Saturday, December 02, 2006

New York Times Book Review Holiday Books Issue

I got mine today -- I'd already blogged about the 100 Notable Books list over at the other place, but now it was actually printed on cheap paper, which makes anything more real.

Anyway, this extra-fat issue (88 pages) also contains lists of books in a small handful of genres (much fewer than in past years), which aren't good enough for the main list, but which the Times will deign to mention in passing. Those genres are: Travel, Cooking, and Hollywood. (There are also "Holiday Books" reviews under the titles Jazz, Arts and Letters, Photography, Africa, Comics, Venice, Gardening, Fashion, Annie Leibovitz, Golf, Art and America, Drawing, Music, and Doodles; these are probably not meant to be taken as year-end recommendations, but it's hard to tell.)

Some of those headings could be a bit ambiguous, but the Times's thoughts are clear: only non-fictional genres need apply. There is no SF/Fantasy here (perish the thought!), not even any Mystery/Thriller (though I think they've lowered themselves to that in past years). I need hardly mention that the entire genre of Romances -- fully one-half of the paperback fiction sold in this country -- does not exist in the eyes of the Times. (So I'm sure all of the romance types are crying themselves to sleep tonight on their giant piles of money.)

Dave Itzkoff does get a full page here, but he uses it to burble about some recent and upcoming books by musicians. So that raises the question: is it better for the self-proclaimed "paper of record" to have no reviewer of SFF, or one for whom it is, at the very best, a secondary and half-hearted interest?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I would rather not have a reviewer than a half-dedicated, under-informed reviewer. Then again, you do need someone to poke fun at, don't you Andrew?

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