Thursday, January 19, 2006

And the author, since it's his blog, decides to whine a little...

Been a strange few weeks. Right before year's end SHAM suddenly rocketed back into Amazon's top 1500 for no reason I could discern. Then came the January 1 piece in the L.A. Times, which had only a minimal direct effect on book sales, but generated a ton of new media interest, yielding appearances this past week alone on CNN, MSNBC and, yesterday, Fox's "Dayside." (Our segment on the latter network got cut roughly in half because their groundbreaking investigative coverage of Victoria's Secret's new line of lingerie ran over--please see TOTALLY GRATUITOUS PHOTO, right--and then came news of a school shooting. But we still got 3-4 minutes in.) In spite of all this, SHAM has settled back to 16,000 on Amazon as we speak. Someday I'll figure out how all this works.

Speaking of Amazon--and you know just where I'm gonna go with this, don't you?--more strange doin's on the Love Smart page. First of all, lately they've been running reviews that really aren't reviews, but mere lists in which the reviewer, after taking a moment to give Love Smart 5 stars, goes on to name his favorite books. Two of those went up yesterday alone. Then late yesterday Amazon posted a searing, 1-star personal attack on Dr. Phil titled "fat man giving diet advice, divorced man giving relationship advice." At around 9 p.m. it was the first reader review listed. By this morning Amazon had flip-flopped it with yesterday's No. 2 review, which was one of those pointless (but 5-star) lists. So even though it's the most recent review to go up, it appears second on the page.

Finally, I need to get in a plug for the funniest book I've read in a long time--and quite possibly the single funniest piece of long-form writing I've ever read. It's Dave Barry's new book, Money Secrets, which I've agreed to review for a magazine (and which I read about halfway through in the back seat of a limo en route to New York yesterday; the driver must've wondered what the hell I was doing back there that had me laughing so hard). The Barry book is not altogether unrelated to this blog, since Money Secrets is basically a send-up of the get-rich-quick genre in which the author punctures, as only he can, the myth of today's proliferation of wealth-building programs. Along the way he takes random but savagely hilarious aim at Donald Trump, Suze Orman, car dealers, bottled water, health plans, the U.S. "service economy," and on and on. Money Secrets proves that humor can be as highly evolved a form of social commentary as all of that bombastic hand-wringing you read on the op-ed pages or political blogs day after day. (I know; I've done my share of bombastic hand-wringing.) This may also explain why the semi-retired Barry--who gets little respect in "serious" writing circles--owns a Pulitzer for commentary. Bet you didn't know that...

7 comments:

Rodger Johnson said...

I like the picture. I remember some chics at IU who looked like that...WOW! If I was single, I'd ask you to hook us up.

That doesn't make me a bad person, does it? :)

But, my wife thinks you're a dirty old man for putting that picture up.

(She made me say that.) Sorry.

She's Baptist, raised in a small, conversative town in southern Indiana -- can you blame her?

Steve Salerno said...

Rodg, please relay my apologies to Emily. Actually, two other SHAMbloggers took the time to contact me and chide me about the photo a little bit. It was meant ironically--i.e., my sly comment on Fox's insistence on spending all that time on lingerie (at the expense of my segment on SHAM). Anyway, I promise that in all future photos of women germane to the subject of this blog, bras and panties will be located in their proper place, which is to say, under other clothing. (NOTE: The author disclaims any responsibility for photographs of women who have opted NOT to wear bras and panties under their clothing.) ;)

Rodger Johnson said...

Steve, she's not offended. She calls me a dirty old man too.

Two Write Hands said...

I'm virtually rolling me eyes here.

Steve Salerno said...

And why is Mad Secretary rolling her eyes, pray tell? (I could think of several possible reasons, but I'm not sure on which side to err...though I have my intuition.)

Two Write Hands said...

I'm rolling my eyes because I'm not feminist enough to be offended. :)

...And I didn't make him say that.

Steve Salerno said...

Ooooooh. Touche, MadSec.