My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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protesting the NYT Book Review on behalf of Leonard Cohen

You know I am a kind and serene person. But on Monday I wrote an angry note to the editor of the NYT Book Review, Pamela Paul. They recently printed an appallingly personal and mean-spirited review of a posthumous collection by Leonard Cohen. My note to her:

I’m sending this protest as a Canadian, but also as a music lover, a poetry lover, a writer, and a decades-long reader of the NYT Book Review. 
I’ve rarely read a review that made me as angry as the one by William Logan of a posthumous collection of the work of Leonard Cohen. It was vicious, and it was unforgivable. 
I have not read the book in question, and it may be that this posthumous collection of scribblings is weak. But Logan makes a point of denigrating every facet of the man’s talent. Most of Leonard Cohen’s songs are glorious, musically and lyrically. He was a superb performer; his concerts were unforgettable, magical. He was generous and wise. It’s no wonder women adored him, which also is something Logan holds against him. 
I’m surprised you would assign this book to a critic known to be petty and vindictive. But perhaps that was the point? 
Today she sent a nice note in reply: 
Beth, thank you for feedback, even if critical. I will pass along your note to the editor who handled this assignment. Know that you are not alone in your happiness with Logan’s review.

Now that’s impressive!

You know I’m a good-natured and generous writer. God forbid I say something negative about another writer or her work. Except for this: I heard about a novel published this year called “She Loves You Yeah Yeah Yeah,” about a girl’s obsession with the Beatles, specifically Macca, in 1966. So, since this sounds a teeny tiny bit like a certain memoir I know and love, I got it out of the library.

I submitted my memoir “All My Loving: Coming of age with Paul McCartney in Paris” (which is not specifically YA, perhaps to its detriment) to several small publishers and was turned down. This YA novel was published by Penguin Young Readers Group. Penguin! And I have to say, I hated it. Well, I guess I would, wouldn’t I? Is it just jealousy? The narrator is annoyingly blinkered, limited, whiny, and the whole scene about American high school and BFFs and cheerleaders and the laboured setup and the denouement – she and her friends meet George Harrison and Paul McCartney outside the hotel where the Beatles are staying in Boston after a concert – oh sure. Paul signs a picture for her that urges her distant father to cherish her. Oh sure.

Okay, yes, I’m jealous. Penguin. My memoir I think is more real and more gritty and more immediate and a hell of a lot funnier, plus you get to go to Paris! It was published by BPS Books, partly paid for by one Beth Kaplan.


Moving right along.

The usual chaos here. The electricians still have not finished, a week after they were supposed to be done. Kevin wants to get to drywall today but all kinds of other things are in the way.

Kevin in my bedroom

The spare bedroom

I am at the moment in the sun in my office, though my desk is covered with dropcloths and dust and soon I will be pushed out. But all this is not making me sick, as it did in December. I’m listening to Bach through my headphones. I’m sitting in the sun. I finished an essay yesterday. May you live in interesting times. Onward.



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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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