Like many others, we read Neil Genzlinger’s article on “The Problem with Memoirs” and felt a bit huffy. After all, Scribner has published quite a few memoirs over the years, and if we do say so, they’re all pretty spectacular. (The Pulitzer committee and the National Book Award judges seem to agree.)
And yet, Genzlinger has a point. There is a lot of navel-gazing going on in the culture now – but this is a story that’s already been written, and re-written. McNally Jackson has made this point very well; we may as well apply this rant to food, movies, blogs, etc… For every three mediocre memoirs Genzlinger could pull off the shelves, there are three brilliant, moving, and transcendent works he could have found, too.
We’d like to think, atop our soapbox here, that one of the jobs we take most seriously, is filtering content and nurturing stories and writers that we believe are worthy of your time. Independent bookstores, who pride themselves on hand-selling, also do this. Perhaps Genzlinger’s problem, shouldn’t have been with the content itself, but the medium he chose to view it in (ahem, a certain online bookseller), and his own porous methods of choosing the books.