Curse of the Bestsellers

I love Entertainment Weekly. I even subscribe to it.  But I’ve noticed something disturbing lately, and I want to explain myself.

Entertainment Weekly covers the Big Four of entertainment: Movies, TV, Music and Books.  I love movies and TV. And if you’ve read any of this blog before, you know I love books.  (I love music too, but I don’t really follow the music industry. I just don’t have time for everything, you know?)  As far as “popular” entertainment magazines go, EW has a fantastic book review staff.  I am always eager to see what the hot books are for the week. But as I am a pretty busy person, I usually get around to reading my EW about a week after it comes out, and by that time, it’s too late.

You see, many of my “Read Me!” selections seem to wind up on EW‘s list as well.  And I want to set the record straight: I am not culling my list of recommended books from EW.  Coincidentally, I happen to have the same sensibility about books that their book review editors have.  For example, in the latest issue, the one pictured here, they mention not one, not two, but three books that have appeared, or will appear, on this blog.  Jeffrey Eugenides’ The Marriage Plot was my recommendation this week. I recently listed Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor as “Currently Reading.”  And much to my chagrin, my pick for next week also appears here: Zone One by Colson Whitehead.  Colson Whitehead isn’t even a bestselling author, and yet here he is, getting the number two spot in “Books” for the week of October 14th.  I’m baffled. I’m pissed. I’ve known about Zone One for months!  EW is scooping me.

Go back a week to the previous issue and you’ll see the “main pick” of the week is The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman.  Need I remind you that I recommended The Dovekeepers last week?  And last month I reviewed The Night Circus, which, yes, appeared larger than life in a recent edition of EW.

So what does this tell us about Tammy, you ask?  Is she hung up on bestsellers?  Is she going for the popular book pick?  The answer is a resounding “NO!”  My goal when I started this blog was to expose readers to books and authors that I love.  To introduce you to writers you may never have heard of before.  To share magical reading moments with you.  If some of the books I love turn out to be bestsellers, well, there’s not much I can do about that. Although the word “bestseller” leaves a nasty taste in my mouth, I can’t help but be pleased when good writers who write good books get the credit they deserve.

So if you’ve never heard of Colson Whitehead, chances are you soon will.  And not because Entertainment Weekly has featured his new book, but because you, loyal reader, will read about him here. Next week. Stay tuned.

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Posted October 12, 2011 by Tammy in Ruminations / 1 Comment


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