Mark Sarvas at The Elegant Variation talks about editor Steve Wasserman’s era at the LA Times Book Review…and where he went wrong.
The core problem with Steve Wasserman’s tenure as editor of the Los Angeles Times Book Review was writ large in his answer to a question I put to him at the recent Los Angeles Festival of Books. I used the occasion of the "Celebrating the Book Review" panel to inquire about LATBR’s propensity for tedious reviews. Wasserman
responded that tedium was in the eye of the beholder, and the piece
that he’d been proudest of running was a "6,000 word essay on the
Spanish Civil War untethered to any existing book."It
is unlikely that most readers of the Book Review – a rapidly
diminishing pool, if my anecdotal evidence is any guide – shared his
The rest of Mark’s ruminations are worth reading…especially for any candidates up for Wasserman’s job.