Six Degrees of Institutional Separation isn’t bragging.  Really.  But you have to admit that it’s interesting to open the NYTimes book review section from last Sunday in a frantic move (still shorthanded with Norm playing paterfamilias to the hilt) to post something – anything – before all six of our readers drift off to Tom Vanderbilt or David Byrne’s sites where, we freely admit, we don’t mind spending a little time ourselves, and find right there in the Fiction listings of the table o’ contents three – count them – three direct connections with our own scrappy little library.  The very first entry:  Elmore Leonard.  Already addressed this week, but we failed to point out that the crimewriter deluxe came to dinner here.  He was the Niehoff Lecturer in 1995.  Stupendously cool, of course, but a bit dry for an audience not steeped in his minimalist tradition and unprepared for a delivery punctuated by smokers coughs.  The second connection:  Robert Pinsky, who wrote the Leonard review.  Pinsky was the Niehoff Lecturer here a couple of years after Elmore Leonard.  Eerie coincidence or just the NYTimes quite sensibly looking to the Mercantile for cultural guidance in these troubled times?   Number three:  The final fiction entry is a review of The Family Man by Elinor Lipman who read here not once but twice.  She’s one of the good guests, welcome back any time she feels like visiting.  Funny and well behaved.  We would describe her as the American Barbara Trapido only Barbara Trapido has disappeared even as Elinor keeps delivering the goods.   Are you still not a member?  How silly.  

-Nemo Wolfe

Published in: on June 5, 2009 at 4:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

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