Friday, December 28, 2007

Thoughts on Review Material

Sometimes I Feel Like the Gentleman in the Picture.

This morning, I was reading the New York Times Book Review, November 27, 2007 issue. There was nothing in it which I wanted to read. I often find bestselling books banal and formulaic. I'm finding it is often better to talk to other people about what they are reading than rely purely on review sources. Some of the patrons will mention a book before it is listed in the New York Times Book Review.

I also took time to read the Locus Bestseller List, which had a lot of books by J.K Rowling, Mike Chabon, and of course I am Legend on it by Richard Matheson. Books which have movies about them tend to hit the top of the charts. After looking at SF Site as well and seeing nothing of interest I was a bit disappointed.

I am now looking through the links of different current bestseller lists on my libraries home page. Publishers Weekly, New York Times Fiction and Nonfiction, New York Times Business. Sometimes the New York Times Business bestsellers are so ridiculous they can be funny. I have a hard time taking books like Think Big and Kick Ass by Donald Trump or The Four Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferris very seriously. These books seem to be more about wish fulfillment than anything else. But, people love to fulfill their wishes. Having big dreams leads to bigger realities if you plan right.

Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army by Jeremy Scahill looks interesting. However, I am not sure that it is exactly a business book... Alan Greenspan, The Age of Turbulence is the #1 book on the New York Times Business bestsellers.

I just put Blackwater on hold for myself. Anyways, we keep a copy of the New York Times Bestseller list at the front checkout desk. Most libraries make photocopies of this and keep it at hand. It is good if you are a librarian or bookseller to read the bestseller lists at the beginning of every week to get a sense of what people are reading. As you do this over the years, it will get to point where you will be able to spot a potential bestselling book before it is put on the bestseller lists.

I was looking at the Publishers Weekly Nonfiction bestseller list, they had something which looks like it should be on the New York Times Business Bestseller list, Jim Cramer's Stay Mad For Life: Get Rich, Stay Rich (Make Your Kids Even Richer) by James J. Cramer and Cliff Mason. In some ways, I am not a big fan of Cramer. But, I think occassionally he has something useful to say, even if I don't agree with him a lot of the time. There is of course a lot of overlap between the New York Times Bestseller List and the Publishers Weekly Bestseller List.

Now, I am looking at the Booksense Bestseller List, which is the bestseller list of the ABA-- American Booksellers Association. It is a list of independent bookstore bestsellers. This is a surprisingly useful list for librarians. It is far more literary than the New York Times Bestseller list. Once again, a book which has a movie based on it, No Country For Old Men is doing well. Also the nonfiction titles, I find much more interesting than the New York Times Bestseller List.

Sometimes, you find things which look like they should be on the New York Times Bestseller list on the Booksense Bestseller List like Sue Grafton's T is for Trespass. Please do take a look at this if you are a librarian.

Anyways, this is my thought for the day.
Etta Rose put in a recommendation for my site. The least I can do is thank for her it. I appreciate it.


Anonymous said...

I love to read! It is the one thing that will take you away from your problems, if only for a little while. I do not usually read a best seller unless I can get it on sale. I have some good friends I share my books with and they send theirs my way. I especially like, Sue Grafton, Dean Koonz,Ann Rule, Ann Rice, Lawrence Sanders,James Patterson,John Saul,Patricia Cornwell, Tammi Hoag and most enjoyed by me is James M. Cain. Thank you for the Librarians of the world, one of whom was my best friend growing up.

Unknown said...

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Nezha said...

Hey Book Calendar. I love books too though i admit i do tend to go for the best seller list. I figure at least their quality is guaranteed though that may not be right on my part. I HATE Donald Trump and i hate that people like him sell empty dreams to people. I mean yeah you have a chance of making it by following his advice and planning right but it's a 1 in a 100 chance. What happens to all the rest of us? Though i guess ur right we all need our dreams:):)

Book Calendar said...

Donald Trump inherited a large portion of his money. I think he is looking for fame more than money.

Bestseller lists are interesting. I'm not so sure they are about quality, but definitely sales.

Unknown said...

I also cannot stand the D. He is rich I give him that but how much he did on his own is another story.The only fame I see attachedto him is that ridiculous hairdo of his.