From Publishers Weekly
What does an analysis of PW
's and USA Today
's bestsellers lists tell us about the values, desires and fears of the American reading public? [R]eaders are increasingly attracted to simple, univocal reinforcements of hunches rather than complex... answers, say the authors. Heath (coauthor, Who Killed Homer?
) and first-time author Adams go on to analyze book after book to show its superficiality and failure to challenge readers' assumptions; they pick in particular on Dan Brown. The low-carb craze was about simplistic answers to psychological and physiological issues. J.K. Rowling and John Grisham reduce the world to good vs. evil, eliminating the need to understand conflicting points of view; Laura Schlessinger's and John Gray's success reveal an American public longing for traditional male-female roles. Disaster books, even literary titles like Into Thin Air
, demonstrate an American appetite for redemptive stories of survival in the face of tragedy, and the red-hot Da Vinci Code
scored by manipulating our lust for controversy and conspiracy and our need to feel (without actually being) educated. This effort is larded with data that will be obvious to publishing professionals and of little interest to general readers. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From the Back Cover
What do weight loss, evil emperors and tales of redemption have in common?
We readers have many dirty little secrets-and our bestselling books are spilling them all. We can’t resist conspiratorial crooks or the number 7. We have bought millions of books about cheese. And over a million of us read more than 50 nearly identical books every single year.
In Why We Read What We Read, Lisa Adams and John Heath take an insightful and often hilarious tour through nearly 200 bestselling books, ferreting out their persistent themes and determining what those say about what we believe and how we relate to one another.
Some of our favorite (and revealing) topics include:
* Repeating the Obvious:
Diet, Wealth, and Inspiration
* Black and White and Read All Over:
Good and Evil in Bestselling Adventure Novels and Political Nonfiction
* Soul Train:
Religion and Spirituality
* Hopefully Ever After:
Love, Romance and Relationships
* Reading for Redemption:
Trials and Triumphs in Literary Fiction and Nonfiction
* Controversy and Conspiracy in The Da Vinci Code
Explore the nature of what and how we read-and what it means for our psyches, our society and our future.