Quick news on the direction the New York Times Book Review is likely to take as Chip McGrath exits:
Publishing insiders have watched nervously since Steven Erlanger became cultural editor at The New York Times and began altering the focus of the daily “Books of the Times.” Well, they ain’t seen nothin’ yet. When we sat down with executive editor Bill Keller last week, he promised “dramatic changes” in the Sunday section now that head honcho Chip McGrath is stepping aside. He also indicated that the top brass is rethinking book coverage top to bottom.
And which way are the winds blowing?
Well, if you write non-fiction, review non-fiction, or prefer to read non-fiction, break out the champagne. The most compelling ideas tend to be in the non-fiction world,” Keller says. “Because we are a newspaper, we should be more skewed toward non-fiction.”
What’s more, if you’re perplexed or simply bored with what passes for smart fiction these days, the Times feels your pain. More attention will be paid to the potboilers, we’re told. After all, says Keller, somebody’s got to tell you what book to choose at the airport.