"Muzzling Moore" and "Our Favorite Books"

By Kera Bolonik and Laura Miller

Published January 11, 2002 8:00PM (EST)

Read "Muzzling Moore."

Malleable money-grubber Michael Moore seems to think that a refusal to sell his book is censorship. But the reality is, his poorly written undeveloped "satires" (more pitiful tirades than anything else) just don't sell because they aren't that funny. Moore is all rage and no thoughts. Maybe one thought he could start with is looking up the First Amendment and trying to understand what it really says.

-- Phil Edwards

Michael Moore's book will be the last one I ever buy from the jackboot-licking cowards at HarperCollins.

-- David Harnden-Warwick

It seems that Rupert Murdoch is not content with using the Fox News Network as conservative soapbox. Now, with his ownership of HarperCollins, he is also seeking to censor and squelch any dissent from the conservative/Republican party line.

Welcome to Amerika 2002.

-- Todd Sanders

It's ironic to think that Michael Moore could have avoided the uncomfortable experience of dealing with the censorship of his book had he been enough of a political realist to support Al Gore in the 2000 elections. Instead, he and his friends in the Green Party supported Ralph Nader, and thus we have George Bush as our president. So now he publishes a book about Bush and makes money from his misguided politics. Isn't this the sort of thing Moore usually rails against?

-- Paula Robinson


Frankly, I deplore the fact that Moore's criticisms of the thief in the White House are apparently softened by satiric overtones. I hope that this story functions as the tip of a wedge. I hope it splits open the muddle-minded confusion between genuine patriotism and unquestioning acceptance of Bush's far right agenda.

-- Ian Jackson

Read "Our Favorite Books."

Bless Laura Miller for including Sebald in her list and for putting "Austerlitz" first. His unfortunate accidental death hit me hard. I felt that I had lost an old and treasured personal friend.

Miller does better than most critics in the impossible task of trying to convey the kind of reading experience one has with any Sebald text. I tell my friends, "Don't ask what he's 'about.' Just read him, wait a day or so, and then you tell me what he's 'about.' You'll fail, and no matter, because you will feel the effect of the experience for months."

Pity there are no Nobel prizes for posthumous writers. Sebald would head the list.

-- Gerald Trett

I read with my usual interest your list of best books and why, and found it to be pretty right on in general. I want to thank you for introducing me to Kelly Link, whose book I have now bought three or four times as a gift for erudite friends. Absolutely wonderful from the ground up.

However, I want to point out a gaping and terrible gap in your list of fiction. I, too, read "The Corrections" and thought it one of the top books of the year and easily the most successful satire -- exactly because it never settled on nasty and it never paused on loving. Then I read "The Savage Girl" by Alex Shakar and realized that nothing could compare. This novel, for its exposition of irony and postirony, the depths of the consumerist urge to purity and shame, its prediction of John Ashcroft as the ultimate terrorist ("Sometimes people are terrorists and don't even know it") and its constant, mordant hilarity make it easily the finest novel of the year and probably of the last five. Certainly I can't remember a better read in a while.

I have not searched your archives, but as far as I know you never reviewed it, and perhaps this explains its absence. I realize that the book-picking game is purely subjective in any case, but I can't help but feel that you guys missed the boat on this book.

-- Greg Gipson

I'd say "Kissing in Manhattan." Magical, musical, marvelous. Luminous. Heartbreaking and heartwarming.

-- Terry Higgins

By Letters to the Editor

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