Bookends from the New York Times Book Review: The Rejected Questions

November 12, 2014 | 1 book mentioned 1 2 min read


Every week, The New York Times Book Review asks two of its 12 “Bookend” columnists to respond to “questions about the world of books.” Here are some prompts that for whatever reason didn’t make the cut.

Do you prefer your column to appear on the right or left side of the page?

Is it ever okay to burn a book?

Do you support the amendment legalizing marriage between works of commercial and literary fiction?

When we read fiction, how relevant is the author’s SAT score?

What book would you recommend to someone having difficulty thinking up a literary prompt?

Is it ethical to dog-ear pages?

In the Book of Job, God asks: “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?” Well, where were you? Gird up your loins and answer the guy.

What is the Great American Twitter Novel?

What will the rise of e-books mean to traditional publishers? What about to those who like to sniff book-binding glue?

How do you think the pathetic fallacy will adapt to climate change?

Can the state of contemporary literature be used to forecast stock prices?

When the “Bookender” crew gets together to drink, who never buys a round?

On a related note, what book — hardcover or paperback — would you use to bludgeon a fellow columnist?

Do you find it disrespectful to read canonical masterpieces in the bathroom?

This question comes from Samuel Beckett’s Molloy: “Does it really matter which hand is used to absterge the podex?”

When your piece appears, how often do you ever read the facing column on the same topic? Be honest.

Do you see the New York Giants’s season as more of a Greek tragedy or a comic picaresque? I’ll take my answer off the air.

Which of these statements do you find most true?: 1) Poetry makes nothing happen; 2) Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world; or 3) Poetry helps me get laid.

What is the relationship between font and content?

I know I screwed up — and I swear I’ll never see that divorcée from BookExpo America again — but do you think my darling wife Marcy can find it in her heart to take me back? I’m begging you, please save my marriage by both saying yes.

So…The Goldfinch? Discuss.

Image Credit: Wikipedia

is a staff writer for The Millions living in Durham, NC. Learn more about Matt at

One comment:

  1. “When your piece appears, how often do you ever read the facing column on the same topic? Be honest.”

    ^Snorted my coffee.

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