Posted by: Lori Schmidt Lutze | February 3, 2010

to heck with the NY Times Best Seller list

Wherever you are:  don’t feel sad that you’re not in the ‘Sunshine State.’  Joyce says that the January weather in Flo’da was absolutely miserable with lots of gray skies and clouds and rain.  So, she’s been reading The Help in order to pass the time.  The Help is currently number one on the NY Times Best Seller list:

Joyce tries to stay in the know, you know.  She can be a bit of a player.  However, while she’s finding The Help to be quite enjoyable, it’s not her very favorite read.  She admires the fact that it took the author ‘something’ to write what she did.  But Joyce prefers this type of book:  sex, murder, happy endings.  In that order.  She likes the sex to pop up here and there while the murder is being solved.  And as for happy endings, Joyce believes there is nothing better. 

Joyce prefers fiction that includes history, kings, queens, illegitimate children, memorable eccentrics, manservants, and sex.  And she appreciates unique descriptions during the sex scenes like when breasts are described as ‘alabaster globes.’ 

Joyce enjoys some of the writing of Stuart Woods . . .

Hothouse Orchid

. . . but not all.  It depends on many intangible factors which would take us too long to discuss.  And Joyce does not want to get into a heavy discussion over leisure reading.  It’s for leisure, not for the solving of world peace.  And that’s why she thinks the NY Times Best Seller list is just a load of crap.  She would never just read something because it was on a best seller list.

Joyce enjoys Brenda Joyce, but only if the main character offers a certain feistiness  . . . 

Dark Victory

Author Brenda Joyce’s motto is:  in love and dreams there are no impossibilities.  Do you see why Joyce digs some of her stuff?  Or maybe it’s because her last name is Joyce?

Linda Howard has also written a few books that Joyce thinks are swell . . .

Cover Image

When is the last time you’ve read a really good book?  We mean a really good one.  A book that you couldn’t put down or didn’t want to put down.  A book that you kept thinking about a lot.  Because good Lord, you can’t trust the NY Times Best Seller list at all.  The Help is good, but is it number one material?  Just wondering.  And Elizabeth Gilbert’s Committed to Whining is now number two on the non-fiction best-seller list . . .

Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert: Book Cover

Lord, help us all if we have to endure months and months of whining at the top of the NY Times list again.

The best book we’ve read in the last two years is The Book Thief . . .

The Book Thief (large)

Yes, it was a best seller, but we loved it anyway.  We thought it was extraordinary.  In every possible way.

So, how about you?  What is the best book you’ve read in the last two years?  We’re starting The Joyce List—a list you can trust.  So, please–do tell.  We’re in desperate need of a happy ending.



  1. My favorite book in the past two years was the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer. It’s a book of letters written mostly by a female author to her publisher set during WWII. It’s so clever, I was hooked right away. I laughed out loud and wiped many tears. Both signs of a good book. When I got toward the end I started reading slower and slower because I didn’t want it to end. As soon as I finished, I went to find more books by the author Mary Ann Shaffer only to learn she had recently died and this would be the only book she would ever write. In fact she died before her book was published. She had been a librarian and was urged by her book club to write a book of her own. It took her several years but it was worth it. Her niece finished some of the work with the publisher after Shaffer’s death. Shaffer died knowing her book would be published but not actually seeing it. Her story made me love the book even more and made me wonder what other books she could have written if she had started earlier in life or had lived longer.

  2. Hi Joyce,

    My dear grandma said that every good book has a murder in it. I have to agree, and if not a murder, then at least something fairly grisly and distasteful, along with corsets, strange machinery, opiates and sinister men in black with swirly mustaches. The last really excellent book I read was Slammerkin, by Emma Donoghue.

  3. Thank you for your book ideas—I love the laughing out loud and tears, corsets, and sinister men!! xoxo

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