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Thursday, October 23, 2003

New York Times Bestseller List, November 2 

Due to the whole drinking-with-crime-writers thing, there was no installment of this weekly staple. But we're back, and we've got comments.

Top debut, and storming the charts at numero uno is....gah. Patricia Cornwell's latest Scarpetta adventure, BLOW FLY. It doesn't matter. She's a nutjob, her writing has declined spectacularly in the last few years, the dust jacket copy was so incomprehensible that the book can't be much better (you know, kind of like when the movie is so bad they can't even cut a decent trailer out of it) but who am I to argue. Patsy Sells Books, and Many Books Galore. It would just be nice if she found her earlier form.

Enough ranting. Next debut, at #8 is Stuart Woods' latest, immediately followed by Richard North Patterson's new political thriller BALANCE OF POWER. Fairly standard, dependable Times fare. Steve Martin's novella (since it's way too short to be a novel) drops slightly to #10, James Lee Burke stays strong at #11 (a series I am woefully behind on, I should add) while Jhumpa Lahiri's THE NAMESAKE is still doing well at #12.

Newbies on the extended: Gregory Maguire's MIRROR, MIRROR at #25. His first book WICKED is now a stage musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz. Damn! I knew the guy was still around but he had his first huge hits 30 years ago (PIPPIN, never mind Doug Henning's THE MAGIC SHOW.) How about that. The musical opens on Broadway next week.

Now back to the books. Stephen Hunter's new novel HAVANA is at #26, and Shirley Hazzard's THE BIG FIRE (reviewed by Mark Sarvas's fave, John Banville) is right behind at #27. Peter Straub's new one is at #32, followed by the inexplicability that is Jerry Jenkins' SOON (or, Dude, Where's My Apocalypse?)

Just ekeing its way on the Extended list at #34 is....VERNON GOD LITTLE, the Canongate version. Wow those guys must be platzing bigtime, having won the Booker last year with THE LIFE OF PI and now this. Very cool. Canongate, it must be said, is a very cool publisher. Some of the other books they have include Louise Welsh's THE CUTTING ROOM, Michel Faber's THE CRIMSON PETAL AND THE WHITE, and Tony Bourdain's crime novels (want some seriously sharp, noir fare? Go get his collection of stories, BOBBY GOLD. I've reread it 4 times and it hasn't lost its edge in the slightest.)

Tune in next week to see if Ms. Cornwell can hang on to the #1 position, or if some interloper takes the top spot away. It's all fun and games (like sands through the hourglass, of course) on....The NYT Bestseller List!

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