Stop Getting Mad About Emily Gould's Novel

Tom Scocca · 07/01/14 03:00PM

"Is Michiko Kakutani incompetent or just crazy?" Shall we start with that question? Don't blame me. It's what Google autocomplete gave me when I typed "Michiko Kakutani is." I'm just reporting what the Internet says about her!

J.K. Trotter · 08/22/13 02:41PM

Here is a sentence, in Playboy magazine: “Michiko Kakutani from The New York Times, a reviewer notorious for going completely relentless bitch on many a good book, has always gushed over Díaz’s writing.”

Happy Birthday

cityfile · 01/08/10 06:25AM

David Bowie turns 63 today. Fashion designer Carolina Herrera is turning 71. Everyone's favorite British theoretical physicist, Stephen Hawking, is 68. Robert Kelly (or R. Kelly to you and me) is turning 43. Sean Paul is 37. Baseball players Jason Giambi and Carl Pavano are 39 and 34, respectively. Actress Sarah Polley is 31. Wolfgang Puck is turning 61. DJ Clue is 35. Susan Berresford turns 67. Composer David Lang is 53. And legendary game show host Bob Eubanks turns 72 today. A few weekend birthdays are below.

Happy Birthday

cityfile · 01/09/09 07:31AM

Model Maggie Rizer is turning 31 today. Dave Matthews is turning 42. Times book critic Michiko Kakutani is 54. Hot 97 host Angie Martinez is 37. Internet tycoon Lockhart Steele is 35. Indie film honcho Michael Barker is turning 55. Earl Graves, the founder of Black Enterprise, is turning 74. Author Judith Krantz is 81. Singer Joan Baez is 68. And Kate Middleton, who stands to become a princess if Prince William ever pops the question, turns 27 today. Weekend birthdays—including that of Jared Kushner—after the jump!

Mysterious Michiko Startles Readers with a Rhyme

Sheila · 11/21/08 02:25PM

Famously harsh New York Times book critic Michiko Kakutani has clearly taken a liking to prolific New Yorker writer and "Deadline Poet" columnist for The Nation Calvin Trillin's latest political book: apparently moved to write a poem, she reviewed it in verse. You know, in the style of his book, also written in verse! "Trillin recounted this all with verve and élan/Charting the candidates’ every slogan and plan." Check out the excerpt—and then you can turn the table and judge her poetic efforts.

Times Misreports Death — In A Novel

Ryan Tate · 09/26/08 12:57AM

(Disclaimer: Spoilers related to the Philip Roth novel Indignation ahead.) Oct. 2, Philip Roth will jump readers to the end of his new novel Indignation. On WNYC, the writer will explain how, if you read to the end of his book, you find that the narrator Marcus Messner is not, in fact, dead, but merely in the midst of a morphine hallucination of his own death. This contradicts both reviews of the book in the Times, one by Michiko Kakutani, the other in the Sunday Book Review. In so doing, it begs the question: Did those reviewers bother to read the book all the way to the end?

People's Brangelina Pics Pay Off

cityfile · 08/22/08 01:14PM
  • People's $14 million purchase of the Brangelina pics worked out nicely in the end. The issue sold 2.6 million copies, making it the mag's best-selling issue in seven years. [WWD]

Michiko Kakatuni Puts Down Her Book, Glances At TV

cityfile · 08/18/08 06:55AM

When one pictures the New York Times' fearsome literary critic Michiko Kakutani at work, the scene is of a book-lined, slightly dusty apartment, with Kakutani frowning over the book in her lap, perhaps with pencil in hand, getting ready to eviscerate a new novel that disgraces itself in various ways. A TV is most definitely not flickering in the background. But it seems that this image of Casa Kakutani will have to be revised, as she apparently just watched TV for the first time!

Who's Afraid of NYT Book Critic Michiko Kakutani?

Sheila · 05/01/08 11:25AM

The Pulitzer-winning book critic for the New York Times, Michiko Kakutani, has been in the news this week: she was called "the stupidest person in New York City," by author Jonathan Franzen, presumably because of her negative review of his memoir. (Norman Mailer called her a "one-woman kamikaze" who "disdains white male authors," but he was afraid of intimacy.) The Guardian's book blog offers a field guide to this "reclusive," mysterious critic:

Who Does Jonathan Franzen Think is the "Stupidest Person in NYC"?

Sheila · 04/29/08 10:01AM

Why, it's Michiko Kakutani, fiction critic at the New York Times, of course! As a general rule, authors do tend to think the "stupidest people in the city" are the ones who reviewed their books negatively. (It's just one of those things.) In Franzen's case, it was her review of his memoir The Discomfort Zone that really set him off: "In the case of this book the author's self-involvement not only makes for an incredibly annoying portrait, but also funnels the narrative into a dismayingly narrow channel." Regardless of quality, it hurts more than usual when someone criticizes your memoir. It's not like saying, "I don't like your characters." It's more like, "I don't like your life." (That said, there are just some things that should not be published.) [NY Observer]

Choire · 10/26/07 10:10AM

Ads for the paperback of "The Discomfort Zone," Jonathan Franzen's collection of essays, include the really mean ones. "Odious!" says Michiko Kakutani. [Papercuts]

'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows' Reviewed And Revealed

abalk · 07/19/07 09:20AM

The New York Times joins the crowd of those breaking Scholastic's embargo on revealing anything about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. In a review in today's paper, book critic Michiko Kakutani limns the final volume of the Potter series, and, presumably inadvertently, reveals a major plot point. It's kind of amazing.

Leslie Bennetts: 'Times' Lady Coverage Is 'Wretched'

balk · 04/26/07 11:23AM

What do Motoko Rich, Janet Maslin and Michiko Kakutani have in common? They're all part of a sinister conspiracy against women in general and woman author Leslie Bennetts in particular. In a letter on the HuffPo, the ten-year vet of the Times takes issue with yesterday's Times article suggesting that maybe women don't want to read books about the whole working mother dilemma. She notes that her own book, The Feminine Mistake, has already moved more copies than several other titles to which it is compared and then likens herself to critically-injured New Jersey governor Jon Corzine. But wait, there's more!

Your Sunday 'Times' Timesaver Guide

balk · 04/20/07 01:28PM

It's going to be a warm and sunny weekend, which is a good thing considering that you're not going to be indoors reading the Sunday New York Times. If the Big Three sections (Arts, Books, Mag) are any indication, you'll quickly scan the sports scores and then head out to the park for some ultimate frisbee or whatever. So now we will helpfully describe to you, rapid-fire, what you'll be skipping over so you can sound all smart next week. You're welcome!

Secret Workings Of 'Times' Book Review Exposed!

Choire · 02/24/07 02:06PM

In a talk at Harvard on Tuesday, Barry Gewen, an editor at the New York Times Book Review since the early 90's, revealed a steaming heap of heretofore unknown and as-of-yet unreported details about the Book Review's inner workings. The reason for his trip, he said, was to correct some misconceptions among the largely academic audience about how the Review is assembled. "We're thought to have agendas, we're thought to be out to get people," he said. "I hope by the end of this talk I'll have persuaded you that none of that is the case."

Please Beat Us With Norman Mailer's Cane

Emily Gould · 01/08/07 11:00AM

Norman Mailer has been an ancient crotchety windbag for like sixty years now, so it's gotten to the point where you really just have to admire his stamina — not to mention his flair for crafting quasi-Shakespearean, quasi-acid casualty insults. We mentioned earlier that New York Magazine had done a brilliant job of cataloguing his enemies — in anticipation of his new book, for which Michiko Kakutani is apparently already sharpening her samurai sword, they've also listed some of the barbs (literal and figurative) he's hurled at them over the years. To William Styron: "I will invite you to a fight in which I expect to stomp out of you a fat amount of your yellow and treacherous shit." On biographer P.D. Manso: ""P. D. Manso is looking for gold in the desert of his arid inner life, where lies and distortion are the only cactus juice to keep him going." We know you're great at talking smack, so we're going to open up the floodgates and see if anyone wants to try their hand at crafting a Mailerian (whatever) insult. Leave 'em in the comments, or send them to us the way you usually do. Your target can be us, Mailer, Marisha "hedge fund trophy wife hot" Pessl, or whoever. We can't wait to to read a fat amount of your yellow and treacherous shit.

Divining the Truth: Who Knocked Michiko Kakutani?

abalk2 · 12/07/06 01:10PM

So, surprise of surprises, this week's Time Out has a fairly interesting feature in which New York's professional critics are judged by a panel of experts. There aren't many shocks (The New Yorker's Sasha Frere-Jones and Alex Ross are great music critics, Frank Bruni is inferior to his $25-and-Under colleague Peter Meehan, something about dance, etc.) but the gloves really come off when Times book critic Michiko Kakutani gets reviewed.

Media Bubble: Fielding Mellish Goes to Iraq, Sort of

Jesse · 08/30/05 01:59PM

• Imagine if a Woody Allen antihero was on a warfront. We'd call that Bananas. Michiko calls it War Reporting for Cowards. [NYT]
• More bad news for American Media: First they lose Arnold, now Standard & Poor's drops their debt rating. And on top of that all, the CEO is still named Pecker. Heh. [NYP]
Martha Stewart Living and two other women's mags now caught in "apocalyptic" wave of circ scandals. Fraud at Martha Stewart? No way. [Ad Age]
• Mr. Big is renovating his house. In the last week of August, that counts as news. [WWD, second item]