Eleanor Roosevelt Buying Pears and Other Letters to the Editor

Almost Famous

To the Editor:

Ben Katchor has done a great service to the publishing industry in his Sketchbook of the Worst-Seller List (Nov. 29). What a brilliant mind (and pen) at work! After all, there are many more worst sellers than best sellers.

I urge the Book Review to consider sponsoring an annual award for the worst-selling book published in English, nominees to be submitted only by its authors. Suggested prize: $0.99. Name of award: Katchor Remainder Prize.

Andy Davis
Stephentown, N.Y.

Crop Failure

To the Editor:

I am half embarrassed to be writing this, as I have a vested interest, but I am astonished that this year’s Holiday Books (Dec. 6), for the first time in memory, does not include gardening and nature books. Never have all things to do with gardening been so “hot,” so coveted since the beginning of the pandemic.

Perhaps not in the city, but everywhere in the country, there has been an astonishing surge of interest in gardening. I have written eight books on the subject over the years and have invariably been honored with a review in the Book Review in early December — that is, until now, with a new book just launched. I suspect it is my last. Beyond my own interest in a review, I look eagerly forward each year to learn what Dominique Browning or another reviewer deems worthy of notice in the nature department and inevitably purchase the recommended titles.

There was no arts or architecture roundup either, but Hollywood and science fiction instead. What is going on?

Page Dickey
Falls Village, Conn.

By the Book

To the Editor:

I implore you: Stop featuring celebrities in your By the Book column. Why highlight what these actors/singers/comedians are reading rather than writers?

The Book Review isn’t People magazine (I subscribe to both), but this makes it feel as if it’s trying to be. Let the writers tell us what they’re reading!

Jessica Benjamin
Bronxville, N.Y.

To the Editor:

Please stop feeding us Twinkies. Please feed us some food. Thank you.

Don Cohen
Santa Cruz, Calif.

Let’s Get Graphic

To the Editor:

Please explain to me how so august and respected a place as the Book Review manages to publish a 75-page year-end 100 Notable Books compilation that recommends everything from Riku Onda’s “The Aosawa Murders” to Sierra Crane Murdoch’s “Yellow Bird” yet includes only one graphic novel on its list.

For shame. Considering only Yuval Noah Harari’s “Sapiens: A Graphic History,” Stanley Donwood’s “Bad Island,” Joe Sacco’s “Paying the Land,” Jake Halpern’s “Welcome to the New World” and Tian Veasna’s “Year of the Rabbit,” surely one or two other titles rank among the most notable books of 2020.

Lorin Labardee
Tucson, Ariz.

Follow the Leader

To the Editor:

In her review of Thomas E. Ricks’s “First Principles” (Dec. 13), Virginia DeJohn Anderson writes that “today’s America is not at all what its founders hoped the nation would be.” My takeaway from “First Principles” is that today’s America is what the founders’ shenanigans ensured it would be. When Ricks describes how they behaved toward one another, he is also describing how our elected representatives behave toward one another.

David Hill
Mill Valley, Calif.

Pear Bonding

To the Editor:

Gail Collins’s review of David Michaelis’s “Eleanor” (Dec. 6) reminds me of why my immigrant mother loved Eleanor Roosevelt. She could do anything!

My aunt once saw her buying pears in a Manhattan grocery. My husband went up to her as she waited alone for her train at Grand Central to tell her all about his Fulbright time in India. She wasn’t interested, but never mind. Now she leans, all eight bronze feet of her, at Riverside and 72nd Street, pensively observing her city.

Carol Sicherman
Oakland, Calif.

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