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Little Old Lady Got Mutilated Late Last Night

Literary Novelist Turns to Vampires and Finds Pot of Gold

Justin Cronin at an annual book industry convention in New York last week.
Chad Batka for The New York Times — DOESN’T THIS LOOK LIKE A LOT OF FUN??

Published: June 1, 2010

Justin Cronin is the author of an epic, multimillion-dollar, 766-page novel that stars bloodthirsty creatures that run in packs and savagely kill people at night. And he’s planning to turn it into a trilogy.

Dearest darling readers of this blog: Take a moment to read the NYT article about Justin Cronin if you haven’t already. And then tell me, WTF, why isn’t that US? Why aren’t we buying our daughter a pony. Why didn’t we initiate a game “Let’s Plan a Novel Together?” (I actually play this with my daughter all the time but we’ve never gotten past the first few sentences.) Why didn’t we sell film rights to Scott Free Productions with John Logan writing? Why are we not Justin Cronin. And try as I might to hate him and his good fortune, he seems great. Kids, for the umpteenth time: a vampire novel! Please!

What I really want to know, though, is how do these articles make you feel? Hopeful? Inspired? August?

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.

State of the Union

Congratulations to Patti Smith. Just Kids hits the New York Times Bestseller List at #7

Front page New York Times Book Review to run this Sunday: “the most spellbinding and diverting portrait of funky-but-chic New York in the late ’60s and ’70s that any alumnus has committed to print. ..this enchanting book is a reminder that not all youthful vainglory is silly; sometimes it’s preparation. Few artists ever proved it like these two

Congratulations to Temple Grandin’s Animals Make Us Human hits the New York Times paperback bestseller list at #16.

HBO movie “Temple Grandin” airs on Saturday, February 6, 8 pm starring Claire Danes, Julia Ormond (exquisite), Catherine O’Hara and David Strathairn.

Congratulations to Dave Cullen on his Edgar Nomination in the non-fiction category for Columbine, and appearing on over 20 “Best of 2009” book lists.

This blog will return tomorrow to its regularly scheduled posting of mean-spirited, self-aggrandizing, attention mongering, publishing malcontentedness, and potty-mouthed bile to bring to those of us determined to write just a little less hope. But not today. Love, Betsy