Thursday, November 20, 2008


The #1 fiction bestseller in America, according to the just-released list that will be published in the November 30 New York Times, is not Stephen King's new novel Just After Sunset (it's #2) or A Mercy, the new book by Toni Morrison (it's #5), but ... The Christmas Sweater by Glenn Beck.

It's intended to be warm and fuzzy....

...When Eddie was twelve years old, all he wanted for Christmas was a bike. Although his life had gotten harder -- and money tighter -- since his father died and the family bakery closed...Eddie dreamed that somehow his mother would find a way to have his dream bike gleaming beside their modest Christmas tree that magical morning.

What he got from her instead was a sweater. "A stupid, handmade, ugly sweater" that young Eddie left in a crumpled ball in the corner of his room.

Scarred deeply by the realization that kids don't always get what they want, and too young to understand that he already owned life's most valuable treasures, that Christmas morning was the beginning of Eddie's dark and painful journey on the road to manhood. It will take wrestling with himself, his faith, and his family -- and the guidance of a mysterious neighbor named Russell -- to help Eddie find his path through the storm clouds of life and finally see the real significance of that simple gift his mother had crafted by hand with love in her heart....

... certainly warmer and fuzzier than Beck is on television, where (as many of you know) he's fantasized about killing Michael Moore and about the Clintons being "whacked," wondered aloud on separate occasions whether Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama could be the Antichrist, called Hillary Clinton "the stereotypical bitch" and mimicked her shaving her face, compared Al Gore to Hitler, asked a Muslim congressman to "prove to me that you are not working with our enemies," and suggested that Dennis Kucinich's wife married him under the influence of a date-rape drug.

This is the Palin Nation mix: ugly, angry rhetoric and cutesy-wootsy "traditionalist" sentimental glop. There may not be enough people in this nation to elect a president now, but they can get a book to top the charts.

Beck is also presenting The Christmas Sweater as a play and a movie. I think the numbers for the latter will be somewhat lower than those for, say, Twilight.

Beck's publisher, by the way, is Mary Matalin's Threshold Editions, a division of Simon & Schuster. I'm guessing Threshold is a good bet to get Palin's book -- or maybe Zondervan, the Christian imprint of Rupert Murdoch's HarperCollins, which has a new book on the paperback trade nonfiction list:

EVERY NOW AND THEN by Karen Kingsbury (Zondervan, $14.99.) A young man haunted by the death of his father on 9/11 is determined to infiltrate an environmental terrorist group to stop its evil deeds.


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