Critical Linking: The Most Read Stories April 7-13, 2013

Here are the most-read stories from the last week in Critical Linking….


When it comes to book recommendations, retailers have the literary sensibilities of a spreadsheet — they’ll just recommend the most popular books to me, or books that other people also bought, but they know nothing of the soul and sparkle of a great book. I hope this changes over time.

“The soul of a spreadsheet.” That is too good.


Sam Tanenhaus is stepping down as New York Times Book Review editor to become writer at large. Children’s book editor Pamela Paul replaces him.

Could this move be VIDA-related?


In fact, I’m thinking about starting a women’s prize here in the United States, to be given out once a year, every year, until gender parity in the arts is achieved.

There are many problems about how women are treated everywhere in American culture, but does a dedicated book prize do much? Consider this: exactly half of the last 20 National Book Awards for fiction have gone to women.


Books aren’t a central part of our culture any more – literature is a bit second tier. There’s plenty of coverage of films, music, TV and video games. It’s rare that you have a water cooler moment regarding a book.

The books that do inspire those moments are rarely worth them. Or have we forgotten Fifty Shades of Grey?



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