Review of Forbes review

This post was written by guest blogger Andy Fine.

So Forbes posted a review of Pretty cool, actually; however, there are just a couple of minor mistakes I’d like to correct — with Maud being gone and all, someone’s got to do it.

Since 2002, New Yorker Maud Newton has been blogging about books, and her site possesses a well-honed individual style others lack–the classy, unique design is not a slave to the utilitarian trappings of blogspot and typepad, and her commentary is neither self-importantly cranky nor overly earnest. Although Maud doesn’t review books, she is gifted at locating shrewd remarks from external sources (Ben Rutter on Cormac McCarthy’s new book: “How is it possible to be a nihilist and a pessimist at once? Nothingness can’t be getting worse.”) and compiling such literary idiosyncrasies as Jonathan Safran Foer’s new libretto, the BBCs new “soap opera” version of Bleak House and how much it costs to enter William Faulkner’s restored house. Periodically Maud posts an exhaustive list of under-publicized New York literary happenings.

Umm, I think she reviews books every now and then. The archives are there for a reason, dudes.

BEST: Maud’s occasional personal anecdotes remind readers that she is an actual person who lives a life, reading and writing, and is not just an information-gathering automaton.

I’m not Maud, but I will provide this amusing Maud-related anecdote. As loyal readers know, Maud and I took a creative writing class together at the University of Florida. The class was taught by Harry Crews, a wonderful man in spite of the fact that he was a wee bit nuts. The class was a three-hour block so we got a couple of breaks each class, and somehow we ended up hanging around together during the breaks, commiserating about the shitty grades Crews was giving us (OK, that may have just been me), stupid people in the class, etc. I think I may have also spent some time complaining about my girlfriend, my mother, the weather, the color of the moon, and the fact that the vending machines outside our classroom were always stocked with crap. How can you not put M&M’s in a vending machine? Maud, to her credit, never hit me in the head with one of the loose Turlington Plaza bricks to shut me up.

Fast forward to three (?) years later. It is around 3:30 pm on the last possible day to apply to law school. After much debate, I am walking to the law school, application in hand, to reluctantly apply. On the way, I see Maud.

“Maud,” I call out. “Long time, no see. Where are you going?”

“To the law school to drop off this application at the last possible minute,” she says, holding up a sheaf of paper.

“No way. Me too.”

Silence ensued, then laughter. It was truly one of those “holy shit” moments.

We both got in, graduated about the same time, provided occasional moral support for each other. Maud, for example, provided excellent moral support the day an ex-girlfriend actually attacked and bit me. I swear this is true. We were always very honest with each other. For example:

Me: “See that thing on my back? My crazy ex bit me! It’s not too bad, is it?”

Maud: “That looks really awful. You should go to the doctor immediately. I think it’s infected.”

Another example:

Me: “I’m thinking of breaking up with Girl A* (who I had been dating all throughout law school) to go out with Girl B*”

Maud: “That’s ridiculous. You should just cheat on Girl A.”

*Note: not their actual names

WORST: Often she quotes at length instead of offering more of her opinion/analysis.



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