So call me slow on the uptake, but it was only while reading this weekend’s installment of Inside the List, Dwight Garner’s bestseller-page column for the NYT Book Review, that I finally figured out what makes the weekly feature so appealing: It’s a blog. Sort of. I mean, it’s only published in weekly chunks, and it’s already a week old by the time people actually see it, but look at the format: short items with quirky backstories about books on the bestseller list… and, as has become increasingly apparent in recent weeks, books that aren’t. That’s a blog, I’m telling you! And, actually, a pretty good one at that; sure, if Garner posted these sorts of stories online every day, there’s a faction of the bookblog appreciation society that might bemoan the impersonality of his column’s voice, but not every blog needs to be so personal all the time.
On the off chance that Sam Tanenhaus ever looks at this site, I offer a free suggestion: Put Garner on a daily deadline; if Virginia Heffernan and Eric Asimov can blog successfully, Garner can surely come up with a paragraph or two a day—and you can even cull the best of them for the print edition. You’ve got the potential to take a highly distinctive element of the Review and call even more attention to it. The fact that Garner’s voice perfectly encapsulates the smart-and-sassy, scrappy-but-sociable image the Review seems to be aiming for is an added bonus.