It’s shaping up to be a strange Tuesday in book news: Instead of memoir-writing announcements, we’ve got verbal sparring between the Hemingway estate and Vanity Fair, a brawl over Kantian philosophy, and more. Read on for today’s top books headlines: READ FULL STORY
Tag: James Patterson (1-5 of 5)
Best-selling author James Patterson will end his sci-fi series Maximum Ride this August, but he has a new teen-oriented series that’s just getting started. Confessions of a Murder Suspect, co-written with Maxine Paetro, comes out Sept. 24 and will stick to the mystery-thriller genre that made him famous. It centers on Tandy Angel, who comes from a wealthy but seriously shady family. When her parents are murdered, she and her siblings are the only suspects — and to clear their names, Tandy must dig into her family’s dealings. She doesn’t like what she learns.
Intrigued? Check out the first three chapters below! READ FULL STORY
Though it didn’t sell as strongly as The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol moved more than 5.5 million copies to dominate Publishers Weekly‘s just-unveiled list of the best-selling hardcover books of 2009. A few other expected author names populate the Top 15, including John Grisham (No. 2 and No. 6), James Patterson (No. 5), and Patricia Cornwell (No. 12 and No. 14). Stephenie Meyer landed in the ninth spot with her 2008 sci-fi novel The Host, but the lack of a Twilight book was evident, particularly in the ascendancy of two entries from P.C. Cast’s Twi-lite House of Night series, which rose up to fill a vampire-shaped hole. The real surprise, though, is Kathryn Stockett’s The Help, which itself was helped by tremendous word of mouth to become the fourth best-selling fiction book of the year with 1.1 million copies sold. On the nonfiction side, it was politics, mainly conservative, that got the cash register ringing. Sarah Palin’s Going Rogue capped the list, but books by Glenn Beck, conservative radio host Mark Levin, and the late Edward Kennedy all made it into the top five.
Whereas sales of albums and movie tickets are tallied virtually in real-time, the figures for the publishing industry are often as closely guarded as the Colonel’s secret recipe, so PW’s yearly ranking offers one of the best snapshots of the literary marketplace. And while the top contenders on both the fiction and nonfiction lists sold millions of copies, the overall list reveals a far less rosy picture of book sales. The number of titles that sold at least 100,000 copies is down by significant double-digit percentages from 2008 in both fiction and nonfiction.
E-book sales figures weren’t included this year (they will be for 2010), but since digital editions rarely exceed 5 percent of a book’s total sales it’s unlikely that the 2009 sales list would have received a big boost from their inclusion. Here are the top selling books of 2009 (since some publishers did not provide PW exact sales figures, several titles’ rankings are based on estimates or sales figures provided in confidence for the purposes of ranking):
1. The Lost Symbol: A Novel, Dan Brown (5,543,643 copies)
2. The Associate: A Novel, John Grisham
3. Tempted, P.C. Cast (1,141,818)
4. The Help, Kathryn Stockett (1,104,617)
5. I, Alex Cross, James Patterson (1,040,976)
6. Ford County, John Grisham
7. Finger Lickin’ Fifteen, Janet Evanovich (977,178)
8. Hunted, P.C. Cast (931,219)
9. The Host: A Novel, Stephenie Meyer (912,165)
10. Under the Dome, Stephen King
11. Pirate Latitudes, Michael Crichton (855,638)
12. Scarpetta, Patricia Cornwell (800,00)
13. U Is for Undertow, Sue Grafton (706,154)
14. The Scarpetta Factor, Patricia Cornwell (705,000)
15. Shadowland, Alyson Noel (609,355)
1. Going Rogue: An American Life, Sarah Palin (2,674,684 copies)
2. Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man: What Men Really Think About Love, Relationships, Intimacy, and Commitment, Steve Harvey (1,735,219)
3. Arguing With Idiots: How to Stop Small Minds and Big Government, Glenn Beck
4. Liberty & Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto, Mark R. Levin
5. True Compass: A Memoir, Edward M. Kennedy (870,402)
6. Have a Little Faith: A True Story, Mitch Albom (855,843)
7. It’s Your Time: Activate Your Faith, Achieve Your Dreams, and Increase in God’s Favor, Joel Osteen
8. The Last Lecture, Randy Pausch with Jeffrey Zaslow (610,033)
9. Stones Into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books Not Bombs, Greg Mortenson (515,566)
10. Superfreakonomics, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner (487,977).
11. Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Julia Child (487,228)
12. Master Your Metabolism: The 3 Diet Secrets to Naturally Balancing Your Hormones for a Hot and Healthy Body! Jillian Michaels (486,154)
13. The Yankee Years, Joe Torre and Tom Verducci (397,954)
14. Open, Andre Agassi (383,722)
15. Time of My Life, Patrick Swayze and Lisa Niem
We’ve all been there: Your dear ol’ aunt tells you about a wonderful book. You pick up it and read it. And as soon as you turn its final page, you immediately begin searching for a magical genie’s lamp that will enable you to wish back the 75,000 words you just consumed.
Yes, we all have reading regrets. (I, for one, will never get back the four hours I wasted reading James Patterson’s Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas. Can you say tedious?) That’s why it’s fun to head over to the blog Good Reads to see this user-generated list of books that readers most regret reading. Though it’s no surprise that the polarizing Twilight tops the list, I’ll admit that I’m quite shocked that more people regret reading J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye than Sophie Kinsella’s Confessions of a Shopaholic.
So your turn, Shelf Lifers: What book gave you pangs of regret? And remember, this is a no-judgment zone!
James Patterson™, perennial mainstay of the best-seller lists, just renewed his deal with Hachette’s Little, Brown for his next 17 books. That’s right: his next 17 books. That commits the former advertising exec to the publisher until 2012, for 11 more adult books plus six books for younger readers. That’s actually a slackening of his current publishing pace. By year’s end, Patterson will have published a whopping 22 books in the last three years alone. (Many people I know haven’t read that many books in that time.)
But Patterson, of course, is more than just a proverbial book factory. He’s an actual book factory, typically using credited co-authors to compose “first drafts” from elaborate outlines that he sends (as he detailed in a 2006 Time profile). Like Patterson himself, most of his collaborators have a background in advertising: There’s Richard DiLallo on the Alex Cross thrillers, Michael Ledwidge on the Michael Bennett thrillers and the Daniel X young-adult series, Maxine Paetro on the Women’s Murder Club mysteries, and Howard Roughan on various standalone thrillers. And while there is no co-author listed on the cover of the popular Maximum Ride YA series, about a group of kids who are part bird and part human, the copyright on those books is listed not as “James Patterson” (as it is on most of his titles) but the cryptic “SueJack, Inc.”
It’s an impressive commercial operation. The question is, can James Patterson™ be considered a prolific author in the way we regard Joyce Carol Oates (nine books in the last three years, by my count) or Alexander McCall Smith (ten books in three years)? Or is he more like Carolyn Keene or Franklin W. Dixon, the credited “authors” of the comparably well-branded Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mystery series? Are you still a writer if you subcontract out much of the actual, you know, writing?
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