tv My Life with Bob CSPAN July 23, 2017 6:47pm-7:03pm EDT
thank you for attending today. book and book signing will be out by the state here. thank you. [inaudible conversations] connect the sa where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created to as a public service by america's cable television companies. it is brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. joining us on the tv is pamela
paul, the editor of the new york times book review. who is bob? >> bob is my book of books. i treat him like a person. he's a companion that i've kept 17 in this one journal i've written down the title of every book that i read. >> what kind of condition is bought in? >> is not in good shape. i get asked to bring along for appearances but it's a really old-fashioned, not a moleskin be in the journal but i bought it at a corner stationery store and i feel like he's writing from within. he's split at the seams a little bit. the binding is brain. there's a bit of resentment on his part perhaps. >> used to record in him? >> ashley. as soon as i finish the book. i just got back from australia
and i read about five or six books that i was gone and the first thing i do when i get home is get in there and write down the night under the name of every book what made you begin that project? >> i was essentially a field teenage diary writer. with every young girl has a ambition to write a journal or diary and it turned out that those entries were awful. i would go back and read them and the content was teenage angst and fight my parents or friends and the writing was terrible. there was no sign of anne frank or judy bloom or joe march but they were awful to look back on. also, i realize the events that i recorded in there were things i wanted to forget where is bob, my book of books that recorded what i wanted to remember which is what i was reading when all
the other stuff was going on back so it is states, title, author yes, there is no review. i get asked a lot but what is interesting is that even though the entries are as brief as they could be just having that list and seeing what comes after brings me back e-mailing to that moment. i might not remember everything that was in the book and often i don't remember the name of the main character i remember where i was when i read it and i remember why i chose the book and i can see the cover in my head. i remember how i felt when i read it. in a way it has become, for me at least, this incredible memoir in a diary that is more complete than that other diary would have been check your three children. >> i do. >> have they ever seen bob?
>> very few people have full access to bob. my husband has seen it but he doesn't look through it regularly. he keeps a log which is his big list of books on his computer once he started with the met project 28, not all books are as fun as expected. i was bored by them, hated on the road and i hated catcher in the rye even more. why? >> i've already heard from many people who are upset with me but i really did not like -- i was a classic good girl and i did not like those protagonists who were rebelling against things. i was obedient and in awe of authority and at the same time i did like to read about some characters who were going off the rails a little bit and i found that a safe way to explore those things. my problem with catcher in the
rye was i felt he was such a spoiled brat. he was living the 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. >> pamela paul, what is your day job? and editor of the new york times book review and i oversee the coverage of the new york times which extends to reviews in the sunday book review to our daily critics to reporting on the industry to profiles and features. we try to cover not only the latest books but to cover the way in which books intersect with the larger culture and with the news in general. >> would get the sunday new york times, can you read just one or do they come in a series? if you put up one is like a short story -- >> a book review? three gas. >> ideally it will tell you what is in the book to give you a
sense of the writing and offer judgment but i also believe that a book review, in and of itself, is an art form. there is a certain writing that takes place in the literary criticism that you would get in the rest of the news reports or even in a feature of the book. criticism is an art form and so often -- my hope is that people are just looking for a book review to decide if they want to read the book but appreciate the piece of writing in its own right. frankly, a lot of people read the book reviews so they don't have to read the book but they could read around it in the within it. >> like all book review editor's, you write, i necessarily view books as something to be sifted through and sorted, feet separated from the shaft, galleys tossed into the doctors don't want how do you decide what you will review
and what makes the list? >> that is the meanest question to ask. everyone has their galleys out, their new books in their search site equipment but what we're doing at the new york times is performing a triage. no one has time to read all of these books. what we see our role as editors and critics is to sift through everything and to find the books that are truly worth's time and the ones we think people are looking to the new york times to have a season critic way and offer perspective on an. ultimately, that comes down to the book itself. you can send us a copy wrapped in a perfect cake covered with candy and we can have all the publicity in the world and there's much fanfare surrounding certain titles but am in the end, what we're doing as editors is looking 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 an instinct in the moment. for me it's about what i need intellectually, emotionally at that time and whether it's a certain curiosity or information i am after or if it's something that is more of a gut level, emotional tug like the need for a sad story or the need to get deeply involved in something that feels apart from this time and place. i tend to make my own decisions as soon as i close the book on the covers of the book i am reading. i have a short stack of books that i am choosing from and i feel like what am i in the mood for. that's how i pick. >> do you ever get any books that get reread? >> very rarely. there are so many books still out there that i'm dying to three. 70% of the book for myself i haven't read. there are books that are interesting to turn back to you
so much about the book isn't really about what is in the book itself but that's what this bo book, my life with bob is about. it inspectors between the reader and the book and what the reader brings to the book. depending on where you are in your life, you might bring something different to the book. the classic example that comes to mind is anna (in a and if you are reading it as a young idealistic single person you read it and see it as a romantic. anna has to leave her husband, her true love and it's sad and tragic but it's also she needed to do that. you understand her. if you read it when you're a newlywed you would think this is terrible. that's adultery and she's abandoning her child and her husband didn't do anything wrong. if you read it later life you're more understanding. you've seen a number of things happen in your own life or in
the lives of your friends and your more compassionate and forgiving of some of her choices connect to your books get reviewed in the new york times? >> it is not. because of the fact that i am overseeing everything there is no way that i could responsibly do it without having a massive conflict of interest. my previous books have all been reviewed in the times and i have to say i got probably my most negative review in the new york times for my second book which came out in 2005 which was a useful experience for me. quickly, as an editor i know what it's like to be on the other side and as a consequence i try to be careful and respectful of writers and 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 accurately and
personally when i write a review though i'm not currently writing a given my role as editor, i have always made a point that even the most critical reviews i tried to point out what the author did right and what they did well. you can't just go after someone like that. writing is hard and it takes a long time for those people and sometimes people have one book in them and that's their passion and project and life goal for them to publish a book. i thank you have to be cognizant of that and take it into account when writing about it you can go to a bookstore, new york times bestseller is on the top of that book. how do you compile those lists this work is that a point to see as many people as possible put that new york times best seller on it? >> the actual mechanics of that, the coca-cola wheel for the of the new york times because we do have our own message to take into account, sales across the country and do it independently
and responsibly. we have a team of editors to compile those and they remain quite separate from the rest of us and again, it's to avoid conflict of interest. we are weighing in on those books and making judgments but what they are doing is independently assessing the sales and looking at the data. we want to make sure that there is no undue influence between the two very different paths. i love the fact that the new york times bestseller is such a point of pride that it remains the standard for what makes a book a significant seller.
editor in chief of co simon and schuster and it's an older book that it's about charles dickens and children. he had ten children, possibly in the 11th and this is about what their lives are lik were like as about charles dickens as a father. i can't really told you about the new books i'm reading because i don't want to show the cards in terms of the review coverage but there are big books coming out this fall, so i think it is going to be an exciting season. last year there was a lot around the fallbrook season and i think
people are hoping that this year there won't be that kind of distraction. the news cycle right now is incredibly absorbing. the readers are looking for counterprogramming to get away from all that especially when so many people are obsessively looking at tv and social media. a good book whethe with the gret history book or a novel can provide an escape from the rapid news cycle. >> the editor of times at the new york book review the most recent plot ensues. we visited "the new york times" a couple years back and we did a profile piece on "the new york times" book review. if you would like to see that, go to the website booktv.org and you will be able to watch the entire thing.