This week in the "Have You No Shame" department, I need to follow up on the N.Y. Time's proclivity to heap multiple reviews on pet books while giving zero coverage to thousands of other worthies. This would not be a serious issue if the Times was giving the nation a bounteous pile of reviews each week. But the reality is, we get a miserly one fiction or non-fiction book review each day Monday through Saturday, and on a typical Sunday, an entire "Book Review" section yields a mere pittance of 10.
Of the ten books the Times reviewed this Sunday, October 11, six books that received reviews have already been reviewed in the daily Times. I have to repeat that. Six of the ten reviews this morning are of books the Times has already reviewed. Couldn't they find anything else to review? And this, while book review sections all over the country are disappearing.
Why, Michiko? Why?
And that's not all. Two of the ten books reviewed are by current employees of the N.Y.Times: Peter Goodman's Past Due and Joyce Purnick's biography Mike Bloomberg, He Who Shall Not be Named. Just kidding -- it's really subtitled Money, Power, Politics (Is that a genius catchline, or what? You know, sometimes, some books don't really need a catchline. Stop straining!)
For some as-yet-not-decipherable reason, Peter Goodman only got one review from his employer for his book. Maybe just a glitch, maybe a heads-up to Peter that he should be updating his resume. But before you think that Mr. Goodman should have his lawyer call up the Times and complain, you have to recognize that at least he got 2/3rds of a Full Friedman: he did get to author a Week in Review piece that ran September 20 to build excitement for his forthcoming book.
Winner of the Full Friedman this week: let's hear it for Joyce Purnick. Ms. Purnick got the October 9 review by Jacob Weisberg, the October 11 Sunday review by George Anders (George, did it bother you when you saw that yours would be running second?), and Joyce gets a three day running blog called Three Part Answers About Michael R. Bloomberg that ran on the City Room Blog.
The best thing for Ms. Purnick is that every time she writes in the Times as part of her beat, she can throw in a little "Full Disclosure -- I'm the author of Mike Blumberg, blah, blah, blah, now onsale at a bookstore near you."
Last week I started this trail and I had hoped by now that someone wiser and more knowledgeable could explain to me Why Things Are This Way. But instead, all I got were, "Go Get 'Ems."
I promise, if I hear from Michiko Kakutani this week, even if it's in the form of a brick through the window, I'll share it.
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