Thursday, April 22, 2010

Why Won't NYT Book Essayist Joe Queenan Read "The Satanic Verses"? You Make The Call!

Last December, favorite NYT Book Review essayist Joe Queenan declared that he would not be reading Salman Rushdie's "The Satanic Verses" anytime soon, because of the "graphic vileness" of its cover.

Queenan, who has lately carved out something of a sub-specialty in informing readers of books he doesn't intend to read, returned to Rushdie's classic -- and his aversion to reading it -- in a NYT Book Review essay this past Sunday.

Four months later, Queenan has come up with a brand-new excuse for not finishing Rushdie's book. Now it's the author's preference for the New York Yankees!

"My refusal to read books about the Yankees or their fans also extends to books written by supporters of the team," Queenan complains. "Thus, when I learned that Salman Rushdie had adopted the Yankees, who beat my Phillies in the World Series last year, it eliminated any chance that I would ever read “The Satanic Verses,” no matter how good it is."

Who knows what's next? Queenan may soon side with Muslims who long objected to the 1988 novel's supposed sacrilegious elements, which resulted in a death sentence for Rushdie ordered by the then-Ayatollah of Iran.

Hey, Joe, admit it -- you just don't feel like reading the book!

Thanks to Janice Harayda of Montclair, who tweeted about Queenan's short-term memory loss at @janiceharayda yesterday and tipped us to it via email.

It now seems reasonable to ask Queenan to nail down his thinking and declare, definitely and at long last, the real reason he won't read "The Satanic Verses" -- perhaps in the next installment of Queenan's "what-I-haven't-been-reading-lately" lists for the NYT.

Personally, we didn't read "Satanic Verses" because we didn't like the font. These days we're only reading books in Garamond and Bodoni.


Anonymous said...

Hey, gotta admire the guy for the way he teases absolutely pointless thoughts into a coherent essay.

Anonymous said...

How hollow and how unwise. Dump the plump.

Anonymous said...

All looks yellow to the jaundiced eye.

Anonymous said...

Can you guys do a nytpicker column on how fucking odd TimesCast is? I honestly can't tell what the hell they're trying to do, besides pick up FedEx ad revenue. Lots of awkward pseudo-discussions between reporters, an attempt to treat the newsroom (as opposed to the places where the stories are occurring) as a site of drama, etc. etc. Surely reasonable minds must be cringing at having to go through this goofy dog and pony show, and to think that they have to do it on a daily basis .... Yeesh.

Anonymous said...

Re: 'this goofy dog and pony show'

You don't think they're going to show anyone the real crunch of decision making, do you?