Thursday, January 12, 2006

What's hot in books

I ambled over to Amazon for something and stayed to check out the hot 100. A few observations:

The scuttlebutt over the accuracy of James Frey's A Million Little Pieces hasn't hurt sales. Not only is the paperback version #1 at this writing, but the hardback is #29, and another of his books, My Friend Leonard, is #4. There's apparently no such thing as bad publicity.

Does anyone know why Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickle and Dimed is hot again? I read it years ago. Right now its paperback version is #68.

Another book that seems to be perennial is Erik Larson's The Devil in the White City, currently #98--no, wait: it's up to #97. I sometimes suspect that it will pop in and out of the hot 100, reminding me of its existence until I break down and read it.

"Brokeback Mountain" appears in two forms: Brokeback Mountain: Story to Screenplay at #31, and Close Range: Wyoming Stories, the Proulx anthology that contains the story, is at #74. It appears there is so a market for a story about gay cowboys.

Liberal feminists--no, sorry: that's radical feminists--are demonized at #41 in Kate O'Beirne's Women Who Make the World Worse : and How Their Radical Feminist Assault Is Ruining Our Schools, Families, Military, and Sports. Now there's an original idea: demonizing feminists.

And finally, the book I would buy if I had a little coin, Misquoting Jesus: the Story behind Who Changed the Bible and Why by Bart D. Ehrman, PhD., Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at UNC Chapel Hill, currently weighing in at #76. The fact that the Bible we know today is not merely a "pure" translation of original texts has interested me since back when I researched Tolstoy (one interesting dude), and discovered that his distrust of the Russian Orthodox church was so intense that he taught himself languages --I believe Hebrew and maybe Latin--so he could go behind the church's translations and read the earlier texts for himself. He found the Russian Orthodox versions to be highly revised, not just translated, versions of the ancient texts. Dr. Ehrman apparently continues that conversation with his book.


Madame X said...

Just saw the question about why Nickel & Dimed is hot again-- did you know she has a new book out? It's called Bait & Switch. It's about her trying to get a job in teh corporate world. It's not as good as N&D, but there is some great stuff, she really skewers some of these wacky "life coach" type people.

Bitty said...

Actually, I did know that but had forgotten. Interesting that the new book is not on the hot list, but N&D is. (Perhaps people are offering negative commentary: B&S is not so good, but you ought to read N&D.)