|The New York Times Bestseller shelves at Watermark|
I have had, for years, a terrible relationship with the New York Times Bestseller list. At one point in my reading life, I would slavishly follow the list, picking out ones from it to read, because — as the reasoning goes — if it’s on the NY Times list, then it must be good. Right?
But, invariably, I’d be disappointed. Seriously disappointed. I hated a good number of the books, and was turned off by the rest.
Sure, there was always exceptions, but the trick was to catch them early. I read Harry Potter first in 1999, before it got huge. The same for Percy Jackson (2005), Twilight (2007), and Hunger Games (2009). You’ll notice that they’re all middle grade and young adult novels, which probably has something to do with my enjoyment of them as well.
But, I’m more than halfway through Water for Elephants, which is up there on those shelves, and I’m loving it. Which is making me wonder: why do I really have this dislike of the Bestseller lists? What is the real source of my mistrust?
I have no answers. Do you? What’s your relationship to the bestseller lists?