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Tuesday, November 30, 2004
Amazon's Top 10 Editors' Picks: Romance

The list is at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/feature/-/546915/ref%3Ded%5Fbb%5Fbb%5Feditors%5From/002-0687423-3002451.

After reading this list, I'm beginning to see that the Waldenbooks list was a veritable treasure trove of innovation. Well, not really, but at least the Waldenbooks list had more variety than this one. Don't get me wrong, some of these books were great. For starters, Nora Roberts' Northern Lights got a DIK (desert island keeper) review at All About Romance, and that one does sound innovative because the main character is the hero rather than the heroine. (If anyone can pull that off, it's Nora Roberts!) And at least this list does include Jennifer Crusie's Bet Me.

On the other hand, many of the other books did not exactly stir up a lot of excitement on-line, and while most got a B or B+ at AAR, Stephanie Laurens' "The Ideal Bride got a C+. Now, I could understand this list if these same books had gotten a lot of readers exited, whatever the reviews were, but I don't remember that many people chatting up, say, Amanda Quick's "The Paid Companion" on either AAR's boards or AARlist. Are the "off-line" readers really that different from the on-line readers? Or are they simply buying the same authors and same types of books because they don't have a good source of reviews and are afraid to try something new because they've been burned so often?

By the way, on the Amazon list, notice the way that the Publisher's Weekly review for the tenth book says "Arrogant, alpha-male heroes with hearts of gold are a dime a dozen in romance novels, and the hero of Smith's (One Wild Night, etc.) formulaic Regency does little to distinguish himself from the pack." So why is this book in the list?! What makes it so special when more deserving authors were left off? Not that Barbara Dawson Smith is a bad author, although I would fit her more in the list of "slick and accomlished" authors, but I don't think she's one of the ten best romance authors of the year.

And where are the paranormals?

I recognize even less of the names on this list than the Walden...

You mentioned the bad Publisher Weekly's review for one of the Amazon top 10, which reminded me that Kleypas' latest got a starred review but it's not there. Maybe they just do it as a grab bag: dig in and whichever book you get is a top ten. LOL.
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