tv My Life with Bob CSPAN July 3, 2017 12:15pm-12:31pm EDT
is now 33, we have been in contact for the last five years, he told all the stories what it was like to be at the other end. >> you can watch this and other programs online at booktv.org. >> host: joining as a booktv is pamela paul, the editor of the "new york times" book review out with the latest book. who is bob? >> guest: my book of books. your right to use that pronoun to treat them like a person because i kind of do. he's been a companion that that kept i was 17 in this one journal i've written down the title o of the book that i have read. >> host: what kind of condition is bob in? >> guest: he's not in very good shape. i keep getting asked to bring along for appearances but he is, it's a really old-fashioned, it's not a fancy kind of journal. i bought it at the core
stationary store and i spilled coffee on it. i feel like is rotted from within and he started to split at the seam scene delivered, the is starting to fray. ssa start talk about in which if you like is, unless it's up recement on his part perhaps. >> do you still record trade absolute. as soon as i finished a book. when i go away i just got back from australia as i read about five or six books when i was gone and it's like the first thing i do when i get home as ii get in there and i write down the name of every book. >> host: what made you begin that process? >> guest: i was essentially a failed teenage diarist. select every young girl with ambitions i recorded my thoughts in a journal, in a diary, and it turned out that those entries were awful. i would go back and it would read them and both the content which is about teenage angst like fights with my parents or with friends, and the writing was terrible.
there was no anne frank or any joe marcher into being giving into. they were kind of awful to look back on. and also i realize that all of events that i've recorded in the things i wanted to forget, where i saw like with this book, not reported but i want river which is what i was reading with all this other stuff is going on. >> host: so it's a date, title, author? >> guest: yes, author, title. there's no review. i get asked that a lot. what's interesting is even though the entries are as great as they could be, kept having to listen to it came before i came after brings back immediately to that moment. i might remember everything that was in the book, often i don't even remember like the name of the main character, but a remember where i was one is reading it and remember why i chose that book. i can see the cover use it in my head. i remember buying it and remember how i felt when i read
it. in the way it's become for me at least like this incredible memoir, really a diary that for me is more complete than i think that other diary would have been. >> host: you have three children pick out the ever seen bob? >> guest: no. very few people have full access to bob. even my husband, my husband has seen it but he does look to it regularly. he keeps what we call his lob, a big list of books on his computer which he started once we met. >> host: from "my life with bob," not all books are as fun as expected. i was bored by the art of motorcycle maintenance, hated on the road and i hated catcher in the rye even more. why? >> guest: i feel like i'm going to get, i've only heard from many people who are upset with me for hating ayn rand the fountainhead. but i really did not, i was sort of a classic good girl at a did not like those protagonists who
were rebellion against think that i was very much a beaded, and obedient child in all of authority. at the same time i did like to read about some characters who were going off the rails a little bit. i found that a safe way to explore those. but my problem with catcher in the rye, i just felt like he was such a spoiled brat. he was living this life in manhattan where i long to be going to a private school and i thought that he didn't appreciate it. and so i resented that. >> host: what is your day job? >> guest: i hated of the new york times book review and oversee books covered at the "new york times" which extends from reviews in the sunday book review to our daily critics, to reporting on the industry to profiles and features, sort of trying to cover really natalie with the latest is in books but also to cover the way which books intersect with the larger culture and with the news in
general. >> host: if somebody gets the sunday new times or the book review separately, can you read just one or do they come in a series? if you pick a point is a like a short story of its own? >> guest: a book review? i think a book review serves multiple purposes. ideally it steatite what's in the book, to get a sense of the writing and offer some kind of judgment. i also think a book review in and of itself is a kind of art form. there is a certain writing that takes place in literary criticism that you wouldn't get in the rest of the new support or even in a feature about a book. because criticism is an art form. often my hope is that people are not dislike for book review to decide whether or not to read the book but there also appreciating that piece of writing in its own rights. i think, frankly, a lot of people read the book review so they don't have to read the
book. >> host: like all book review editors, you write, i necessarily have to give books as something to be sifted to end sort of. week separated, tossed into dumpsters, unreviewed books sold to booksellers. how'd you decide what you're going to review and what's going to make the last? >> guest: that's the means question to ask several like this at the book expo where and who has all of their new books out, with such excitement and expectations. but the fact is that we were doing at the new times performing a triage. nobody has time to read all of these books. what we see our role as calm as editors and as critics is to sift through everything and to find the books that are truly worth peoples times and the ones that we think people are looking to the "new york times" to have a seasoned critic weighs in on an offer perspectives.
ultimately that really comes down to the book itself. you can send us a copy wrap and a birthday cake covered with candy kisses and we can all the publicity in the world and as much fanfare surrounding certain titles but in the end what we doing as editors is where look at the book itself and seeing if it is worth it. for me, for my book of books, i tend to make my own book choices based on a kind of get instinct in the moment. for me it's about what i need intellectually, you know, emotionally at halftime. whether it's tuesday at certain to yossi committed some kind of information on after or if it's something that is more of a gut level emotional tug like the need for a sensor or the need to get deeply involved in something feels very much apart from this time and place. i can to make a decision soon as i closed the book on the cover of the book and reading and then i sort of sit back, i have a
short stack of books on choosing from and they see like what a me in the mood for? that's how i pick. >> host: advocate indie books advocate reread? >> guest: there are so many books as i'm dying to read your i think probably 70% of the books on my shelf haven't read. but our books i think really interesting to turn back to because so much about a book is is really about the book itself and actually what this book united states is about, the intersections between the reader and the book, what the reader brings to the book. the opinion where you're in your life you might bring something very different to a story and you might get something very different out of that story. so the classic example that comes to mind is anna karin and and. if you're reading and it karenina as a young adolescent sink a person can you think this is so romantic, and i had to leave her husband for her true
love and it's sat and a strategy but it also, she needed to do that. you understand her. and then if you read it when you a newlywed perhaps i think this is terrible, that's a tall tree? she's abandoning her child. her husband to do anything wrong and if you lead later in life i think you're a little bit more understanding. you're seeing a number of things happen, whether in your own life poinor in the lives of your fris angela bit more compassionate and for giving us some of her choices. >> host: do your books give reviewed in the near times? >> guest: this book is not getting reviewed in the "new york times" because of the fact that i'm overthink everything. there's really no way that i i could responsibly do it without having like a massive conflict ofinterest. my previous books of all been reviewed in the times and i have to say i got probably my most negative review in the near times for my second book which came out in 2005, which was a really useful express for me frank a as an editor because i know what it's like to be on the other side and as a consequence
i think i tried to be very careful and respectful of writers and of the effort that it takes to write a book and understand that even if our critics didn't appreciate the book to really make sure that we gave it its due and that we wrote about it actually. personally what i write a review although i'm not currently writing them given my role as editor, i have always made a point of even in the most critical negative reviews i've written a point at what the author did write and what they did well. because you can't just go after someone like that. writing a book is hard and it takes a long time for most people and sometimes people have one book in them and that's their passion. that's a project, that's like go for them to publish a book. i think you have to be cognizant of that and take it into account when writing about it. >> host: when you go to a bookstore, "new york times" bestseller is on the top of that
book, how do you compile those lists and is that a point of pride you see as many people as possible to put new times bestseller on the list? >> guest: the actual mechanics of that sort of the top-secret coca-cola formula of the "new york times." because we do have our own methods to take into account across the country and to do it independently and responsibly. we have a team of editors who compile those. it may remain quite separate from the rest of it but again it is to avoid conflict of interest. we are making judgments on this books but what they're doing is actually independently assessing the sales advocate of the data. we want to make sure there is no undue influence between those two very different tasks. but i love the fact that a "new york times" bestseller is such a point of pride that it really remains the standard for what makes a book a significant seller in this country and it's different from what we do.
what we are doing is criticism and judgment about the quality of the book, and are some terrific books that become bestsellers, then maybe there are some books that we either didn't review i gave a negative review to end this to become "new york times" bestsellers. that's reflection of peoples appetite. there are many books that are review proof as they were and you could say the worst thing possible about them and people will still want to read them. >> host: what are some of the books are looking forward to reading this summer or this coming fall? what is on your bedside? >> guest: well, the books i just opened is a book by robert gottlieb who is a former editor in chief of the simon & schuster and editor of the new yorker. it's an older book by this about charles dickens and his children. charles dickens had ten children, possibly an 11th, and this a book about what their lives were like and about
charles dickens as a father which i think is really interesting. so not a new book. i can't read to you about the new book somebody because i don't want to show our cards in terms of our planned review coverage of the a lot of great books, books coming out from big names this fall. i think it's going to be an exciting book season. last year there was a lot of hesitation around the fall book season because of the election. i think people are hoping that this year there will not be that kind of distraction. i think the news cycle right now is incredibly absorbent, but it's the same time i think readers are also looking for counterprogramming to get away from all that. a spatial and suddenly people are so obsessively watching tv and look at social media. i think a really good book, whether it's a history book or a novel, can provide the kind of escape from that rapid new cycle. >> host: pamela paul is the editor of the "new york times"
book review, her most recent book "my life with bob: flawed heroine keeps book of books, plot ensues." booktv visited the "new york times" a couple years back, and we did a profile piece on the "new york times" book review. if you like to see that go to our website booktv.org and type in pamela paul and you will watch that entire quote. ..