September 12, 2014

18 New New York Times Bestseller Lists That Will Change The Way You Think About Bestseller Lists


Toblerone, currently #1 on the new New York Times Bestseller List,

Toblerone, currently #1 on the new New York Times Bestseller List, “Oh Fuck, My Flight Leaves In 15 Minutes And I Forgot A Book” (image via Wikipedia)

The New York Times Book Review is one of the last two stand-alone book review sections in the country, or the very last (depending on what you think about the San Francisco Chronicle). This isn’t a particularly interesting fact—though it is a sad fact—but it’s something most people say when they write about the Book Review. And we at MobyLives are nothing if not adherents to journalistic norms. Which is why we began this blog post the way we did, and not by telling you how much we like the little pictures of critics in the Bookends section, or by reminding you of that time George Packer and Mark Danner got really mad at each other in the Letters section. That would have been unprofessional, and we at MobyLives are very professional.

Speaking of professionalism, every week, the Book Review does a hell of a job covering the country’s bestselling books. Five of the Book Review’s pages are devoted to the various bestseller lists, and what pages they are. In them you’ll find an ecstatic overlap of categories and differentiations—print, e-book, hardcover, paperback, fiction, nonfiction, and on and on. But yesterday, the Book Review’s editors decided that their glorious orgy of lists and information would not suffice and announced that they were adding a host of new bestseller lists. According to Publishers Weekly, the new lists will cover Travel, Humor, Family, Relationships, Animals, Politics, Manga, Graphic Novels, Food and Fitness, Family, Business, Celebrities, Science, Sports, and Spirituality and Faith.

More lists! More differentiations! We applaud the Book Review’s commitment to the age of data, but after some further research, it seems that our friends at Publishers Weekly actually underreported this important story. In addition to the lists above, the Book Review is adding 18 lists, all of which are included below.

Most Fully Realized: Every week, The New York Times Book Review describes dozens of books as being “fully realized.” This lists ranks the top ten fully realized books from “Most Fully Realized” to “Least Most Fully Realized.”

Bestselling Young Adult (Cancer): The most successful books for teenagers that include cancer as a major or minor subplot.

Bestselling Young Adult (No Cancer): The pitiful, weak young adult titles that refuse to look reality in the face by recognizing the omnipresence and narrative importance of cancer, and which choose, instead, to tell book-length stories that somehow avoid this greatest of topics.

James Patterson: The 10 bestselling James Patterson books released this month.

Bestselling 365-Day Calendars:
This week’s list:

  1. 365 Hottest Convertibles
  2. 365 Cutest Puppies
  3. 365 of the Dumbest Things Ever Said by Conservatives
  4. 365 of the Dumbest Things Ever Said by Liberals
  5. 365 Scenic Arches at Arches National Park

Libertarian (Teen): Big, insufferable books for little, insufferable shits.

Libertarian (End of Life Care): Books for those who want the government out of their lives and out of their Medicare.

Bestselling Books About The Length Of The Work Week:
This week’s list:

  1. The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss
  2. The 8-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss
  3. The 1-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss
  4.  The 7 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss
  5. The 40-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss—Just-Kidding, The 2-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss (With Paul Krugman)

Bestselling Non-Sellers: Amazon gives lots of books away for free. The “Best Non-Sellers List” will rank the top books downloaded by Amazon users for $0.00.

Bestselling Books That You Will Love Until You Know Better: Enjoy that Bukowski while you can, buddy.

Bestselling Books That You Will Love Until You Know More About the Author: Enjoy that Bukowski while you can, buddy.

Bestselling Totally Insane Conservative Books For Which The New York Times Book Review Is Forced To Write Restrained, Modest Captions (Previously known as  “The Nonfiction List”): From Dinesh D’Souza’s America (“a defense of America against the view that its power in the world should be diminished”) to Ben Carson’s One Nation (“a retired pediatric surgeon . . . offers solutions to problems”), these are the books that make readers swoon, and Book Review editors vomit.

Literature: No genre fiction. Unless, of course, genre is employed ironically.

James Franco Is On The Cover: The top 10 bestselling classic books from the likes of Faulkner, Dickens, and Woolf with James Franco on the cover.

Nordic Fiction That Is Actually Memoir: Real, disquieting, true books by real, rugged, weathered Nordic men who smoke cigarettes and write true, honest, harmful things about their loved ones in long descriptive sentences that unfold out of one tiny scene, one tiny observation, like endless, Nordic chain reactions, like a Big Bang made of cigarette ash, like a beautiful white flower that blooms slowly but beautifully on a wind-swept Fjord, a flower you encountered once when you were 11, with your father who had taken you fishing on a cold morning in January. The two of you sat in silence, waiting for the line to pull but it never pulled, and yet it was never lifeless, life is never lifeless, it unfurls like an old, dusty, nearly-forgotten rug, which you removed from an attic on a different cold morning with your father. The winds of consciousness blow through these books, sometimes gently and sometimes with great force, but they blow ceaselessly, on-and-on, whispering Life and Truth and Death. May contain references to Hitler.

13 Books That Will Make You LOL Until You OMG: Curated by BuzzFeed.

Oh Fuck, My Flight Leaves In 15 Minutes And I Forgot A Book:
This week’s list:

  1. A Toblerone: A Swiss chocolate bar made popular by the sitcom Friends.
  2. An $11 bottle of water: Water fountains are for poor people.
  3. Duty-free Johnnie Walker Black Label: A brand of scotch popular among men who are cheating on their spouses.
  4. Heaven is For Real by Colton Burpo: A young boy who is not being exploited by his family meets Jesus in heaven.
  5. This week’s US Weekly: Pictures of celebrities that resemble us with humorous captions.
  6. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki: A book that allows people with massive debt feel superior to other people with massive debt.
  7. Commemorative Minneapolis Snowglobe: A plastic object whose very fragility serves to remind you of your weak grasp on sanity during your recent visit to Minneapolis.
  8. Debt of Honor by Tom Clancy: A popular guide to helicopter repair and maintenance.
  9. A $22 Santa Fe Chicken Wrap From Chili’s Too: A popular exotic dish and a respected diarrhetic.
  10. Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty: A Frenchman attempts, unsuccessfully, to subvert everything great about the United States of America.

Bestselling Metafiction: Books about the New York Times bestseller list. Also, Ben Lerner.

Eric Jett contributed to this post.