The NYT’s New Daily Book Critic

We’ve been waiting to hear who would replace daily NYT critic Janet Maslin since she shifted roles from full-time critic to an occasional contributor.

The news arrives in the paper tomorrow, in the form of a sidebar to a review of a nonfiction title currently hot in the media, Becoming Nicole, about a teen who transitioned from male to female, while her identical twin continues to identify as male.

The sidebar reads,

Meet Our New Critic
Jennifer Senior is the new daily book critic for The New York Times. For most of the last 18 years, she was a staff writer for New York magazine, where she wrote profiles and cover stories about politics, social science and mental health. She is also an author herself: All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood was published in 2014. You can follow her on Twitter: @JenSeniorNY

9780062072221_cc8dfAccording to a press release by NYT Culture editor Danielle Mattoonon, Senior will focus on nonfiction, which is no surprise, given her background as a journalist writing about politics, social science, and mental health and as the author of the  best selling All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood (HarperCollins/Ecco; HarperCollins and Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample).

While the daily NYT now returns to a roster of three full-time book critics, this appointment still leaves a void. Maslin focused on popular fiction and, reflecting her roots as a movie reviewer, made an effort to be the first to review titles she thought would be hits, getting behind books such as  Gone Girl.and The Girl on the Train.

The two other daily NYT critics have different approaches. Michiko Kakutani tends toward literary fiction (even though she reviews J.K. Rowling’s “Grizzly Crime Novel,” Career of Evil this week) and Dwight Garner tends toward nonfiction about popular culture, particularly music, (switching that it up today, with a review of  David Mitchell’s Slade House.)

Coming on the heels of cuts in book coverage by People magazine and USA Today, those looking simply for something “good to read” have fewer places to turn. Here’s hoping that Entertainment Weekly continues to consider books an important component their coverage of popular culture.

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