NYBTR Reviews

Although bloggers had many good wishes for the Tanenhaus-directed NYBTR, their patience is wearing thin. Both CR and TEV have posted rants about the NYBTR‘s fiction coverage. CR, in particular, touches on an issue dear to my heart: the paucity of reviews/attention given to foreign literature. Says CR:

And — ah, we can’t help ourselves — foreign literature ? We had to go back four issues, to that of 4 July, to find any review of a book originally written in a foreign language (in the “Books in Brief” section) — and back another two issues, to the 20 June issue, to find a full-length review of any book originally written in a foreign language (there were two; predictably, they were both works of non-fiction). All the protestations we heard when the search was on for the McGrath-successor that Sam and the whole NYT gang love fiction look more and more like junior Bush-administration-type spin. Week after week, the NYTBR proves otherwise. Sure, there’s token coverage — but right now it doesn’t look much more than token.

Mark’s comments take the form of an open letter to Tanenhaus, which concludes thus:

For the record, NYTBR isn’t Foreign Affairs; nor is it The New Republic; nor is it any other political journal. It’s a review of books – I know ’cause it says so in the title.

Depressing, to be sure. But the space being vacated can (and is) used by bloggers.