It has come to our attention that an end-of-year article, “Times Critics Discuss 2021 in Books, From Breakout Stars to Cover Blurbs,” managed to invoke John Updike in the process. Dwight Garner, Alexandra Jacobs, Jennifer Szalai, and Molly Young were asked questions about the book scene. Here’s one exchange:
“Molly and Alexandra, you both started as book critics for The Times in September. Any all-time favorite books of criticism that you would recommend people delve into over the holidays?
“JACOBS: John Updike’s Hugging the Shore and Odd Jobs are the bookends of my Updike Shelf (about which, another time). Here was someone who didn’t have to review or consider his contemporaries or predecessors, and yet industriously, prolifically did. What generosity.
“YOUNG: Martin Amis’s collection The War Against Cliché. His flow is insane.
“JACOBS: Wait, I meant to say that! Well, Amis has written about Updike and Updike about Martin’s father, Kingsley, so maybe this is a male literary turkucken . . . . “