July 7, 2012

Bestsellers.

Here'sa list of the bestselling books at Amazon. I know women are reading "Fifty Shades of Grey," but I'm amazed to see that the top 4 bestselling books are "Fifty Shades of Grey." It's a trilogy, so that makes 3. The 4th one is a boxed set of the 3.

There's an incredible amount of junk in the top 100 books, but for some reason #17 is "The Great Gatsby." Oh, I know the reason. It's a new movie. Here's the trailer. It looks awful, with horrible acting. But then I think it's like "Moulin Rouge," which can seem bad if you look at it the wrong way, and this new "Gatsby" is in fact directed by the same person, Baz Luhrmann. And now I see that Leonardo DiCaprio plays the role of Gatsby. So the book is moving. Googling, I turn up this article in The Daily News:
Now, we haven't read "The Great Gatsby" around here (hadn't even heard of it, in fact, until we learned of the movie). But from these stills, and the trailer, we've deduced that it is the story of some dapper hipsters with a serious retro aesthetic who open an artisanal distillery somewhere on Long Island. Also, they seem to inexplicably like disco.
Anyway, what are you reading today... in book form?

ADDED: "Even the opening line of her novel—'I scowl with frustration at myself in the mirror'—has at least two too many words." Yeah, you criticize, but you just wrote "two too."

73 comments:

Pete said...

If I read a book (series) like Fifty Shades, I'm a creep. If women read it, it's cute.

Did they correct the misspelling of one of the Times Square signs in the Gatsby preview? It looks awful and overwrought.

Paddy O said...

For fun reading, I started the Richard Sharpe series of books earlier this week, now about halfway through (I read at lunch and bedtime). I'm a huge fan of the Patrick O'Brien books, and thought it would be worthwhile to see what's happening on land during that era. So far, it's quite enjoyable reading.

I got a 4 book set of Game of Thrones a month ago, but only got about halfway through the first book before I found myself finding other things to read instead. It's interesting, but I suspect it has the Dune effect for me. Too detailed and history-like to be fun reading. I spend much of my day reading dense academic books, so for fun I don't want to study a fictional history.

On the nonfiction side, I just got a collection of essays by Abraham Heschel and am halfway through Limping but Blessed by Ton van Prooijen (hooray for interlibrary loan).

Astro said...

'Firebird', the latest book in the Alex Benedict sci-fi series by Jack McDevitt.

Next week I'll be reading 'The Tempest', by some guy named Shakespeare. I hear it's loosely based on the classic sci-fi movie 'Forbidden Planet'.

Bob said...

I'm re-reading Ellis Peters' "Brother Cadfael" mysteries, currently on The Raven In the Foregate. These aren't available for Kindle yet, unfortunately.

traditionalguy said...

Not being a fetishist of bad writing, I liked the original Gatsby for the same reasons that I liked my downloaded book of the week on audiobooks. They both speak with a sincerity of a writer who has had a profound experience that he wants to relate in truth just as it happened. That kind of writing respects the reader as a man.

It is With The Old Breed At Pelelieu and Okinawa by Eugene Sledge which is now out on audiobooks. Sledge is a genuine teller of a story of realities of life that is far more interesting and dramatic than the darkest fantasies of superficial perverts.

It appears that the latest film calling itself The Great Gatsby has only hijacked the original Gatsby into today's fantasies of superficial perverts, implying that is what the director thinks his readers/viewers are.

glenn said...

The quote from the Daily News has to be satire, please tell me it's satire. Somebody gets paid to write and they never read "Gatsby"

Ben G. said...

It depends on which room I'm in. In the living room i've got Pfanz's _Gettysburg: Culp's Hill and Cemetery Hill_ (I read through his works during the first week in July). In the TV room I'm now going through _The Making of the English Middle Class: Business, Society and Family in London 1660-1730_ by Peter Earle which I read while the wife watches HGTV, and _Game of Thrones_ before bed, as we are both going through the series. I've got Frasier's Cromwell biography in my car, and some Flashman books in my wife's, so I'll have something for traffic jams and going to the cabin.

Shanna said...

And now I see that Leonardo DiCaprio plays the role of Gatsby.

Really? I wonder if it will be any good. I didn't really like the book in high school.

My cousin just sent me the 50 shades books on kindle...the first paragraph was not impressive.

Shanna said...
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Richard Dolan said...

"Anyway what are you reading today ... in book form."

I thought you'd never ask, and can't imagine why it matters now. All part of the pyschodynamics of judging, or something like that, I suppose.

But, anyway (nice word), this morning I was reading Alice Munro's stories in Too Much Happiness. She's big on psychodynamics too.

Thanks for asking.

shake-and-bake said...

Just finished Infinite Jest. I feel like I climbed a mountain. Moving on to The Republic of Pirates.

LarryK said...

Just started "The Tiger's Wife," which so far is living up to it's rave reviews.

Surfed said...

Re-reading the Patrick O'Brian Aubrey/Maturin series. New York Times Review of of Books - "The Best historical novels ever written." And I might add the most erudite.

Pogo said...

Poor Baby: A Child of the 60's Looks Back on Abortion [Kindle only, short book/essay, $2.99]

By Heather King, an "ex-lawyer and former drunk", atheist-turned-Catholic.

Moving, funny, brief.

chickelit said...

Anyway, what are you reading today... in book form?

"Driftless" by David Rhodes and also picking through "Black-Body Theory and the Quantum Discontinuity, 1894-1912" by Thomas Kuhn.

Goju said...

Adin Steinsaltz's The Thirteen Petalled Rose and a collection of essays "Wild Earth".

Also watching original Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons on Netflix.

Astro said...

I assumed the Daily News comment was facetious.

Surfed - I couldn't agree more. Those O'Brian novels are excellent. Best books I've ever read.

edutcher said...

I had "Gatsby" inflicted on me in undergrad school. As my sister said, "It screams, 'First novel'".

Nice to see "The Amateur" is there, but a little disheartening to see most of the rest is frivolous stuff.

bandmeeting said...

I actually had a REALLY cute girl ask me yesterday, at the bookstore where I work, what the big book is these days. I told her "50 Shades Of Grey" and she had never heard of it. Not sure if I should feel sorry for her because she is so unaware of a huge cultural phenomenon or happy for her for having avoided such silliness.

Deb said...

Remember the really awful 1974 version of Gatsby with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow.

I have started reading Hater by David Moody, also first in a trilogy.

Patrick said...

Last week, I read "The Road" by Cormack McCarthy. It is an amazing book, but it is so sad, so awful that it is hard to read. I highly recommend it, but don't read it unless you're in a very good mood, because it will bring you down. It is about a father and son at the end of the world. Not cheery in the least.

Patrick said...

Last night, I re-read "The Last Days of Summer" by Steve Kluger. It's about a Jewish kid who befriends the third baseman for the New York Giants. It's a quick read, written mostly in the form of letters back and forth between the two, along with some other characters. Wonderful, wonderful book. I re-read it about twice per year.

Sunslut7 said...

Ann,
READ? Why read about the travails,actions. behaviors,hopes,ambitions and desires of others?

Who cares?

I am too busy living life. I can not afford to waste my precious time listening to the accounts of others.

Iam off exploring the universe own. I don't have time to waste reading your or anyone else's stories. Scarifices must be made.
So I've given up on reading, computer gaames, watching TV,hobbies and major league sports.

Next, I may give up on writing in
my journal. Time is precious.

What will you give up?

Deb said...
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Patrick said...

Sunslut,

I think a lot of people consider reading part of that exploration of the universe. I certainly do. In your exploration of the universe, why not explore the ideas of others?

Patrick said...

Deb, I think without that relationship, I would never have been able to finish that book. I agree that it is uplifting, but I found it so heartbreaking, particularly when the father had to contemplate what he may have to do. Yes, though that was a wonderful way to show the love a father has for a son. "If he is not the word of God, then God never spoke."

I've never read post apocalyptic stuff before. Maybe I could read more if there wasn't cannibalism.

Deborah said...

Rereading Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's Selected Poems in real book form, and on my Kindle am reading one of Clive Cussler Dirk Pitt novels-The Treasure of Khan.

I find the theme of the book Fifty Shades of Grey quite disturbing. Definitely an unhealthy relationship; one not to be raised up as an example and praised en mon avis. I'm not planning to read it.
FWIW- I hated Wurthing Heights too. Another relastionship that was totally dysfunctional. I'm amazed so many women swoon over Heathcliff. He's a bully, and one sick, sick guy.

Freeman Hunt said...

Women need to quit reading Fifty Shades and go have actual sex with their husbands.

Men need to quit looking at online pornography and go have actual sex with their wives.

How did actual sex become square in the modern mind? How did the pursuit of non-sex become "sex positive" in the modern imagination?

deborah said...

Moby Dick. Trying to make up for lost time. Recently read House of the Seven Gable. Ho-hum, pretty okay.

Anyone interested, and I've only read the first chapter free at Amazon, Underworld by DeLillo. Blew me away. Want to read.

So much to read, so little time.

Mark O said...

Porn for women=good

Porn for men=debasing, unconstitutional, sick, homewrecking, blah, blah, blah.

Freeman Hunt said...
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Patrick said...

I don't really want to be all cynical about it, but I have my doubts about whether modern Hollywood can do a decent job of making "Gatsby." I re-read that last year, and I do like that book.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

I just started re-reading P.G. Wodehouse's Blandings series. Midway through Summer Lightning. Yeah, I've read all of the set twice before, but they don't get old.

That's in book form. On the Kindle, Ruth Rendell's Talking to Strange Men, which I've just started and haven't read before. Alternating with P.J. O'Rourke's Parliament of Whores.

Hey, it's summer. I can be as frivolous as I like.

Freeman Hunt said...

I'm reading The Idiot in Kindle form. (Not book.) I'm listening to The Story of the World with the kids in the car. (Not book.)

But books are not dead in this house. I'm reading The Great Tradition and the third volume of Kitchen Table Math in book form. The Bible is usually, but not always, read in book form around here. I read a lot of poetry with the kids, all out of various, physical books. Our read alouds are probably ten to one in book form. I strew all sorts of science, math, fiction, and history around my oldest during "quiet time," something that can only be done with physical books.

For kids, I prefer a large collection of tangible books. For me, I prefer the convenience of an ebook for narrative but the physical flippability of a real book for nonfiction.

Freeman Hunt said...

The movie is probably not in a style I like, but I think that the casting of Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby is probably good.

Patrick said...

Having now watched the trailer, my first impression is: "What? Modern music for this movie? No music from the Twenties? Please tell me that is just for the trailer." I like the casting of Tobey Maguire who I presume is in the role of Nick. The Dicaprio casting could go either way. Against my expectations, I may go see it.

Erika said...

I am reading The Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield and it is as phenomenal as everyone always says it is. Every time I think that The Mind of the Soldier is a theme that has been done so many times I can't possibly stagger through it again, I find something like this. Pressfield's a former Marine and a fine stylist with words to boot, not to mention has that rare gift of bringing faraway times and cultures vividly to life.

I also have Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything on my nightstand and have for nearly a year while I've read dozens of other books. I love Bryson and I love nonfiction books of that type, but I can't seem to get off the ground with that one.

Erika said...

Ooops, that should read Gates of Fire. No The.

Patrick said...

We are driving to MA later this summer. The kids are picking out the books we will read aloud during the journey. "From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler" will be one. "The Great Brain" will be another.

Neighborhood of 1400 miles, so we'll have more.

deborah said...

"What? Modern music for this movie? No music from the Twenties? Please tell me that is just for the trailer."

I wonder if some stories can be told without reference to the original time period in which they were set. (With the meta understanding that you are watching Romeo and Juliet, for example.)

Patrick said...

I wonder if some stories can be told without reference to the original time period in which they were set. (With the meta understanding that you are watching Romeo and Juliet, for example.)

I've seen that done to Shakespeare with varying degrees of success. In this movie, it's clearly meant to be placed in the 20's, so the music just seemed way out of place. Maybe the film's score will correct that. I would hope.

deborah said...

I once began Genius by Harold Bloom. He covers one hundred great authors and philosophers, chronologially, more or less. Each author is briefly covered, highlighting an important work.

For example, he includes Freud, but not for his work in psychiatry, but more for his concept of id, ego, superego and how they speak a larger societal truth. Or something.


For Melville, he chooses Moby Dick and includes Ahab's great prayer to the Universe(?).

deborah said...

In this movie, it's clearly meant to be placed in the 20's, so the music just seemed way out of place.

Puts me in mind of that silly, but fairly watchable Heath Ledger movie, A Knights Tale. Modern rock music set to some scenes. Ridiculous.

Yeah, my daughter and I are leaving soon for a car trip out west. Need to download some audio books to my Kindle that we both will like. God bless the Kindle, and God bless me.

Deb said...
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Deb said...

deborah, I like listening to audiobooks on road trips. I usually get so involved in them that I wind up getting the book anyway.

Michael K said...

"Pressfield's a former Marine and a fine stylist with words to boot, not to mention has that rare gift of bringing faraway times and cultures vividly to life."

You should read his "Killing Rommel." It is great writing and a true story written as historical fiction.

I just finished Forrest Pogue's four volume biography of Marshall. Now reading "Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors." I read the author's previous book, "Neptune's Inferno," and loved it. The Tin Can book is about the battle of Leyte Gulf, and the other is about the battle of Guadalcanal.

I just re-read Tom Clancy's "Red Storm Rising" on Kindle.

Later this morning, I'm heading up to LA Harbor to visit the battleship, Iowa, with my son and grandson.

PatCA said...

Funny you should ask...I'm reading Gatsby. I'm fascinated by the idea of Obama as Gatsby.

This sums it up for me:

"He smiled understandingly—much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced--or seemed to face--the whole external world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey."

deborah said...

Deb, if you haven't listened to it, I recommend A Condederacy of Dunces, narrated by Barrett Whitener. It starts a little slow, but the narration is outstanding and the writing amazing.

The narrator is all-important in an audiobook :)

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Brightness Reef: David Brin book #1 of a trilogy.

I've read it before, several years ago, and having read everything else in the house and too lazy to go to the library, not owning a kindle and probably never will, I'm enjoying it again.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

I should've added that I grab a mass-market-sized paperback to re-read every time I need to shop. As I don't drive and the nearest grocery store is a 25-minute walk away, I read while walking. I have rather a lot of books :-) and usually I just go down to the bookshelves in the guest bedroom and pick something I haven't re-read recently.

I draw the line at walking around reading from the Kindle. I haven't tripped yet, but it'd really suck if the first time I did, I was out two hundred bucks.

Jose_K said...

Just ended Pictures of the Socialistic Future by Ritcher. beginning Iron heel by London. im working of a paper about the right to delete so im going beyond We the best dystopic novels of all( copied by Huxley and Orwell)

Christy said...

I've soured on Fitzgerald. He now strikes me as an outsider trying to depict the lives of insiders with no true understanding, only envy.

Reading the wonderful 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami in book form, but find myself putting this thumb cramper aside for the equally lengthy Bringing Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel on Kindle. Mantel's Cromwell is certainly a man for our age. One wonders if he was indeed so forward thinking.

who-knew said...

Don't Ask by Donald Westlake. It's very funny, part ofhis Dortmunder series of books about New York's unluckiest small-time crook. Highly recommended

YoungHegelian said...

What does it say about the American female that the first 4 top sellers are fictional chick porn, but an instruction book for how to actually do those sexual acts with a real man is number 81?

I certainly envy E.L. James for hitting her gold mine. Just think of how many pulp porn writers are banging their heads against a wall and saying "Why wasn't that me?!".

sydney said...

Six Frigates by Ian W. Toll, a history of the early US Navy; Stages on the Road by Sigrid Undset, a series of essays on saints, women, and Catholicism; and Edmund Campion by Evelyn Waugh, a life of the saint.

I am waiting for a library copy of Flashman by George MacDonald Fraser to start my fiction reading of the summer.

Tim DeRoche said...

They make high school sophomores read Gatsby....but the book makes no sense until you're 30.

I just finished re-reading Owen Meany....I'd forgotten how *funny* it is.

Gabriel Hanna said...

Re-reading "The Forgotten Man" by Amity Shlaes, a more rounded picture of the Great Depression and the New Deal than I got in high school.

After that I'll reread "The Phantom Tollbooth", which I bought to read to my son when he's bigger.

I plan to read "The Great Divorce" this summer.

Synova said...

I'm reading a (un)Historical Scottish romance.

I saw the Gatsby book on the recommended list when shopping on my nook.

When you say "book form" do you mean paper?

I was looking at recommended science fiction on Io9 yesterday and the link at the bottom of the page was "This book is available from (your local independent bookseller.)"

So now I have two mental additions to io9's "We come from the future" slogan. One is "-and the lights are out" and the other is "-and we prefer analog."

Popville said...

Re: Gatsby:

Too bad they didn't turn it over to Whit Stillman.

Paula said...

I'm reading Ian Rankin's Inspector Rebus novels. A little gritty, a little graphic, and set in Edinburgh which has got to be at least 30 degrees cooler than where I am outside of DC.

I'm also reading C S Lewis's The Great Divorce...not for fun, but in order to discuss it with my son who thought it was wonderful.

sydney said...

My son loved the Great Divorce, too. He even dug out our copy recently to give to his new girlfriend to read. His description of Hell as a place where punishment for sin is to be isolated from others sounded like Paradise to me. A fault I am trying to remove.

Freeman Hunt said...

I plan to read "The Great Divorce" this summer.

This is one of my favorite books, and one of the only books I read repeatedly.

His description of Hell as a place where punishment for sin is to be isolated from others

That is not an accurate description of the depiction of hell in the book.

Freeman Hunt said...

I guess I need to go read more to get rid of my inclination to errant commas.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

My own copy of The Great Divorce has basically fallen in half from multiple rereadings. Granted, it wasn't in great shape when I bought it.

I wish I were still working in a music store; I have a lot of sad cases here that could seriously use a roll of hinge tape :-(

Among other things, that book got me reading George MacDonald. In much the same way, Borges got me to read Chesterton. A bookstore in Berkeley happened to have bought someone's set of most of the Chesterton collected works, and bit by bit I bought nearly all of them. You wouldn't think that a dozen volumes or so, each 600 or so pages long, covering the weekly column one man wrote for The Illustrated London News from 1906 to 1931, would be interesting reading, but you'd be wrong. I've read them all through several times, and like dipping into them at random. Whatever you hit will be worth reading again, though if you're not in the mood for sustained fierceness, it's as well to stay away from the two volumes covering the years of the Great War.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

[sydney:] His description of Hell as a place where punishment for sin is to be isolated from others

[Freeman:]That is not an accurate description of the depiction of hell in the book.


No, it's not. If I had to sum up in a sentence, Lewis's Hell is the state of refusing infinite happiness because there's something lesser that you refuse to let go. There are many paths to that destination, and he lays a bunch of them out for you, but all in one of the most wonderful allegorical worlds I've ever encountered.

wv: 51 Reseala. Look, I know I have a leaky window frame, but I think one Reseala would cover it.

sydney said...

Michelle Dulak Thompson and Freeman,
Open your books again and reread the description of Grey Town. You can argue about whether that town represents Purgatory or Hell, but it is pretty clear that its inhabitants live further and further away from each other the longer they are there. Even light years away for some. This is the place where those who do not get to stay in Heaven return.

Freeman Hunt said...

But they don't live further and further away as punishment. They do it themselves.

Freeman Hunt said...

Incidentally, today is the 60th anniversary of the publication of Mere Christianity.

Jose_K said...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/9381428/The-shy-housewife-behind-Fifty-Shades-of-Gray.html
Blame her

PatCA said...

Popville, perfect, Whit Stillman! He is the only one who could pull a decent story out of this little novel. Apparently, Fitzgerald leaned towards Marxism, and that explains a lot of the envy/contempt I am gleaning from the book.

A good book I recently read is P. D. James Children of Men, much better than the totally inaccurate film version. It's a Christian allegory, actually.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

sydney,

[Freeman Hunt:] But they don't live further and further away as punishment. They do it themselves.

That's the point. No one is either saved or damned except by choice. You don't "get to" stay in Heaven; you decide to. And you're not forced to stay in Hell, either; you choose to. Anyone who is willing to travel from the Grey Town to the outskirts of Heaven is welcome to stay, and the ones who don't honestly prefer Hell to joy.

From the book [MacDonald is speaking]:

The choice of every lost soul can be expressed in the words "Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven." There is always something they insist on keeping, even at the price of misery. There is always something they prefer to joy -- that is, to reality. Ye see it easily enough in a spoiled child that would sooner miss its play and its supper than say it was sorry and be friends. Ye call it the Sulks. But in adult life it has a hundred fine names -- Achilles' wrath and Coriolanus' grandeur, Revenge and Injured Merit and Self-Respect and Tragic Greatness and Proper Pride.

Man, I need to get another copy of this book. It's beyond hinge tape.

SunnyJ said...

"Witness" by Whittaker Chambers, nothing like the facts to wake you up; and "The Man Who Would Be King" by Rudyard Kiplinging to let you dream. Upside of drought and too hot to be outside except early AM and PM...might as well read!

Charles said...

I am reading the Game of Thrones books because the HBO series is so good and the series of necessity has too many gaps to easily follow. Also, Bulgakov's White Guard because I wanted to decide whether to start into Master and Margarita.

In non-fiction, the last thing I read was Bloodlands by Timothy Snyder, which I couldn't recommend too strongly. Next to come is the Photian Schism by Dvornik.