Inside The 'Times' Hardcover Bestseller List

Emily Gould · 10/29/07 11:50AM

What's this? The New York Times bestseller list "is not a completely accurate barometer of what the reading public is buying," public editor Clark Hoyt informed us last week. This, even in spite of recent adjustments to the top-secret formula, devised in order to prevent publishers from "gaming the system" that determines the list's rankings: Appalling! Well, not really. As people who work in publishing like to tell their disappointed authors, the mysteriously-weighted list has always been essentially meaningless. Unless those authors have bestseller bonuses in their contracts, in which case: The list is extremely meaningful! And so while the list does not mean everything, it must mean something. For example, the #1 spot on this week's Hardcover Fiction list is occupied by a John Grisham book called "Playing For Pizza." What's that about?

Erica Jong's Book Party For Ken Follett

Emily Gould · 10/10/07 05:00PM

There is something about being in novelist Erica Jong's apartment that makes a person feel a certain degree of—how to put this?—sexual license. Maybe it is to do with the enormous Tom Wesselmann nude that greets visitors in the foyer, all big lips and blonde hair contrasting with dark pubes. Maybe it is just knowing that you are in the home of the lady who coined and, you know, engaged in "the zipless fuck," even for those who could only have the thrill of discovering 1973's Fear of Flying on their parents' bookshelves. Maybe it is that Erica herself is such a hot tamale! In any event, something made me feel like it would be okay to go up to British author Ken Follett and start telling him my dirty secrets right off the bat. Photographer Kathy Lo was the youngest person there by at least five years.