Monday, June 16, 2008

Why Is This A Best Seller?

By JB

(Sorry I missed my regular post - I needed Heather to remind me how to use the blog!)

Everyone has their own taste in books, but I will often purchase something from the "NYT Bestsellers" rack and find myself amazed that the book I just spent $25 on sold 3 billion copies and has been reprinted in fifteen languages.

Sure, part of that's envy. I'd like my books to be reprinted in say, three languages and sell a measly million copies but since they don't, I should just be happy for the authors kicking butt out there in this tight market. And trust me, I'm not going to bash anyone's book in this post. I don't need that kind of bad juju, but I just wanted to explore why certain fiction books get so hot so fast?

I recently purchased Twilight, the high-school vampire novel by Stephanie Meyers, which has swept the reading world by storm. I thought it was okay and could see why legions of young girls fell in love with the male vampire. I liked that Ms. Meyers avoided foul language and gore, offering a clean read for those teens. I did not like that the female protagonist seemed to have no identity without her boyfriend and found her a disappointing role model for girls struggling with the cruel worlds of Teenage-ville and Low Self Esteem-Berg.

I didn't love the Da Vinci Code or the latest by James Patterson and yet another writer, but I could certainly see their mass appeal. On the other hand, every line in the Kite Runner or The Alchemist or The Thirteenth Tale seemed worthy to me of the coveted bestseller list. Yet I have close friends that dislike all three of those books. Aren't varied tastes funny?

As we've talked about before on this blog - I am grateful for the variety of books and readers. But I'd also love to hear some examples from you. What are some bestsellers you've read but didn't agree with the hype and tell me a few made you wish they were still on that list so that every person would buy them and read them as you did?