Friday, October 06, 2006

Book Reviews and Ads

My subscription to the New York Review of Books will soon be expiring as the frequent notices of renewal in my mailbox keep reminding me. This is the first time I ever subscribed to it and I was disappointed. I didn't find much on fiction and there seems to be a big focus on political books and issues. There is nothing wrong with that, just not what I'm looking for. I have no plans to renew it, yet a part of me wants to. That's because the thing I like best about the Review is the advertisements. Perhaps I will write down one or two titles under review from each issue. But the number of book titles I write down because of the ads, well, let's just say I've probably found a year's worth of reading. From the October 5th edition I was intrigued by the ads for Six Names of Beauty by Crispin Sartwell, Kant by Paul Guyer, Melville: His World and Work by Andrew Delbanco. In other recent issues I found titles like Upside Down by Eduardo Galeano, The Rise and Fall of Soul and Self: An Intellectual History of Personal Identity by Raymond Martin and John Barresi, Satan, A Biography by Henry Ansgar Kelly, and Allergy: The History of a Modern Malady by Mark Jackson. These have all been added to my TBR wishlist and I haven't even looked at the new edition yet. Unfortunately, however, they are all nonfiction. I enjoy nonfiction, but I read it at a lesser rate than fiction. Clearly there is value in the NY Review of Books, I just find that value in the advertising. As much as I want to continue my subscription for that reason, it galls me that I am paying so I can read ads. Maybe I can use this as an excuse to go to the bookstore every couple of weeks. I'll just be going to look at the ads in the newest NY Review. Do you think if I keep telling myself that it will actually be true? On another note, I am attempting to bring book information to the masses, or at least my neighbors. I have sent in a proposal for a book column to my neighborhood newspaper and to the south Minneapolis newspaper. These are not the big city newspapers, these are the small, free newspapers that get delivered to my door once a month simply because of where I live. One of them has columns on home repair and gardening, why not books too? So I am giving it a go. I will be shocked out of my gourd and tickled pink if one of them actually says yes. I have taken a mental health day off from work today. It's time for an afternoon cup of coffee while I begin reading Indiana, the next Slaves of Golconda book. Discussion begins October 29th. Anyone is welcome to read the book and join in the discussion. You've still got time, so get reading!