I can attribute my long absence on the blog to several things:
1. I started a new job as the children’s books editor at The New York Times Book Review. This, in fact, takes time. A lot of it. And it’s the first time I’ve worked outside my home and pajamas since 2003. It’s been a big adjustment.
2. I am still writing my Studied column for the Times antibiotics/ Sunday Styles section.
3. I’ve been writing elsewhere at the Times for Education Life, The Week in Review, and this weekend, my first Arts & Leisure story.
4. I’ve been writing for the Times’ own ArtsBeats blog.
5. And finally, I’ve joined that great time suck, Twitter.
So please, forgive me if I don’t update here often but do follow me on Twitter where I can be found at @PamelaPaulNYT.
I am just back from Los Angeles, where I always take time to visit the wonderful shop of children’s books and children’s book illustrations, Every Picture Tells a Story, which has just moved into a larger space on Montana in Santa Monica.
It’s heartening to see a book store, especially a children’s book store, enlarge rather than shrink in these trying times. And this is a very good one. Though short on books (one could call it “heavily curated” as the marketing-speak tendency goes these days), the books are well-chosen and include some underappreciated authors, most particularly, Bill Peet. I almost purchased (and will likely do so soon) a lovely print of Bill Peet’s work from the charming tale-in-rhyme, The Caboose that Got Loose. There were also some glorious prints by the incredibly gifted David Wiesner.
My immediate purchases, however, included two Peets (Huge Harold and Cowardly Clyde), a beautiful hardcover edition or Rapunzel, and the pleasingly silly, There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat. Imagine that!
This weekend, The New York Times Book Review ran my very first review of a picture book. Reviewing a picture book, in my opinion, is a challenge, and a far different enterprise from the adult nonfiction books I generally review. I was lucky that the book in question was Knuffle Bunny Free, the final in Mo Willems’s bestselling Trixie trilogy. Not only was I a fan of the first two installments, but I had the good fortune to get hold of a galley at this year’s Book Expo in June, where perhaps the longest line I saw was the one snaking its way to Willems, who was signing buy modafinil online posters and drawings of Trixie and Co. for a long line of eager parents and librarians. I loved the book the instant I read it, even if it did leave me a bawling mess, in the end. I read it right around the time I saw Toy Story 3, and the experience was frightfully similar. A coincidence or a sign of impending middle age?!?
I was also delighted to note that Mo Willems himself seemed to appreciate the review and wrote so on his entertaining Doodles blog here.
In yesterday’s Sunday Styles section of The New York Times, I wrote a profile of Stephanie Dolgoff, author of the forthcoming book, Formerly Hot: Dispatches from Just This Side of Young. The book is hilarious and the author is completely charming. I found the comments about the article to be very interesting — many people seemed to react to the fact that Ms. Dolgoff cares about the way she looks to mean that she only cares about the way she looks.
This is a phenomenon that I encounter frequently when I write, whether it’s an article or a book. Let’s take some of my writing about sexuality: If I write an article about a particular study, readers will ask, Why didn’t you write about this other study? If I write a book about heterosexual pornography, people ask, why didn’t you write about homosexual pornography? If I write an article about a lesbian couple’s struggle to adopt a child in West Virginia, people ask, why didn’t you write about the difficulties of gay adoption in Florida?
These are all valid questions, but the limitation of any story or book is that you can only write so much — that as journalists and authors, we have to draw the line somewhere, or we’d end up with 10,000 word articles all the time (which we, as writers, would love but readers probably wouldn’t) and with 500-page books (which we, as writers, would hate and readers would too — not that there’s anything wrong with 500 page books, but I’ll leave that to Robert Caro and Robert K. Massie).
In this case, I wrote about Ms. Dolgoff’s interest in the implications of aging (but not aging that much) on what you wear and how you look. It’s an interesting issue, and one I think Ms. Dolgoff addresses interestingly — and hilariously — in her book.
I have a new Studied column in this Sunday’s Styles section of the New York Times about relationship woes and men. A new study suggests that young men suffer more when relationships are going poorly. Meanwhile, women care more about whether they’re in a relationship or not, no matter the quality of the bond. What do you think? viagra generic Make sense? I’d love to hear peoples’ hypotheses as to why this may or may not be true. Helen Fisher weighs in, as well.