Monday, July 15, 2013


For a variety of reasons, I have become familiar with the various "lists" used by Amazon books. You probably know about the Top 100 Books and perhaps the Top Kindle sales list but Amazon literally has hundreds of these.

Take for instance How to Win Friends and Influence People written by Dale Carnegie, first published in 1936. It is currently the 387th best selling book on Amazon. But it also qualifies on three other uniquely Amazonian lists:

Then there is the current hot summer offering from Dan Brown - Inferno. Currently the best selling book on Amazon (well at least it is this hour, Amazon updates all of its list every hour). Inferno also rates a #1 on several other lists.

How can the #1 book be #7 on the U.S. Literature and Fiction list? Blame it on the algorithm that runs the lists. But my point today is not about how Amazon rates every book it handles but what I have discovered about the Young Adult reading category. YA for those not yet in the know, refers to books marketed to the age demographic 12 to 18.

And what are the teens and pre-teens reading these days? Very dark fiction. Stories lean heavily to dystopia, post-apocalypse, plague, collapse, invasion and oh yes, vampires. Sure there is young love mixed in but a lot of heroes and heroines go the way of Romeo and Juliet, who if you forgot, ended up quite dead.

Psychologists and anthropologists are having a field day with the overwhelming rise of darkness in teen fiction. All kinds of phobias, psychosis and ominous predictions are being forwarded. My only suggestion is that you give The Lord of the Rings to any teenagers who cross your path. I considered Dante's Inferno since they are almost there anyway but if you really want to stir the morose, why not just give them Atlas Shrugged.

Yikes! that darkness stuff tends to rub off on you.

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