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Thursday, June 9, 2016

Best Sellers and Restaurants

"I only read books from the New York Times Best Seller List."


I was at one of the season's many graduation parties. Veggie platters, mortar boards, and conversational patter were abundant. I'm always interested to hear what people are reading and how they make their choices, but this one stopped me.

"Only? As in, never, ever reading anything else?"

"I know I'll find something I'll be happy with. It makes my choice easy."

I get it. Time is precious and when a reader is deciding to spend hours wrapped around a book, he or she wants to choose wisely. The NYT list makes it easy. Of the thousands of books available, it's great to have one go-to list that shows what the masses are buying. It's a best seller list, not a best book ever list. If copies are flying off the shelves, the book must have something pretty darned good going for it. I've defaulted to the list myself when I've hunted about for my next great read, but to never venture from it is, well, horrible.

For me, reading is an adventure and stumbling upon something I didn't know I was going to love is pure delight, like finding a new favorite restaurant. If I limited myself only to eateries that the masses love, I would miss the intimate experience that the local bistro offers. I love Bertucci's Lump Crab Stuffed Mushrooms and Classic Bruschetta, but Ipswich's Zabaglione's Ravioli all'Aragosta - lobster ravioli sauteed with baby shrimp, scallops, crabmeat, asparagus tops, roasted red peppers,and scallion tossed with herb butter and flamed with Sambuca - is to die for. 

I'm happy to report my friend has graduated from the NYT list. Shannon Kirk's thriller Method 15/33 is on her beach read list along with Ray Daniel's Boston-based mysteries and anything by Hank Phillippi Ryan. Prolific New England cozy author Edith Maxwell's series will be sampled alongside Holly Robinson's women's fiction. 

Like finding her new favorite cafe, my friend can savor the excitement of discovering these authors...and telling all her friends.