Archive: February 1, 2009 - February 7, 2009

The Modern Adonis

The Syrian poet Adonis, perenially listed as contender for the Nobel Prize in Literature, is in hot water again. And you have to say this for his enemies in radical Islamic circles: Like censors in the former Soviet Union, when they try to supress poetry and poets, they at least...

By Alan Cooperman | February 6, 2009; 10:03 AM ET | Comments (5)

Five Books for When Your Job Is Threatened

These are trying times, indeed, and few people's jobs are safe. So what should you read while your co-workers are down-sized around you, and you are asked to do more (and better!) with less? Bartleby, the Scrivener, by Herman Melville. Not a book, per se, but I defy anyone to...

By Rachel Hartigan Shea | February 5, 2009; 11:28 AM ET | Comments (1)

Book Covers and Cover-ups

The No. 1 question I'm asked about my job -- after "They pay you for this? -- is "How do you choose what books to review?" For security reasons, I can't reveal the complicated algorithms we use, but clearly publishers think the jacket designs have something to do with which...

By Ron Charles | February 4, 2009; 7:18 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Art of Editing

Lately we at Book World have been thinking a lot about what we do: that is to say, about editing. More and more of our reviewers are complaining that too many elementary mistakes -- clich├ęs, faulty grammar, even errors of fact -- are finding their way into finished books. This...

By Ron Charles | February 3, 2009; 1:54 PM ET | Comments (3)

Does This Reader Really Know What She Thinks She Knows?

Right now, I'm reading Sophie's World: A Novel About the History of Philosophy by Jostein Gaarder. The book, which published 15 years ago, is more "history of philosophy" than "novel," but I'm feeling virtuous because reading the book makes me think I'm catching up on the philosophy courses I avoided...

By Rachel Hartigan Shea | February 2, 2009; 11:51 AM ET | Comments (1)


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