The New York Times Book Review: 125 Years of Literary History

Edited by Tina Jordan with Noor Qasim. Clarkson Potter, $50 (368p) ISBN 978-0-593-23461-7
NYTBR editor Jordan and editing fellow Qasim collect the Book Review’s hits from more than 6,000 issues in this meticulously crafted celebration of the written word. The newspaper’s foray into covering literary news began on Sept. 18, 1851, though it wasn’t until Adolph S. Ochs became publisher in 1896 that the NYTBR first appeared as a stand-alone, eight-page supplement, which included reviews, plus information on the lives, deaths, and marriages of famous authors. Essays, interviews, reviews, and letters to the editor dating back to that year feature here and make for a sweeping summary of a century of literary tastes and trends: in 1900, the Book Review “rail[ed] against heroines who smoke in novels,” and in 1922, Jordan and Qasim write, “T. S. Eliot publishes The Waste Land. The Book Review pays no attention.” There are essays on literary scandals (such as “The Brouhaha over Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth” from 1905) and old advertisements (one from 1927 features a man impressing his date with his poetry knowledge). Each chapter is full of entertaining reviews and book covers (“Californians are not going to like this angry novel,” one reviewer wrote of The Grapes of Wrath), plus delightful photos. Literature lovers are in for a treat. Agent: Amanda Urban, ICM Partners. (Nov.)
Reviewed on : 09/08/2021
Release date: 11/16/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 463 pages - 978-1-57912-801-2
Hardcover - 385 pages - 978-0-8129-1880-9
Hardcover - 443 pages - 978-0-8129-2858-7
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