The New York Times Best Seller List is a Bunch of Meh…
I keep searching the descriptions of The New York Times Best Seller List of Hardback Fiction and all I get is a feeling of “Meh.”
The one exception right now is Amor Towles’ A Gentleman in Moscow, which I genuinely enjoyed. It’s been on the list thirty-nine weeks. Nothing else is close to that achievement at this point.
The rest of what’s on the list is meant to have it’s three-weeks of fame and then end up on the shelves of Half Priced Books or a discount end-cap at Barnes and Noble for $5.95 so they can make way for something else.
Where are the books worth reading?
Sandra Brown is number one on the list with Seeing Red. A TV journalist and former federal agent join forces to expose a web of conspiracy behind a hotel bombing in Dallas. The comments say the gratuitous sex scenes are just that, and take away from the action. Yawn.
The Store is number two and a book with James Patterson’s name on it, and Richard DiLallo. So the second guy wrote it using characters created by Patterson. Two New York writers go undercover to expose the secrets of a powerful retailer. Wow, that will be read some day right after a person finishes Hamlet.
Camino Island is a John Grisham title. It’s been on the list for 11 weeks. A search for stolen rare manuscripts leads to a Florida island.
The Late Show by Michael Connelly, Renée Ballard, a young detective with LAPD investigates crimes against two women. Five weeks on the list.
Any Dream Will Do. As Shay Benson begins her life anew, building a relationship with Pastor Drew Douglas, her brother’s return threatens to undo it. A Debbie Macomber book. I think she’s the one who did that Christmas book I barfed through in December.
That’s the top five. People are buying this stuff. They’re reading it. They’re spending money. So there’s not much room to talk. That’s what people want.
But where is it leading?
It’s mindless writing as much as it is mindless reading. It goes nowhere. Is that where we are as a society? That we churn out books that have little to say that are just meant to deprive us of the time we live in for 300 pages or so because that’s what we need most? We don’t care if it actually has any meaning, it just gets us away for now. Is that the essence of the formula for success today?