editor Gregory Cowles just finished “Moby Dick,” so plans to follow it up now with the related  “A Whaler’s Dictionary.”  Schuessler in turn hereby vows to finish reading Donovan Hohn’s “Moby-Duck,” the “tale of a flotilla of 28,800 bath toys let loose on the high seas.” Close enough.

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Ron Hogan Wants Times Sci-Fi Critic Tasered


Our two-headed literati known as GalleyCat doesn’t merely exist to be accessories to Judith Regan scandals. They also are well-heeled meta-critics of the New York Times Book Review. Today, co-editor Ron Hogan [above, left] turned his attention to a single writer, sci-fi guy and ex-Spin editor Dave Itzkoff [above, right]. Let’s just say Hogan isn’t exactly impressed with Itzkoff’s criticisms, nor editor Sam Tanenhaus‘ championing thereof:

It’s a given that the litblogosphere has it in for Sam Tanenhaus and the New York Times Book Review, with this blog counted among the critics. But I like to think that the ‘Cat has been supportive, albeit in a rather tough-love mode, of the changes Tanenhaus has executed in nearly three years on the job. But nestled among such successes is a columnist whose faults have become more glaring with each new effort — science-fiction reviewer Dave Itzkoff.

  • Wanted: Savvy Sci-Fi Critic for NYTBR [GalleyCat]