Sunday, June 20, 2004

I am going to apologise for my mild obsession with the bestseller lists. They might be ever-so-slightly vacuous, but they fascinate me. Besides, it might interest (indeed, please) you to know that this week P.J. Tracy's Want to Play?/Monkeewrench hits number 7 for paperbacks. Val McDermid's The Torment of Others is at number 5 for hardbacks, which I think is her best showing ever. And The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time has been bettered by Cornwell's Blow Fly, which is a bit of a shame.

The Sunday Times reviews Elmore Leonard's latest, Mr Paradise.

Since the mind-boggling sucess of Lynne Truss's little book on punctuation, Eats, Shoots and Leaves, there have been ponderances on where the next hit will come from. Advice on spelling, possibly? (Truss's book is riding high on American bestseller lists also, alongside Tolstoy's Anna Karennina, which is reportedly due to undergo a reprint of almost a million copies, thanks to Oprah choosing it for her book club.)

In the very best traditions of Donna Tartt, Thomas Harris and Jeffery Eugenides, Louis de Bernieres has been keeping fans waiting a decade for his next novel. Yet again, rumours of writer's block are not true. The Guardian talks to him about Birds Without Wings, set this time in Anatolia rather than Greece, during the First World War rather than the Second.

Anyway, onto my most disturbing news...

Earlier this week, this was reported in The Telegraph:
James Patterson's latest thriller, London Bridges, will be published in September. Headline, who are determined to make their author "the UK's leading novelist" within two years, are promising to promote it with "the biggest campaign ever seen in book publishing".

I almost cried out. While I admit I would like to see what "the biggest campaign ever in book publishing" looks like, I recoil in horrror at the possibility that Patterson might even hope to become the number 1 author in the UK. I can comfort myself with the fact that it will never happen, thank goodness. At this point in his career, almost anyone who is likely ever to read a Patterson book probably already has done, and has either kept on with him or discarded it in disgust. There are not many people left to convert, basically, and enough people know how terrible he is. Anyway, I remain confident that the British public are generally not stupid enough to let this happen. Patterson will never usurp Rankin in our hearts - dream on. Nor even the mighty Martina Cole. Or even Grisham, probably. I am going to have faith in my nation; we will not let this come about. I hope.