Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Sad news for readers

First off, John Updike died yesterday. While he isn't one of my favorite writers, the Rabbit books hold a special place in my heart. I read them (except for Rabbit Redux, as I couldn't find a copy) during my stay in China. Living in an alien culture helps put your own culture into a new perspective. Reading one of the great books about American life (post-World War 2 life, at least) added to this. Michiko Kakutani has an appraisal of Updike up on the Times.

While we should have Ms. Kakutani's New York Times book section to enjoy for the coming years, the stand alone Washington Post book review is going the way of the passenger pigeon. In February, the section will be folded into the Outlook and Style and Arts section. The book section is one of the less profitable elements of the endangered newspaper business, so it isn't a huge surprise. It does mean there are fewer mainstream publications devoted to books. Now only the New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle will have stand alone book sections. Perhaps with the migration of readership onto the web, the Post's online book section will continue there.


Anonymous said...

I blame the loss of the book review on Bill Kristol. If only we could get him to predict the imminent demise of all book reviews (given his inerring ability to predict the opposite of what actually occurs). Steve

Tripp said...

What happened to that guy? At one point (mid-90s or so) he seemed reasonable, but he evolved into one of the key nattering nabobs of nonsense. Becoming a TV pundit and having an administration to defend didn't help I guess.