31 March 08 | E.J. Van Lanen | Comments

Episode 3 of Titlepage, “The Horror! The Horror!” is online now. It a non-fiction episode, and features David Hajdu, Mary Roach, Louis Masur, and David Gilmour.

19 March 08 | Chad W. Post | Comments

Sloane Crosley! Keith Gessen! All in the second episode of Titlepage.tv, which, I’ll admit, is a bit better than the first episode. If there’s going to be a roundtable format though, let the authors interact with each other. Or post four 10 minute interviews with each individual author—I might actually watch that.

Again, really too bad, high hopes, etc. Maybe next week will be even better . . .

4 March 08 | Chad W. Post | Comments [2]

We announced the first Titlepage.tv episode yesterday and then watched about 15 minutes before leaving it paused on a goofy Charles Bock grimace for the rest of the day.

That’s approximately 10 minutes, 33 seconds more than Jessa from Bookslut watched.

And Sarah Weinman has a list of ten ways to improve the show, including:

  • TV-friendly clothing for the authors. Yes, this is airing as a taped show on the Internet but TV rules still apply. Richard Price and orange do not mix. Charles Bock wearing a rock t-shirt is fine; Charles Bock wearing a rock t-shirt underneath a True Value shirt, not so much.
  • More fun. This is Titlepage’s biggest failing. Where was the humor? Richard Price is a funny guy but hardly any of his sense of humor came through. Charles Bock tried but he struggled to fit in. Choi and Harrison could have been more entertaining had they been given the chance. Menaker was so preoccupied with being serious that he missed opportunity after opportunity for memorable entertainment. Yes, it’s great to have authors talking about books but in order to rise way above the noise, that signal had better be really, really dynamic.

To my dying day I’m going to hold out hope that there could be a fun, engaging, intellectually stimulating, TV show about books. This may not be it, although here’s to hoping that Titlepage learns from its mistakes and blossoms over the next few episodes.

Here’s my prediction though: Lots of people will watch this and think—hell, it’s not that hard to put together an internet show that’s at least this good. A bunch of different programs will suddenly come into existence, a few of which are actually quite good. Around the time that we find out that one of these new ones is 10 times more popular than Titlepage there will be a big media backlash against these “amateur” programmers, dismissing internet programs as “not the real thing.” A divisive spat will ensue mimicing the whole bloggers vs. print thing, and readers will be back where they started with nothing worth watching.

3 March 08 | Chad W. Post | Comments

After a couple months of waiting, Titlepage.tv is finally here.

I haven’t had a chance to watch this yet—it’s just over an hour long—and I can’t say that I’m jumping up and down about any of the featured books/authors featured on this episode: Lush Life by Richard Price, The Finder by Colin Harrison, A Person of Interest by Susan Choi, and Beautiful Children by Charles Bock.

Still, I have hope that this could be a viable, interesting alternative to Book-TV. One that might actually cover—heaven forbid!—fiction, and possibly even books by authors not born in America . . .

30 January 08 | Chad W. Post | Comments

This sounds rather promising:

Daniel Menaker, former Random House executive editor and fiction editor at the New Yorker, will host a new online book show called Titlepage, the first of which appears on March 3 [. . .] Menaker will lead a group of authors in discussions that are modeled in part after Apostrophes, the popular French book discussion TV show, Charlie Rose and others. [via Shelf Awareness

I’ve ranted about this before, but a real, smart, good televised book program is one of the things this country is sorely missing. Menaker is brilliant, so I have high hopes for this . . . And hopefully he won’t have a prejudice against authors with an accent . . .

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