Adams and Heath took on a daunting task, trying to puzzle out what the best sellers of the years, 1990-2006, says about not only what we read, but what it says about us as a society. While they made some valid points, what shines through is their ability to laugh at us all with our choices.
The chapters are broken down into sections that highlight areas that Americans seem to be obsessed with in one way or another. Like ‘The Obvious’ in which they tackle Diet, Wealth, and Inspiration.
From books like ‘Who My Cheese’ to ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ we are nothing but a society that wants to do better and be better, but only when the tips are given to us in easy to digest small simple pieces.
We all want to feel better and the juggernaut that was Chicken Soup for the Soul is there in every incantation to do just that. They give us hope and show us that our lives aren’t the only ones that suck, but it is all a matter of perspective. The right attitude will get you far in life, says Yoda.
Diet books…do we have to talk about the fads and crazy ideas out there? Diet books sell like hot cakes and if they say that they will get you thin without very little work, they sell like hotcakes with delicious maple syrup on them. What they don’t tell you is that any diet of health regime takes time. Most people just want the quick fix and when that doesn’t work, they are off to buy the next diet fad.
Just some of the other chapters:
3 – Black and White and Read All Over: Good and Evil in Bestselling Adventure Novels and Political Fiction (shows us that we hate evil and in books we like it very well defined. Serial killer=evil)
4 – Hopefully Ever After: Love, Romance, and Relationships (There is something for everyone here, even if you are from Mars, I am from Venus, and Dr. Laura is blaming all problems on feminism)
5 – Soul Train: Religion and Spirituality (Faith, have you got it? Need me to point it out for you?)
While the approach of the book was tongue in cheek and therefore entertaining, I can’t help it think that the authors were judging us all by our reading and finding it lacking. There was so much text of the books that they were discussing that it made for a long drawn out read. I could have lived without that. The book could have easily been cut by 100 pages or more and been better for me. I was looking for more about why we read what we read, not fads, trends, doublespeak and trashing of the best selling books/authors.
Am I glad that I read it? Honestly, I could have passed on this one.
Paperback: 340 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks, Inc.; 1 edition (October 1, 2007)