January 31, 2006

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BHI Slammed in Boston
Bernard Henri Levy, a.k.a. BHL, has charmed his way into most of American media, including the New York Times, the Daly Show, and other media locales, discussing his new book American Vertigo, a chauffeured driven, 21st Century version of Tocqueville’s trip across America. Alex Beam, a columnist for the Boston Globe, was not enamored by BHL’s tales of America.

The Fray in the Frey Affair Continues
Now that James Frey, author of Million Little Pieces, has been fricasseed in a sauce of his own lies, people are turning up the heat on another stew—the publisher and editors of the book. Jeffrey Trachtenberg of the Wall Street Journal takes the book publishing industry to task for not fact checking as well as newspapers. (Here’s the rub: Most newspapers don’t fact check at all; the WSJ—as well as the New York Times and the New Yorker—are the leaders in the journalism field, a fact not included in the article.) In a Slate article, Timothy Noah asks what did Frey’s publisher know and when, and Carlin Romano, book critic for the Philadelphia Enquirer, wants to know where are Frey’s editors in all this mess. For Newsweek, Jonathan Darman explores the “tales of ‘truthiness’ in the publishing trade.” Finally and maybe least, Julia Keller for the Chicago Tribune recognizes an ignored fact during the brouhaha: Frey can write. And according to the blog Galleycat, the Brooklyn Public Library (a favorite of mine as a child) has classified A Million Little Pieces as fiction.

Reading to Children
The Guardian asked writers what children should read. It includes Don Quixote, Ulysses, Rime of the Ancient Mariner, and Kipling’s Just so Stories.

Tribute to Wendy Wasserstein
Playwright (The Heidi Chronicles, Uncommon Women and Others) and novelist (Elements of Style) died recently. Michael Feingold gives a warm and humane send off in an obit for the Village Voice. Another tribute appears in the Washington Post, written by Michael Kuchwara. There’s also a piece by Peter Marks.

Yardley Weighs In on Bleak House
“A century and a half later, Dickens still addresees that most eternally pertinent subject: how we live,” writes Jonathan Yardley in the Washington Post.

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