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28 February 2011


This is such an interesting issue. I watched the Clemens interview on the Daily Show before I read the book, so I wasn't surprised. At first I thought it would be an investigative piece because of the title, but Clemens is pretty straightforward in the interview that there is no theme. I wonder if readers are more surprised about this kind of "misperception" in nonfiction than they are with fiction. Do we expect the title to be "truthful?" The reviewer for the NYT was harsh about the title confusion.

Is there a difference between how much information you want between a piece of fiction or nonfiction? When I read fiction, I want to know as little as possible - basically is it a book I might like? With nonfiction, I read everything on the dust jacket, blurbs and acknowledgements before starting the book. I'll also spend a lot of time looking at photographs!

Have you read this one? What did you think about it? (Subtitle confusion notwithstanding.)

Yes, I thought the NYT reviewer was a bit harsh too, especially since I think the confusing subtitle was actually kind of clever. Kind of mirrors how everything we think we know about our economy may not be right either (in my opinion, anyway.)

The question you raise about F/NF and what you want to know is an interesting one that goes right to the heart of book reviewing. I'll have to think about it. Anyone else got an answer for Venta? It's hard for me to say because I hardly ever read for "story"--meaning I don't care if you even tell me the ending, so too much information in reviews I like, F or NF, is rarely a problem. But I know others are not fond of spoilers. Does the same go for NF spoilers?

Speaking of photographs--I loved the ones in Clemens's book and wished he had included more, the way Alain de Botton did in his airport book. They really added to the narrative.

Thanks for the recommendation. I read this over the weekend and really enjoyed it, sad as it was. You're right, the NYT reviewer overreacted to the subtitle. It was clever. Like you say, the jobs are already GONE--ain't never coming back Magee. Maybe we as a nation aren't ready to admit that yet, though.

You're welcome. I'm really glad you read this one--Clemens deserves a much larger fan base.
I think there's lots of things we're not yet ready to admit as a nation, sadly.

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