My Mistake (Hardcover)
December 2013 Indie Next List
“Being a longtime reader of the New Yorker, I found Menaker's behind-the-scenes account of his career there absolutely riveting. The literary life is gutted and splayed for all to see. Menaker's professional story is interspersed with his personal life, and both fed his writing career. His years at Random House and HarperCollins are also included, with fascinating details about contemporary authors and how a book is created. This is a must-read for booksellers and serious readers.”
— Ellen Jarrett, Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA
A wry, witty, often tender memoir by a former "New Yorker" editor, magazine writer, and book publisher who offers great tales of a life in words Daniel Menaker started as a fact checker at "The New Yorker" in 1969. With luck, hard work, and the support of William Maxwell, he was eventually promoted to editor. Never beloved by William Shawn, he was advised early on to find a position elsewhere; he stayed for another twenty-four years. Now Menaker brings us a new view of life in that wonderfully strange place and beyond, throughout his more than forty years working to celebrate language and good writing. He tells us his own story, too with irrepressible style and honesty of a life spent persevering through often difficult, nearly always difficult-to-read, situations. Haunted by a self-doubt sharpened by his role in his brother's unexpected death, he offers wry, hilarious observations on publishing, child-rearing, parent-losing, and the writing life. But as time goes by, we witness something far beyond the incidental: a moving, thoughtful meditation on years well lived, well read, and well spent. Full of mistakes, perhaps. But full of effort, full of accomplishment, full of life.
About the Author
Daniel Menaker began his career as a fact checker at The New Yorker, where he became an editor and worked for twenty-six years. Formerly executive editor in chief of Random House, Menaker is the author of six books. He has also written for the New York Times, the Atlantic, Harper s Magazine, and many other publications. He lives in New York City with his wife, the writer Katherine Bouton.