Publisher’s Weekly is reporting that LA Times Book Review editor Steve Wasserman may be on the way out, seeking job opportunities elsewhere. Let’s hope so.
Wasserman came to the LAT eight years
ago after a career at Times Books and NY publishing, bringing a flash of
intellectualism to the paper. But he has also reportedly had a number of
run-ins with supervisors who saw the section he ran as being overly
Not to mention exceedingly dull, irrelevant and out-of-date. But mostly dull.
It’s not unusual for the Book Review to finally get around to reviewing some major hardcover mysteries around the time they are about to come out in paperback (not that you’d call what mystery critic Eugen Weber writes "reviews," more like senseless ramblings).
I had lunch with Wasserman when I was president of the SoCal chapter of the Mystery Writers of America. I came armed with months worth of local and national bestseller lists. I wanted to convince him that they should run more reviews of mysteries and thrillers because those were the books his readers were actually reading. But he told me that he felt the mission of the Book Review was to educate people about what they should be reading… which wasn’t mysteries and thrillers.
His smug superiority might have been easier to take if he didn’t spend most of our lunch drooling over the fact that Brian Grazer was at the next table.
Whether they review more mysteries or not, it sure would be nice if the LA Times Book Review was interesting and entertaining to read again…
UPDATE: My wise and witty brother Tod, who recently talked about shooting his life force out his ass, now offers his view of the Wasserman era. He, too, has reasons to be encouraged by the prospect for change at the Book Review.