The Times Book Review gets its sticky, intellectual fingers all over former public editor Dan Okrent's book and promptly passes it off to Sir Harold Evans (whose wife, if you recall, is so over New York), who puzzlingly gives it a few, punishing slaps and then goes on to declare Okrent the best thing to happen to journalism since alcohol. Gee, hate fuck much? That, plus poetic praise for David Orr, in Intern Alexis' weekly literati cheat-sheet. Let her give herself to you, after the jump.


Timothy Ferris from San Francisco writes in:

To the Editor:
Let's have more
From David Orr.

This little nugget takes us back to our crazy days in November of 2004 when we wrote a haiku about how much we adored David Orr:

David Orr, we think,
Is smart, funny, and dead on.
Yeah, sometimes we're nice.

Hey, literary agents: "On Orr On Poetry" anybody?

Sex Collectors: The Secret World of Consumers, Connoisseurs, Curators, Creators, Dealers, Bibliographers, and Accumulators of "Erotica."
By Geoff Nicholson
Reviewed by Emily Nussbaum

We are a sucker for anything Paul Rudd-related and admit to having seen "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" one and a half times, but Emily Nussbaum's otherwise delightful review of Geoff Nicholson's look at erotica-collecting freaks came with a lede which required that we read it over not twice, but thrice:

"Andy, for the last time, I don't want your big box of porn!" Paul Rudd shouted in last year's sex comedy "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," backing out of the title character's apartment. It was a well-meaning ploy: Rudd, playing Andy's good friend, was actually the one who had collected the porn, and he was trying to force Andy to accept his precious cargo, hoping — with a pervy, wrongheaded generosity — that it would educate his buddy and enable him to get lucky.

The subjects of Geoff Nicholson's new book, "Sex Collectors," might sympathize with that impulse.

Our slowness may have had something to do with the fact that while we were reading Nussbaum's review, we were also watching the exciting France/Korea game, but Rudd was the who playing Andy and the sex in the porn in the what now?

Telegraph Days
By Larry McMurtry
Reviewed by Chelsea Cain

Chelsea Cain goes to town on Larry McMurtry's latest. She writes:

The book is like one of those peppy war stories that Grandpa used to tell in which he insisted he was at every battle, and gee willikers wasn't it all grand? It's endearing, sure. But at some point you want to take Grandpa by the shoulders, give him a shake, and get him to tell you what really happened.

We have this to say, Chelsea: We think McMurtry is the bomb, and thought he was just cute as a button when he accepted his best screenplay award at the Golden Globes and the Oscars. Don't even think about shaking him. Or we'll unleash a still-bitter and potentially rabid Annie Proulx on you.

Public Editor #1: The Collected Columns (With Reflections, Reconsiderations, and Even a Few Retractions) of the First Ombudsman of the New York Times
By Daniel Okrent
Reviewed by Harold Evans

Sir Harold Evans begins his review claiming that he was never a real and true ombudsman fan ("In my own career as a newspaper editor, I was never persuaded that an ombudsman was a good idea..."). He goes on to call Okrent a bit of a hard-ass: "Writing a review for this newspaper, my prejudice declared, I hope to be fair and accurate, etc., but it is a relief to know the combative Okrent is not breathing down my neck: his successor seems of milder disposition." He also criticizes Okrent for his decision, upon becoming public editor, not to "write about anything published or not published prior to his arrival," which, Evans says, "meant he recoiled from an inquest on the paper's failure to shine a clear searchlight through the administration's fog of war."

He ends the review, though, with quite a turnaround: "So let me conclude without equivocation: Daniel Okrent in 'Public Editor #1' represents a force for better journalism. I hope that somewhere he continues to scrutinize the wayward press." What gives? That's a whole lot of positive for a review that was generally a whole lot of negative... So while Okrent is no longer able to breathe down Evans' neck, we are. It's nice and warm, isn't it?