NYT BR, 10/22

The NYT BR’s cover this week is cleverly topical, but it won’t sell many books. It features two views of American politics today, as reflected in books; “The State of Conservatism” by Christopher Caldwell, senior editor for the conservative magazine, The Weekly Standard and “The State of Liberalism,” by Jonathan Alter, Newsweek columnist and MSNBC political analyst.

Chelsea Cain provides a lively review of John le Carré’s Our Kind of Traitor (sample; “John le Carré is to spy fiction what Lindsay Lohan is to TMZ. It’s hard to imagine one without the other.”) It’s as likely to bring new fans to her writing as to his. Cain’s next thriller, The Night Season, (Minotaur), is coming in March; le Carré hardly needs any help; his book debuts on the Hardcover Fiction list this week at #7.

The daily NYT profiled Tom McGuane this week and the Book Review follows with an assessment of his new book, Driving on the Rim (Knopf); “the rambling plot is sustained because the individual episodes are a pleasure, often farcical and always acutely observed, and because the hero is sympathetic in his dissociated journey.”

In best sellers, the Man Booker winner, The Finkler Question (Bloomsbury) hits the Paperback Trade Fiction list at #14; last year’s winner, Wolf Hall is still on the list at #20. Our own award nominees are not faring as well. The National Book Award finalists were announced the Wednesday of the week the lists were compiled. Nicole Krauss’s Great House, (Norton) is the sole title to appear on any of them. It’s on the extended Hardcover Fiction list at #24.

Jane Leavy’s bio of Mickey Mantle, The Last Boy, (Harper), arrives at #4 on the Hardcover Nonfiction list, Condoleezza Rice’s memoir, Extraordinary, Ordinary People (Crown/Archetype) at #9 and Nelson Mandela’s Conversations with Myself (FSG) at #10.

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