So I’m having my own little Kanye West “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” moment over on the New York Times’ book blog.

As regular readers know, I am a regular, and frequently disgruntled, reader of the New York Times Book Review. I'll typically spend a part of each Saturday morning totting up the number of women who get reviewed, or who get to write reviews, muttering things like, “Three pages on the new Ian McEwan? That’s almost as long as the freakin’ book!” and “I can’t believe the only coverage The Thirteenth Tale is getting is a one-liner about how the author’s last name sounds like another author’s last name,” and “Three weeks without a piece by, or about, or even mentioning Gary Shteyngart? How can I go on?”

Things started on Tuesday TBR senior editor Dwight Garner posted a roundup of what other newspapers were reviewing: Michael Chabon, Woody Allen, your typical assortment of Living Dead White Men who the Times routinely covers to death and beyond, leavened with a review of Tina Brown’s take on the ten-years-dead Diana.

I posted a comment pointing out that it was interesting that the Times itself has reviewed all of those titles (in Chabon and Brown’s cases, twice), and wondered whether book review editors the world over got some kind of top-secret list as to which books to write about each week.

Garner replied and said that Book Review czar Sam Tanenhaus had addressed the question of who gets reviewed in the TBR during an email Q and A with readers

I responded that I’d read the Q and A, and that it didn’t answer my question: telling us the number of ‘previewers’ it takes to plow through the week’s advance copies and give their thumbs-up or thumbs-down doesn’t tell us much – or, really, anything -- about what goes into their decisions.

And some of those decisions are nothing less than mystifying.

There are entire genres that the Times’ editors ignore. They run round-ups of mystery and sci-fi and horror, but they never cover romance. On the infrequent occasions when they deign to notice chick lit, they only notice roman a clefs that take place in New York City and/or the publishing world, and typically feature a thinly-veiled but completely recognizable villainess (Anna Wintour, Judith Regan, Rosie O’Donnell).

Why no romance? Why only one kind of chick lit? Why review the new Michael Chabon in the daily paper, then again on Sunday? Why tell romance readers that they can get their fix elsewhere, while lavishing two reviews upon Tina Brown, whose book has already been excerpted in Vanity Fair, written up in Newsweek, and discussed on The Today Show and Good Morning America? Why review a memoir about anal sex, while refusing to even mention the vast majority of big bestsellers?

You can follow the thread here. Some of my questions got answered, and some, not so much. (I’m the one posting as ‘Jen.’ Yes, I am that creative). Then you can head over to Smart Bitches, Trashy Books as they answer the question, Where is the love?

I’m enjoying Garner's blog, and I appreciate his willingness to engage with not-entirely-satisfied readers.

But I would still be thrilled to see an editor pull back the curtain and spend a Monday morning going through Sunday’s Book Review, choosing examples to explain how books and reviewers got picked and paired.

Jen