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    Bridge Ladies Sometimes I think a meteor could strike the earth and wipe out mankind with the exception of my mother’s Bridge club — Roz, Bea, Bette, Rhoda, and Jackie — five Jewish octogenarians who continue to gather for lunch and Bridge on Mondays as they have for over fifty years. When I set out to learn about the women behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, and most of all the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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This Will Be the Day That I Die

It’s my favorite time of the year (after Oscars and my birthday): Publisher’s Weekly 2009 sales ranking issue. For me, it’s like reading the racing form at OTB, though I’ve never actually been to an OTB or seen a racing form. I study the list and invariably my eyes widen when I see a title sell far better or worse than I thought. This year,  the #1 non-fiction book is Sarah Palin’s Going Rogue at 2,674,684 copies. The #1 fiction, duh, is Dan Brown at over 5 million. This year the list was pretty predictable, all the usual suspects, no wild cards like last year’s What’s Your Poo Telling You.

Still, some titles that seem worthy of a shout: Love and Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect he Desperately Needs sold 189,412 copies. Call me crazy but I think it’s the other way around. I’ve never gotten up close to a man and didn’t see the big secret right before my eyes. Of course, High on Arrival by Mackenzie Phillips at 171,070 copies is a testament to the sturdy category of celebrity dysfunction. It’s good to know you can count on some things in an uncertain world. I also like the title, The Noticer: All a Person Needs is a Little Perspective at 151,752 copies. Sequel anyone: The Insipider. The Lamer. The Doucher.

The first literary title with some muscular numbers goes to Cormac’s The Road at 605,322. Go Cormac, it’s your birthday.

A revelation to me is a series of books that all have my favorite word in the title: dead.

Definitely Dead: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel (730,013)

Dead as a Doornail: a Sookie Stackhouse Novel (728,144)

All Together Dead: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel (655,046)

Living Dead in Dallas: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel (557, 282)

The author is Charlaine Harris and I officially worship her and Sookie Stackhouse.

Lots of Zombification on the list: Zombie War, Zombie Survival Guide, Pride and Predge and Zombies.

Favorite celeb title: Are You There Vodka, It’s Me Chelsea. And Stori Telling by Tori Spelling. They should palm the editorial assistant who came up with that. Seriously.

Quietest book to sell a boat load: Home by Marilyn Robinson (140,000).

And the book I’m reading and loving right now: Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann (122,757) I think it won the National Book Award.

That’s all she wrote. Have a good weekend. Buy a book.

15 Responses

  1. I’m reading Let the Great World Spin at the moment too. It’s fantastic.

  2. My wife’s reading Let the Great World Spin. It was loaned to her by a friend, perhaps one of the 122,757 who bought the book. Unless it was purchased used, in which case the author gets nothing? Which if true is why I usually always buy new books not used books. Unless of course the author’s been dead many decades or a couple centuries. Then I figure buying the book used is ok. I don’t think my wife will finish the McCann book. I can tell… She has that ambivalent look about her when I see her reaching for it…

  3. Oh… forgot to say, 2,674,684!!!??? I’ve spent the last two hours watching people get mauled by wild animals on the late night offerings of Animal Planet. I assumed my restless dreams tonight, after briefly looking in on Betsy’s blog, would be filled with a lion sinking it’s three-inch teeth into my calves then my hamstrings and finally my neck. But instead I’ll be tormented by an insufferable idiot counting her millions.

  4. Love And Respect did not deserve to sell as many copies as it did. I read it as part of a book review program and was profoundly unimpressed by how it says, basically, “Women need love, and men need love too, but women also need to give men respect.” Nowhere in the book does the author even hint that *women* need to be respected or that the entire burden of the marriage shouldn’t be set firmly on the shoulders of the woman. Nor, after an entire chapter of explaining how both sexes define the same words differently, does he ever define the term “respect.”

    There are so many other good marriage books out there — why did *that* one get popular acclaim?

  5. Chelsea Handler’s title is one of my all-time favorites. Thanks for the reminder.

  6. In order to appreciate it, I need to go on believing Chelsea Handler came up with that title. Thank you.

  7. Heading out to B&N this weekend (alas, no indies left in Toledo) to buy five books for my upcoming vacation. The suitcase would be much lighter if I’d break down and buy the damn Kindle already.

    Let the Great World Spin is on my list. Am passing on Sarah Palin.

  8. Books I’m reading.

    Just Kids in hard copy from the library
    You are not a gadget in hard copy from the library
    Let the great world spin on my Kindle

  9. Speaking of Colum McCann, I met him a couple of years ago and can I just say-with all due respect to his literary prowess of course- OMFG such a dreamboat. Why his hottness isn’t discussed more often, I will never understand.

  10. Books I just bought:

    One D.O.A., One On The Way by Mary Robison
    Don’t Cry by Mary Gaitskill
    The Ask by Sam Lipsyte
    Everything Here Is The Best Thing Ever by Joshua Somebody
    Reality Hunger by David Shields
    And another book I won’t out here, a “novel” that’s getting a lot of indie heat, that I hated so passionately I thought about throwing it in the trash. I sent it on to a starving hipster somewhere in Canada instead, so at least it’s out of the country.

  11. The Morning News Tournament recently had a post wherein the author invited readers to list the last 5 books they had read, promising to give them a recommendation of what to read next. The offer is off the table now, but a lot of people responded – the list gives an interesting sense of what people are reading (what people who followed the Tournament of Books are reading, anyway) and introduced me to a lot of contemporary titles I didn’t recognize but am curious to check out.

    http://www.themorningnews.org/tob/wolf-hall-v-the-anthologist-commentary.php

  12. thanks for such a depressing post. what a fuckin’ cultural wasteland we live in.

  13. i am enthralled with Let the great World Spin by Colum Mcmann.inventive hopelessly flawed and endearing characters who slip in some great wisdom without the reader noticing . a great discovery full of surprises and great hookers

  14. Love the TV series they made out of the Charlaine Harris books. I’ve been meaning to start reading them for a while, but, as always, things interrupt. If anyone else is into the vampire/zombie/undead whatevers thing, there’s a book by Charlie Huston called “Already Dead.” It’s a kind of detective-mystery novel that I really liked; not so much the romantic stuff, but still good. Thanks for a great post–it made me laugh. 🙂

  15. oh, i missed this issue. thanks.

    and just barely making the list, at #85 in nonfiction, a few behind Lance Armstrong’s “Comeback 2.0,” and a few ahead of “The Lost City of Z,” which is currently dwarfing me on the paperback list . . .

    Columbine. Dave Cullen. Grand Central (106,193).

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