Saturday, February 27, 2010

EW: Book Retrospective

Entertainment Weekly is celebrating its 20th anniversary this week! It's hard to believe the rag rack staple is so young. I've been reading Entertainment Weekly for somewhere around five-years now with only momentary punctuations of unsubscription, and yesterday I cleaned out my closet to find full year or twos worth dating back to around 2005. It felt like the stars were aligning, so I thought I'd plow through the book reviews from five years past, and share some retrospective observations, quotes and ironies.

July 22nd, 2005: Before hitting super-star status with The Road, the review for Cormac McCarthy's No Country For Old Men gets buried behind reviews for a bunch of books no one remembers.

September 9th, 2005: The late Marlon Brando and Donald Cammell's Fan-Tan is released, despite both authors having had lost interest in it years before and being dead. EW said "surely the story behind the story is the only story worth telling in Fan-Tan,". They gave it a nice, fat D.

September 30th, 2005: Julie & Julia by foul-mouthed Julie Powell comes out and grades an A. Later gets adapted into a movie that doesn't make sense because Julie Powell is a bit of a bitch, and Amy Adams isn't.

December 16th, 2005: EW runs an article that begins "Who ever said books were supposed to be cheap?", and follows with a list of impressive, pricey coffee-table tomes. Oh, 2005.

December 30th/June 6th, 2005/06: Best of 2005 Fiction list doesn't include Pulitzer winning Gilead by Marylnne Robinson, or Hugo winning Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke.

January 13th, 2006: EW runs an article on Brooklyn native Paul Auster whom I decided today I would read next, and for the first time. The article details Auster's interest in astronomical coincidences. The article ends mentioning what day "Paul Auster Day" is in Brooklyn. It's February 27th. Today.

March 17th, 2006: With the release of Macaulay Culkin's Junior, EW includes a ranking of other celebrity novels, which they did sometime in 2009 with another celebrity release, making me wonder how many times EW has recycled such devices.

March 24th, 2006: A Da Vinci Code imitator, Javier Sierra's The Secret Supper, trumps new releases by Christopher Moore and Colson Whitehead for the feature review. Early March 2006 marked an additional 5 million copy printing of the Da Vinci Code, and feature on Sierra is a testament to the fever the country was in over Dan Brown. Sierra's book also went on to be a best seller.

June 9th, 2006: Sara Gruin's best seller Water For Elephants gets graded a B, and takes a backseat to John Updike's second-to-last novel Terrorist (C+): Yet another post-9/11 novel. Is it any wonder why Terrorist clung to the discount shelves?

July 29th, 2006: Eragon author Christopher Paolini reviews the sixth installment in the Harry Potter series, The Half-Blood Prince. Because he's an expert on good young adult fiction?

I can't even tell you how many hours this blog took, simple though it is. Having looked through all of these, I can tell you a movie retrospective would be ripe for the picking. Oh, so very ripe. Should I? Hm.

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