Where Are All the Book Columns? The End of N.B. at the TLS

You may wonder–even I have wondered–why I subscribe to the TLS. I began in 2012 or 2013 because of the editor Peter Stothard, a classicist, and the classics editor Mary Beard. At that time the TLS published more classics reviews than did most scholarly classics journals.

Over the years, I have also regularly read the N.B. column by J.C. (James Campbell). It is like receiving a witty, quirky letter by a book maniac once a week, and I’m pretty sure even Ursula K. Le Guin once mentioned it at her blog. He writes about buying tatty Penguins at used bookstores in London, the George Gissing Society, why the BBC should adapt a George Gissing novel, French literature, limericks, book covers, poetry magazines, and the casualties of political correctness.

In the new issue, J.C. announced that this week’s column is his last. Fuck’s sake, what’s going on? It’s my favorite thing in the TLS now. Mind you, he did not include my contribution to readers’ findings of mentions of the TLS in novels and poetry (mine was from Penelope Lively or Anita Brookner, I can’t remember), but I enjoyed his column anyway!

There are so few book columns left. There’s still Michael Dirda at The Washington Post, but who else? Any recommendations?  I love columns.  And they’ve even disappeared from women’s magazines.

8 thoughts on “Where Are All the Book Columns? The End of N.B. at the TLS”

  1. A great loss. True, he had written the column since 1998, a fantastic run, but showed no signs of running out of steam. One speculates it is related to the recent change in top editor and/or that he had tilted at one too many fashionable positions.

    1. Yes, he had a LOT to say, much of it funny and offbeat, some of it serious, and whether I agreed with it or not I always looked forward to reading it.

  2. Update: Private Eye, the British satirical and investigative magazine, reports on Sept.25, that Campbell and several other long time contributors, were fired by the new editor as a cost saving measure.Also getting the ax was the brilliant cartoonist, Ella Baron.

    1. Sorry to hear it. Scary times. Editors do like to clean house, or do I mean bring in their own stable? I can’t find any book columns anymore.

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