that this griping about the NYTBR is quite pointless--and I don't disagree with the idea that they should review "popular" fiction--but I can't believe they gave a full page to Alan Dershowitz writing about John Grisham's latest! It includes a description of Richard North Patterson as "our best contemporary political novelist"...?!?!?
The full review is here, and this is the paragraph that just blew my mind: "There are few writers today capable of producing political novels of the quality of those once written by C. P. Snow and Alan Drury. Our best contemporary political novelist, Richard North Patterson, spends months interviewing the politicians upon whom he loosely bases his characters. He also masters the political issues he writes about -- abortion, gun control, capital punishment. Compared with Patterson's likelife presidents, senators, congressmen and lobbyists, Grisham's political characters are stick figures -- entirely predictable stereotypes without flesh and blood."