In this week’s Inside the List, Dwight Garner remarks upon the Observer’s riff upon the NYTBR list and notes, “One sad and striking thing about this list of beautiful books is that only one, McEwan’s ‘Atonement,’ appeared on the Times best-seller list, in hardcover or soft.”
I sincerely hope this is simply an inept ironic statement on how literary works often don’t sell as well as bestsellers. But I have a sneaking suspicion that Garner has been having one too many drinks from the Tanenhaus Kooky Kool-Aid Kooler. The NYTBR contemporary fiction list was roundly mocked precisely because it was less about literary merit and more about extremely obvious literary titles that elitists, clearly out of touch with the habits of anyone under 50, would select. Indeed, why should sales have any bearing on literary merit at all? With this attitude, perhaps this explains why the NYTBR is often more of a hoary tabloid than an honorable publication.
NO BROWNIES FOR DWIGHT! THE BROWNIES HAVE BEEN DENIED!