Oh, the New York Times Best Seller List. Such a strange, bold, unapologetic categorization of what American readers are absorbing this week, like, right now. Justly segregating Fiction from Non-Fiction, Hardback from Trade from Mass Market Paperback! So concise, and yet so informative! The latest Mitch Rapp installation, he's fighting terrorism! Jon Stewart, he's the guy from the Daily Show! Fuck, he is the Daily Show! And he's written a book!
Which is why I'm a little confused. The New York Times Best Seller List is such a prominent part of the Book Review, with its own three-page spread, within which generally nestles the newest ad for Kindle. Why is it then, that no one will actually review the gems that make their way to the top of the list? Sure, it happens. Like, once every blue moon. So for the poor sap who opens up his Sunday edition to that page somewhere towards the end and sees that Lee Child has a new book, and man is it selling like, I don't know, sliced bread, God forbid Jonathan Lethem condescend to read it, let alone write 500 words on it.
That's where I think I should come in. I propose to give TBR a break and do their dirty work for them. I will read the tomes that reach the number one spot, and I will inform on and, if necessary, critique the work in question. I doubt I'll have much to complain about. Most of the works that make it up there should be pretty great, is my guess. Americans have good taste in literature, from what I've observed at every airport terminal in the country.
I've set up some rules and guidelines. They have been pretty well thought out. It took me all of fifteen minutes.
1. I will review the top item on the Fiction hard cover list unless
a) It's already been on the top spot and I have therefore already reviewed it.
b) It's part of a series. As they say, Fuck that shit.
2. If the item has been disqualified (see above), I move on to the top of the Non-Fiction list.
3. And so on and so forth.
Thus, for the week of October 31st, I read The Daily Show with Jon Stewart's "Earth (the Book)" because Vince Flynn's "American Assassin" is something like the ninth book in his Mitch Rapp series. Nine books! That's like nine years' worth of reading material for the average American!