You People Don’t Read…

My cat is running back and forth at top speed as she screams at the top of her lungs. No need to worry, she does this from time to time. I’m sure you don’t need further details or photos.

Are you a subscriber?Anyway, I was online trying to find a little something interesting about Kite Runner or Khaled Hosseini (which my boyfriend keeps questioning me about whether I’ve gotten to the good part yet–NO!). After I finish this post I’ll get back to reading. In the meantime, I have a bone to pick with USA Today. I came across their website and noticed a link for “this week’s top 150 best sellers.” Well, apparently the black people who actually stepped into a bookstore this week didn’t browse the colored section. Can you believe that out of 150 books–let me say that again–150 books, only about 3 or 4 are black authors. Of this small percentage, 2 are “spiritual” books, 1 is a diet book, and the other is something I haven’t heard about by Don Cheadle. I was curious as to how USA Today generated their list. They said:

USA TODAY calculates a list of 300 best-selling books each week. The first 50 are published in the newspaper, and the top 150 are available online. USA TODAY’s list is based on a computer analysis of retail sales nationwide last week. Included are more than 1.5 million volumes from about 4,700 independent, chain, discount and online booksellers.

Reporting stores include: Amazon.com, B. Dalton Bookseller, Barnes & Noble.com, Barnes & Noble Inc., Books-A-Million.com, Books-A-Million and Bookland, Borders Books & Music, Bookstar, Bookstop, Brentano’s, Davis Kidd Booksellers (Nashville, Jackson, Memphis in Tenn.), Doubleday Book Shops, Hudson Booksellers, Joseph-Beth Booksellers (Lexington, Ky.; Cincinnati, Cleveland), Powell’s Books (Portland, Ore.), Powells.com, R.J. Julia Booksellers (Madison, Conn.), Schuler Books & Music (Grand Rapids, Mich.), Target, Tattered Cover Book Store (Denver), Waldenbooks.

So maybe they didn’t consult stores in Houston or Atlanta, huh? Or do they want us to believe that nobody wants to read black books? Good question to ponder. What’s funny is, none of the bestsellers on their list made Essence’s list. See for yourself.

Off to read Kite Runner. Back with the review in a day or so. But before I part, I would like to offer one minor excerpt from an interview with the author.

Where did the idea for this story come from?

That’s not an easy question to answer because it developed over time. During the past couple of years I had been mulling over the notion of writing a story set in Afghanistan but I couldn’t decide on the right story or the right time period. At first I considered writing about the Taliban but I felt that particular story had already been told — it’s an issue that has been well covered and by people far more qualified than myself. I knew if I was going to tell an Afghan story I’d have to tell one that had something new to offer. So I decided the story would have to take place, at least partially, in an Afghanistan that seemingly no one remembered anymore: the pre-Soviet War Afghanistan.

What do you want readers to get out of this book?

I want them to see that the Afghan people existed before there was a war with the Soviets and before there was a Taliban. I want them to understand that the things we’re seeing now in Afghanistan — the tribal chiefs vying for their own interests and the various ethnicities colliding with each other — have roots that go back several centuries. I try to illuminate some of those things through the experiences of Amir and his Hazara servant, Hassan. I want readers to have a really good time reading this story. I want them to be touched by it because to me novel writing, first and foremost, is storytelling. And I was brought up on a tradition of storytelling. I want people to get involved with the characters and care for them. And I want people to simply remember Afghanistan. If the book is successful at all in sparking some dialogue on Afghanistan, and keeping it in the public consciousness, then I think it will have achieved a lot.

See ya’ll (the 2 people who read this blog) in a minute. 🙂

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4 thoughts on “You People Don’t Read…

  1. Come on now, the Essence list is based on nine “black” book stores against 4700 in the USA Today survey. Clearly as far as representativeness of the general population (i.e. overall book sales) goes, the Essence list leaves a lot to be desired.

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  2. I don’t understand why people don’t read. I told folks about my blog…you and one pther person reads it! How lame!!

    Like

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