Sunday, November 28, 2010

Excuse my rant about the New York Times Book Review

Ok, Steve Martin wrote a novel. We are used to celebrities writing novels. It seems comics and actors and divas and old rockers all finish up their career with a literary jaunt into the world of fiction. When Keith Richards is writing memoirs covered in length by the NY Times then all bets are off. It is not that we don't understand why these people are covered in the media...they are celebrities and get all the goodies on the tree. I get that. But the NY Times  Book Review purports to be the last stop on high culture where there should be some merit to being covered...besides being a comedian.

But I think after Alec Baldwin got his book reviewed when he wrote about his divorce including rant at daughter then we saw that truly the bar was that if you are famous and you write something the NY Times Book Review will cover you. So much for a literary bar. Nora Ephrons latest book on female aging disguised as novel disguised as Nora Eprhon and Steve Martin headlined the Sunday Book Review. Ok Nora has written some books and is a bestselling author. Fine. Steve Martin is a funny man who plays the banjo. Ok. And he certainly deserves a book review of his novel about the art world because he is...Steve Martin a funny man with a banjo.

You see where I am going. In the same review section Morris's last segment of his Roosevelt Biography was reviewed. Very good. Well deserved. And there were reviews of novelists and memoirs and children authors. But the space is limited and most people dont' get their books reviewed in the NY Times Book Review. So why burn it over a guy with an arrow through his head? A wild and crazy guy who starred in Parenthood and who is genuinely a funny man but not a very literary man. And Steve Martin will not be impacted at all if his book is covered by the Times.

But the lone novelist. The unheard of writer who really needs a break loses out when the NY Times Review pads the section for the latest star dust. It does matter to the man or woman who cannot be heard. So I wind up my rant by saying, hey, stick to your guns. Let the funny man be funny. Let the writer be heard.
Rocket Man will be out in January

Books by William Hazelgrove