The National Book Critics Circle board met yesterday afternoon to vote for the winners in various categories, then announced at an event at the New School. Laurie Muchnick's write-up on the results appeared a little later at Bloomberg. I did the introduction while presenting Ron Charles with the Balakian Citation, and later had the honor (however melancholy) of giving a tribute to John Leonard.

There was a reception afterward, which I went to, for maybe a bit more than half an hour, before fleeing. They say that man is a social animal, but you can't prove that by me. 
As a regular member of NBCC, before joining the board, I never realized just how much work was involved in running the organization. This past year has been an education. I've tried mostly to keep my mouth shut and pay attention (on the principle that if you are talking you aren't learning anything) and hope I am now in a position to make more of a contribution over the rest of my term on the board.

One of the things you notice, in short order, is a small cohort (by no means entirely, or even largely, NBCC members) just waiting for any possible cue to begin whining in chorus, on cue, with all due speed.

Their song -- so urgent yet so very well-rehearsed -- possesses a certain frantic beauty: "We are concerned!" they tweet. "Terribly, terribly concerned! Offended! Oh, terribly offended! Attention must be paid! To us, in particular, for our concerns are so full of concernfulness!"

This stuff no longer even makes me tired, because I'm already tired. I suppose it counts as part of the education provided by this whole experience. Was I ever like these bottom-feeders? Amour propre says no, surely not. A knot in the stomach says...probably. It is a disgusting thought. 
March 13, 2009 7:51 AM | | Comments (0)


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