Critical Mass

Steve Weinberg to Teresa Budasi of the Chicago Sun Times: “Hang in there…”


On the last day of 2007, my postal carrier delivered an envelope from Teresa Budasi, book section editor at the Chicago Sun-Times.  Teresa had enclosed the Sunday, Dec. 23 book pages, with a sticky note containing three handwritten words: “Last big section.”

Earlier in the year, Teresa had informed me and her other freelance reviewers that the book section would be reduced in size and scope.  What a shame, because the “big section” contained so much wonderful material every Sunday.

Here is what greeted readers on Dec. 23, on five broadsheet pages:

*Brief accounts by dozens of Sun-Times reviewers of the best books they read during the year.

*Stand-alone reviews of six disparate books

*A question and answer column with an author

*A feature about holiday books for children

*A do-it-yourself column about self-publishing

*Budasi’s story about a book-related board game

*Budasi’s column, with a Dr. Seuss theme, about the section’s downsizing.  The headline said “How the Grinch Stole the Books Section.”

Hang in there, Teresa.  Please.

NBCC board member Steve Weinberg
Note: Steve Weinberg is the author of the invaluable and annually updated “Publishing Your Writing about Books and Authors: The National Book Critics Circle Guide to Freelancing,” which is available to NBCC members only. His book “Taking on the Trust: The Epic Battle of Ida Tarbell and John D. Rockefeller,” is due out in March 2008.