>> i am the editor. >> you are the editor. okay. how do you describe the health of the publishing industry in great britain right now? >> i would say that it was awful but i don't know what anyone else said. >> why did you say that? >> because i think that the books are dumbed down to a certain extent and that is a shame. that is one side of it. the other side of it is everybody is very frightened and the authors paid their best sellers they were not paid very much money, so they have to have other jobs, which i think is not necessarily a bad thing that the
writers do not agree with me. so that's why i would say it's not so good. i think everyone is frightened about what would happen in the developing and other ways of doing things in the meetings and the book clubs. so everybody is being told creative writing and creative fiction and nonfiction, life right in, but it's been known to me very encouraging writers at the same time or encouraging people to write and at the same time not able to provide some rare for them to be published in. >> speaking of writished in. >> speaking of writers and british writers in particular, what is it about the british style that seems so concise and
well put together? >> is it how they are taught in school? >> i think maybe. it's how they talk in school. i don't really know. i mean i think -- the writers or at my you're a great deal. i think a lot of it comes -- what is good about the english riding and the british writing is the arguments are developed slowly. people aren't scared of using complicated constructions and long words. i don't know if that is where i would see the paper, but then it's not so the clarity is more reticent way of writing and more
ironic. maybe the irony is the crucial thing. i don't know. what do you think? >> how many books do you review in the london review of books? >> we reviewed about 13 pieces in each issue and about three-quarters of them in the 24 year. >> how do you pick who gets reviewed? >> apart from obviously some people who always get reviewed but you're not going to miss the novel, but how do we pick?
the books that are not self-evident, we look at them and it looks as if they are put together interestingly. >> how often do you review nonfiction? >> a lot. there are rarely more than the tune of zero reviews in an issue. >> is it political? >> yes. >> in what way? >> on the left. it's critical. its most pieces are published correctly not so much in dissenting. so we are not affiliated to a
party we don't support we might be more sympathetic to them, but we are not attached to them. we publish quite a bit on foreign policy, foreign issues on the arab spgn issues on the arab spurring about israel and palestine. >> we are in the world. >> what is your connection, professional connection to martin, and hillary? >> we don't have much connection he is not written for us for quite a long time. most of her memoir was published originally in our paper and now
we feel we are very fond of her and admire her a lot. we think she's a wonderful writer. a friend of the paper writes quite a lot and blogs as much as anything. but i don't know, they have a stable of writers, and to extend another but there are many more. frank was the main writer for many years. it was the founding of the paper comes from an article that he
wrote in some of 1979. in fact all three papers and he was the one who said nothing happened here. so when he was the main critic for many years and he died last year. so we have a stable of writers but we have quite a few american writers and american editors on the paper who have worked on other magazines. >> and you are an american? >> not technically that i was born there, yes. >> what is your background? >> well my father was british and my mother was born in poland
and comes from that stand as it were. >> and you were born in chicago. >> than my parents moved to the east coast and moved to brussels where i went to school in belgium for five years and then i can to boarding school in england and stayed here. >> are you a writer? >> i write reviews for the paper sometimes rather slowly. i wrote a book about my mother's family and that is what the book is called about the fact that one of them was quite prominent in the kgb and did a lot of
nefarious things responsible for organizing the death. she was quite a distant relative. the closer relative worked and was integrated to palestine and he was one of the original that he gave his closest associates and he also worked for the soviets and was a rather mysterious figure. and then there was another who was my mother's on goal who also helped the soviets and someone recently said the evidence in
new york during those d new york during those days. i'm not a historian or a scholar and there was an article in the book but it tells the story of those three men and what is known and what isn't. >> how long did you work on that book? >> for ever. it started when they are still at the paper and then it stopped for a while, then it started again. >> do you have another one in your head right now? >> no, i really enjoy writing about women more than men. i like the idea of difficult one
and also i resent the fact because i think that quite a number of men are quite difficult and most that made their name had been difficult. but i like the fact that they thwart themselves and are interested in how they fought their endeavors and become how they like themselves and don't like themselves and that sort of thing. i think it is quite interesting tsl leggitt's first wife. >> who is she? >> there was a play about her.
she was mad and although they gave her a difficult time and she gave him a very difficult time, too. i would say sometimes to the historians about her one story is he stood up side in the places he went to give lectures and said this is the life he abandoned and i particularly liked this and i thought i was very good. i have to say to get back to the review that i like sentences a lot and we are quite careful with the sentences we publish, quite scrupulous editors more perhaps in the american mold.
i think that on the whole you won't find many poor sentences in the papers. there are some pieces obviously that are better than others. >> we read on line and a review of you that said you do not like to waste words. >> is that right? >> is there some truth to that? >> i expect so. i have a great difficulty when it is longer than two lines. it is a problem. it is an elaboration. if he just doesn't come to me. that doesn't mean -- i like long pieces. it's called long form journalism
i like that. i find these reviews and the papers disconcerting and not very enjoyable and i like the ones that we publish. >> in the current edition of the review of books there is a review of a justin bieber book. why? >> well, you know because we have this sense of what is going on in the world, too and was quite fun. it is a nice piece and why not? not everything has to be deep, but it is done after all. >> weigel we have been in london
we heard the name faber quite a bit. what is that? >> faber is a very distinguished publishing house that was started -- amana why do you hear it now? >> we don't have faber in the states. >> no, you have strauss. >> are they related? >> at some point i think they were. they had a former connection at some point that i don't know. but they've changed somewhat over the years. when i worked there i especially liked it because i was offered a job somewhere else and i said
you publish so many bad books and someone i knew would think they were. you published any bad books and he said i never tell my wife and children. i never tell anyone, not even my wife and children but i really think of a book and i felt i'm not working for you. i am staying at faber where we can say what we think of a book. but they have a wonderful record they publish most -- they spend their evenings and elliott and a pound. >> so it is a british publishing house. >> what about another one they don't have in the state's is widenfeld and nicholson.
>> the founder of that while it was found by two people who have a sense of fun and nicholson who is still alive and to the extent that i know running in the publishing house. i really don't know to what extent. >> how important is the u.s. market to the british authors? >> it is tremendously important. and it is for us, too. we had a circulation of 60,000, which have sometimes goes to show it is more than the new statesman combined. i think something that is very roughly 25 between the u.k. and
the states and the other ten. this is really rough. obviously the states are very important to us and we like to feel that we are addressing americans as much and in fact often more. >> mary kay wilmers in your view who are some of the top british authors people should read? >> hillary mattell. >> she has written wolfe's lawyer and then the second part -- >> this call will fall. thank you. >> and she is writing a third volume now, and apart from that
there was clear tomlin, any number -- martin, -- >> who are you reading right now? >> i'm reading a biography i just happened to have picked up in the office and it's a very amusing because if -- she is so opinionated about her father-in-law and it just reminds you of how the biographies were written 50 years ago when we gave his view a great deal of describing the character and telling of their
lives and now you get a bunch more distance. lee is another writer. >> who has also been on the london series. we've talked with her. in fact several of the authors we've talked to have either written or talked about charles dickens. >> because the anniversary. >> his importance to english literature and lives. do you agree? >> yes, i do. >> if you could list one or two -- >> yes, that would keep me happy for quite awhile. it is wonderfully imaginative and funny.
he's the most fantastic writer and then your pollution a piece about him and it's just spellbinding the way that he can marshall what sentences and the things he describes and how people spend phineas the combust. it's wonderfully imaginative without looking for the effect faugh, trying to hard. >> we have heard in the series about the bloomsbury group. what is that and what does that mean today? is there another bloomsbury group? >> no. what it means is virginia wilson, her family mainly. we just had a peace about julian
bell who was killed in spain. they were a certain kind of -- they had connections with pierce eliot. virginia woolf described him as wearing a for peace suit -- four-piece suit. they were a certain strand of upper middle clash english riding and a lot of writing before the upper middle class. i no longer think of britain has been completely written. it certainly was to an extent. and that it means to be the means virginia woolf writing as a way of this ironic way of looking at the world and also the paintings of the battle.
two of virginia woolf -- whatever the collective for that is, writing or design for the paper, the cover of the current is then a zabel's granddaughter, great granddaughter and moved a right or previews for us regularly. so this continues. >> finally, mary kay wilmers, is there an american author that is one of your favorites, a contemporary american author? >> philip roth, elizabeth [inaudible]
who is contemporary -- yes, i like american writers very much, absolutely. >> we've been talking with mary-kay wilmers, the editor of books which is online. thank you for being on booktv. >> thank you. >> what are you reading this summer? book tv wants to know. >> right now i'm reading where do you go bernadette malae maria. it's told in the form of largely e-mails as a doctor tries to piece together clues about why her mother disappeared. the mother is quite a contract
and the story is set in seattle with some interesting characters it's a lot of fun. i don't know where it's going but i'm looking forward to finishing it. after that i'm going to be doing something of a book club with my son who is 16. this is something we did a couple summers ago. we took a couple books and we read them and then we would go to a local diner to discuss them and have breakfast and this summer we picked to books so far. we are reading a biography of bruce springsteen which said the fund. we are interested in learning a little bit more about his background in new jersey and how he got to be who he is and we are also going to read dan brown's inferno.