YEAR(S) IN REVIEW: Utter dismay in Tinton Falls!


Conclusion—Those by whom you've been failed:
Last Sunday—it was Christmas morning—Name Withheld was pulling very few punches.

Her letter, to the New York Times Book Review, came from Tinton Falls, New Jersey, a borough in Monmouth County. We reprint that letter in full:
To the Editor:

I was utterly dismayed when I read the list of the 10 Best Books of the year. This is the worst selection in over 40 years. However, I should not have been surprised, as I have been very disappointed in the Book Review for some time.

Name Withheld
We're not sure why you'd publish that letter. But publish that letter they did!

On that same day, the Book Review published responses by 47 people to a hard-hitting year's-end question.

"In this season of giving," the Book Review said, "we asked some notably avid readers—who also happen to be poets, musicians, diplomats, filmmakers, novelists, actors and artists—to share the books that accompanied them through 2016."

Hours north of Tinton Falls, at least one reader had an uncharitable reaction to the sharing which ensued.

"These are the notably avid readers who failed us through all these year(s)," this tough-talking analyst said.

On the penultimate page of that same Book Review, The Year in Reading 47 were joined by The Bookends 16, who'd been asked a similar question.

"All those avid readers and not a drop to drink," one underwhelmed thought leader said.

Down through the years, these are (among) the many people who failed you! In fairness, we counted fourteen of The Year(s)' End 63 who found a way to signal membership in the club by saying how awful this past year has been. But we found very few notably avid readers who went even one step past that.

At the start of that Book Review section, Open Book columnist John Williams discussed his own year in reading. This is the way he began:
WILLIAMS (12/25/16): This year we asked some notable writers, musicians, actors and others to tell us about their year in reading.

I started the year vowing, arbitrarily, to read more philosophy. If this sounds overly ambitious, that’s only because it was. After chewing on just a bit of Kant and an even smaller bit of Hegel, I satisfied my appetite with something more digestible: “Irrational Man,” by William Barrett, a 1958 primer on existentialism’s roots and branches that might pair well with one of our 10 Best Books of 2016, Sarah Bakewell’s “At the Existentialist Café.”
"The foppishness is everywhere," at least one reader said.

For ourselves, the Bakewell book may have been the most memorable book of the year. That said, we found it memorable due to its highly instructive and world-class complete total incoherence.

Needless to say, this caused reviewers all over the world to praise the book's lucidity. Inevitably, this caused the Times to pick it as one of the year's ten best!

In Tinton Falls, one tough-talking reader pushed back hard. But make no mistake:

The Times had assembled a gaggle of giants to discuss The Year in Reading. Over the past twenty-five years, these are the people who didn't have a thing to say about the trends which have now produced the ascent of Donald J. Trump.

The foppishness was general as we read Sunday's Book Review. So were the scripted howls about this extremely bad year, which gave at least one avid reader "a feeling akin to seasickness."

Or so this reader said.

Next week, we'll start up again; we may start with the pleasing phrase, "mass poisoning of the entire city." That said, a bottom line is already clear. Simply put, our self-impressed tribe simply lacks the tools to perform on the national stage.

Some may suspect this in Tinton Falls. Possibly nowhere else.


  1. "Over the past twenty-five years, these are the people who didn't have a thing to say about the trends which have now produced the ascent of Donald J. Trump."

    A lot of people had a great deal to say about the ascent of Donald Trump. If they didn't attribute it explicitly to the causes Somerby explores, they fought those forces vigorously, in all media.

    They are now being reviled for being elitists. Isn't it enough punishment that they lost and now we have Trump?

    I don't like the books the NY Times tells me to read either. I chalk that up to my own tastes, not to a general decline in the functioning of the intelligentsia. The golden age in NYC disappeared when rents became too high to be affordable by bohemians. It has been all downhill since then.

    NY went for Hillary -- in spite of the NY Times best efforts. Few people read the paper outside NY these days. Maybe Somerby should be criticizing all those papers in Michigan and Wisconsin and PA? They may not be foppish, but I'm sure they have done other things to contribute to the triumph of fake news in the mainstream media.

    1. Many small town papers reprint columns by the NY Times editorial page writers and NY Times news reports, which is part of the reason the Times is still so influential (and a part of our media problem).

    2. "part of the reason the Times is still so influential (and a part of our media problem).'

      Rubbish. I see few newspapers as being "influential." The non-voters and third party nihilists which enabled Trump have little to do with the NYT.

    3. I see things differently, I guess.

    4. "Blind fools usually do" see things differently from the all-wise Lewis C, who is here to tell you don't forget about those smaller papers and when you don't forget them, remember too that they're not influenced by the NY Times, fools!

    5. "The non-voters and third party nihilists which enabled Trump have little to do with the NYT."

      I agree with Lewis.

      It doesn't matter whether the NY Times articles were printed in smaller papers if those papers were not read and didn't influence the people who decided not to vote for Hillary.

      Out of all the papers in the US, only 1 (Sheldon Adelson's paper in LV) endorsed Trump. Who won? Trump. Shall we conclude that papers are influential? On what basis?

  2. "our self-impressed tribe"

    Speak for yourself. You're a 3rd-rate Howard Beale.

    1. Self-impressed is a word that applies most to Donald Trump, not to liberals. It may apply to NY Times columnists but I don't think it applies to the many men and women who are gravely concerned about what will happen now that Trump is elected.

      I don't think Somerby is showing much empathy for them. That makes it offensive when he is so very concerned about the people who did this to us all. They at least got the president they voted for.

    2. The word Somerby applies to liberals is dumb.

  3. "The foppishness is everywhere." These people praise books that are incoherent and create social battles where no serious problem exists. It's all about wearing a fashionable politics and signaling wonderful-personnness to other tribe members through avatar filters. The advent of Trump has them deliriously satisfied in one respect for the opportunity to emote about imagined persecution of others they can proclaim they "stand with."

    Whatever anyone thinks about Trump, watching someone win with every major media star opposing him was worth any downside especially after 8 years of Democrats, including their candidate, standing for nothing but lobbing "RACIST" and the other libels. Voters figured out that it wouldn't matter if Trump never said anything objectionable, anyone opposing Obama and then Hillary was going to be smeared as a racist sexist whateverophobe and the election of Trump was a long overdue middle finger to that tactic. Trump might not be a better president than Hillary but he won't be worse.

    1. I hate to sound like an elitist, but you don't know what foppish means, do you?

    2. The thing about elitists is they're usually foppish yet dumb, not actually elite in any way they imagine. You do sound like one.

    3. And yet you still don't know what foppish means!

    4. Foppish means having a tendency to fop.

      Sorry, I love bad jokes. Benny Hill is my hero

  4. Trump's triumph is in large part due to the media's self destruction of it's credibility. No one believes in the media as a source of accurate news. Trump did not do this to them. He just used it against them and devised a way to get out his message without them. About all thats left for the media is to sit on the sidelines spitting and sputtering as events pass them by. Their access to Trump is pretty much limited to reading his tweets.

    Could not have happened to a more deserving bunch of people.

  5. How i got my Husband back Thanks to Lord Alika for bringing back my Husband ,and brought great joy to my family??? My name is Kathryn Louise, My Ex-Husband dumped me two weeks ago after I accused him of seeing someone else and insulting him. I want him back in my life but he refuse to have any contact with me. I was so confuse and don't know what to do, so I reach to the internet for help and I saw a testimony of how a spell caster help people to get their ex back so I contact the spell caster and explain my problem to him and he cast a spell for me and assure me of 48hours that my ex will return to me and to my greatest surprise the third day my ex came knocking on my door and beg for forgiveness. I am so happy that my love is back again and not only that, we are about to get married. Once again thank you Lord Alika , You are truly talented and gifted. Web:http://lordalikaspelltemp8.Wix.Com/http is the only answer. He can be of great help and I will not stop publishing him because he is a wonderful man.Email: lordalikaspelltemple@yahoo.Co.Uk or +19287694882. Web:http://lordalikaspelltemp8.Wix.Com/http

  6. My ex and I were together for 5 years. We lived together and were engaged. We went on a trip with friends and his family and had a nasty fight and broke up. We both moved out of our home and with our parents. We decided to go no contact for a month and 2 weeks in he started dating a girl and took her on a trip to California ( where we’ve gone the last 2 years on my bday) on my birthday weekend! After battling it out thru emails and a few meetings we finally came to see each other all of last week, i love him so much and i was so desperate to have him back coz i new that girl was not the right person for him so i have to save my relationship and reunite with me ex again so i try all i could to bring him back but all to avail i have be in contact with so many spell caster who only too my money and still nothing good work out of it, i ws so confuse and devastated one day trying to search on facebook, i come across a wonderful testimony of a lady on how a spell caster who she contacted also for love spell help her and bring her husband back to her with-in less day 2 days after the spell i was so fill with joy coz this lady meant my day and i regain my hope back so i directly and desperately email coz i love my ex so much and i want him back all to my self so with-in 5 min,Dr happy email me back with hope and told me that i have found solution in him that i should worried no more so i did all he ask of me and he gave me assured and guarantee that my ex will come back so i believed and was so gifted all to my surprise after the spell my ex call, come to my working beg and apology for his mistake,and he said sorry for the nasty break up that he was inconsiderate of my feelings nt in tend to hurt me. i can testify with the power love spell of Dr happy me and my ex are happily married now thank you Dr happy i will for ever be grateful to you and keep sharing your testimony if you need help or love spell fine it difficult to get back with your ex, email or call his mobile number on +2348133873774

  7. How I Got My Ex Husband Back...........

    I am Shannon by name. Greetings to every one that is reading this testimony. I have been rejected by my husband after three(3) years of marriage just because another woman had a spell on him and he left me and the kid to suffer. one day when i was reading through the web, i saw a post on how this spell caster on this address , have help a woman to get back her husband and i gave him a reply to his address and he told me that a woman had a spell on my husband and he told me that he will help me and after 2 days that i will have my husband back. i believed him and today i am glad to let you all know that this spell caster have the power to bring lovers back. because i am now happy with my husband. Thanks for Dr.Mako. His email: OR. his phone number: +2348108737816.

  8. My boyfriend broke up with me 2 months ago, because he felt i was cheating on him with a male friend of mine, i tried all i could to explain to him but he paid deaf ears, i was emotionally devastated because i really loved him until i saw a post on the internet about Dr osofo, who helps people gain back their lost lover, at first i doubted if it was real because i never believed in such things but i decided to give him a try,I contacted him and he told me what to do and i did it then he did a Love spell for me, he restored my relationship within 48 hours and my boyfriend was calling and begging to make up with me again, if you need help to repair your relationship or marriage problem. Here’s his contact, call/WhatsApp him on: +2349065749952, Email him ( )

  9. I found out, that taking herbal treatment is the best to get rid of hpv as soon as i feel the symptoms of hpv is appearing, i took the healing process by contacting Dr onokun for natural treatment it works wonders, amazingly ever since I had the herbal treatment i have not feel these horrible disease anymore and my doc told me the virus is gone, i am glad i finally got cured out from this horrible disease. every hpv or herpes patients should also get in touch with this herbalist Dr to get ride of these disease forever his email address;

  10. Online marketing in Hanoi or other cities is through a series of electronic applications and Internet technology facilities to take advantage of the ability to learn, develop, orient products, and marketing strategies. , PR ... best suited during market research.

    Aiming at the ultimate goal of boosting sales, helping customers have access to services and products that the business unit effectively, conveniently and quickly, recruiting online marketing staff will include: job position is:

    Viral marketing - through the online community to implement marketing strategies
    Email marketing - via email for marketing
    SEM (Search Engine Marketing) - through search engines for marketing
    SEO (Search Engine Optimization) - through search engine optimization to promote your website to the top
    Online marketing recruiting requires professional marketing skills and expertise to build and plan marketing units, products and brands to change the consumption habits of others and create customers. new and retain loyal customers.

    The access process can be through any area of ​​life that users are interested in, be it entertainment, relaxation, economy, medicine, health, or society, community ... View now job recruitment news tuyen dung thuc tap sinh marketing o ha noi So you get the job that suits you best!

    In order for you to expand further on employment opportunities, you quickly find information about current HOT Marketing industry at https: / / .

  11. Packers and Movers Bangalore - Reliable and Verified Household Shifting Service Providers Give Reasonable ###Packers and Movers Charges. Cheap and Best Office Relocation Compare Quotation for Assurance for Local and Domestic House Shifting and Get estimates today to save upto 20%, ***Read Customer Reviews - @ Packers And Movers In Bangalore

  12. , I was diagnosed of herpes virus, I have tried all possible means to get cure but all my effort proved abortive, until a friend of mine introduced me to a herbal doctor called Dr Agaba, who prepare herbal medicine to cure all kind of diseases including herpes virus (Herpes), when i contacted this herbal doctor via email, he sent me herpes virus herbal medicine via courier service, when i received the herbal medicine he gave me step by step instructions on how to apply it, when i applied it as instructed i was totally cured from the virus within 3 weeks of usage. Contact this great herbal doctor today to get your cure. 
    Via Email: or WhatApp: +2349074536486  

  13. I Can’t still believe that i got cured from Genital Herpes through herbal treatment from Dr agaba who I met through the internet, I actually couldn’t believe it at first because it sounded impossible to me knowing how far I have gone just to get rid of it. Dr agaba send me his medicine which I took as instructed and here I am living a happy life once again, a big thanks to Dr agaba, I am sure there are many herbal doctors out there but Dr agaba did it for me, contact him , also call or whatsApp him on +2349074536486  

  14. Do you need personal loan?
    Loan for your home improvements,
    Mortgage loan,
    Debt consolidation loan,
    Commercial loan,
    Education loan,
    Car loan,
    Loan for assets. Whatsapp +918929509036