Monday, May 14, 2007

OPC Reviews the 'New York Times' Book Review

The Times Book Review was a bit less self-absorbed this week, although the usually redoubtable Michael Kinsley spends the first half -- actually, I think it's a bit more than the first half -- of his review of Christopher Hitchens' God Is Not Great reviewing not the book but Hitchens himself, and not just reviewing Hitchens but speculating about what Hitchens might do next, when we already know what he did next: He wrote a book about religion. Stehpanie Zacharek takes the opposite tack in her review of S.E. Hinton's Some of Tim's Stories. Obviously totally uninterested in the book under review, she completely abandons it two thirds of the way through to go back and talk about Hinton's earlier works, which is, of course, just what she had done in the first third of the review as well.

Carrying the banner of reviewers writing about themselves is Jodi Kantor, who gets to review Rebecca Mead's wedding-industry overview One Perfect Day apparently on the basis of having got married four years ago (guess how I know) and having never stopped talking about it since. We learn not just that Ms. Kantor's wedding was "pretty great" and "on the tasteful side," but also that the subsequent marriage appended thereto has been successful as well -- they even make homemade ice cream together! Isn't that cute?

Well, I believe in this and it's been tested by research: People who brag about the state of their marriage in print are 85 percent more likely to end up divorced than people who don't.

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