Sunday, September 03, 2006

New York Times Best Sellers

On Sunday morning, I always read The Book Review first. Eventually, I get to the best seller lists, both hardcover and paperback. Sometimes, I run my numbers on them, because a) part of me is a geeky numbers person and b) it is like examining the chicken entrails to foretell the future of fiction.

What do we learn today?
The always interesting and forever changing male/female ratios.

The hardcover authors are equally divided with 8 female and 7 male. Zowie, the paperbacks are lopsided: 10 female and 5 male. Does this mean anything? Dunno. The paperbacks include the more prestigious, pricier "Trade Paperback," and there appear to be 5 Trade Paperbacks on the list this week. Three of the five male authors are represented by trade paperbacks.

More statistics: On the hardcover side of the house, protagonist-wise, 6 of the books appear to have couples as the protags, everything from "an aspiring actress and an FBI agent" to a young man and an elephant.
Males are the main characters in 6 if the books, and females in 4 and who knows about the fantasy? So we have some women authors careful to include a male as the 2nd main character.

Looking at the paperbacks, there are a few more "family" centered books, definite more tomes with the main character female, and interestingly enough, the following authors appear on both lists, no doubt humming a happy tune all the way to the bank, never mind how "dark" the fiction. Congratuate James Patterson and Andrew Gross, obviously a successful writing team, Sandra Brown, Nora Roberts and plucky Janet Evanovich. Wait! Don't forget Karin Slaughter, aptly named, from what I glean from the nasty murderers she likes to write about.

Books on both lists I am looking forward to reading:
Special Topics in Calamity Physics
Water for Elephants
Twelve Sharp
Pegasus Descending
The Kite Runner and
The Lincoln Lawyer.
Add The Alchemist

Last night, while waiting for the webcast of the bonfire at Burning Man, I was reading Mao II, an excellent book. I was about halfway thru when I realize that I'd read it before, but before 9/11. Go back and reread.


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