06 May 2009

Bestsellers

Bestseller book lists are fascinating reads in and of themselves. Consider the process of popularising any object. How much is word-of-mouth? How much is it expensive advertising or a mention on a syndicated talk show?

I went in to Borders Bookstore yesterday and looked for The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. I couldn't find him, I mean it, the book. Even when I asked the staff, there was a lot of head scratching and going off in different directions to see where copies had been. Finally the merchandising manager came up with the last copy in the store. I went to Borders only after trying our North Shore Library system several times. All copies are issued and not due back soon. I need to read it by tomorrow when my book club meets!

I could see the film, but I usually prefer to read a book before I see the film and then am rarely as excited about the film version of the story.

So far in my reading I have been grabbed by a line about halfway through which asks who decides who wears the striped pajamas and who wears the uniforms. In conversation with a friend she mentioned Sophie's Choice and the impossible situation the mother was put in, to choose which child stayed with her and which one went to the concentration camps. Upon what basis do you make such a choice?

There is much to discuss in this fable including the essence of friendship, the fence and constructive disobedience.

The barbed wire fence is a physical separating line between the boys in the story. What other types of separation does the fence represent?

I read for enlightenment and for pleasure. I like to learn as I read, but I also love a good story. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is well written from a fascinating perspective and challenges me. The discussion at book club tomorrow ought to be good!

Here's what The New York Times says is selling:
Non-fiction
1. THREE CUPS OF TEA, by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

Paperback Fiction
1. ANGELS AND DEMONS, by Dan Brown

Hardcover Fiction
1. FIRST FAMILY, by David Baldacci
2. TEA TIME FOR THE TRADITIONALLY BUILT, by Alexander McCall Smith
3. LOITERING WITH INTENT, by Stuart Woods
4. JUST TAKE MY HEART, by Mary Higgins Clark
5. THE PERFECT POISON, by Amanda Quick

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