SocraticGadfly: Top books: Amazon readers weigh in

November 14, 2007

Top books: Amazon readers weigh in

And, so do Amazon’s editors. Read both their lists of top-100 books. From the editors, on the nonfiction side, there’s sublists of top-10s in current events, history and general nonfiction. Customers have top-10 lists of biographies, history and general nonfiction.

A definite favorite of mine, Chistopher Hitchens’ “God is Not Great,” was No. 5 among all books, on the customers’ top 100. Say what you will about Hitch on the Iraq War, this was better than Richard Dawkins, a fair amount better than Dan Dennett, and far, far better than Sam Harris on the last year or two’s spate of atheism apologias.

Why? Two reasons.

First is that you get Hitch’s acerbic wit.

Second is that, unlike Dawkins and Dennett, who generally go light on Eastern religions, and Harris, who positively cozies up to Buddhism, Hitchens is ready to say the Dalai Lama has just as much no clothes as the Pope or Pat Robinson.

Gore’s “Assault on Reason” was No. 14 with customers; Greenspan’s book was the only higher-ranked political book.

Jeffrey Toobin’s “The Nine” topped editors’ current events top 10. Greenspan was second, followed by Robert Draper’s new W bio.

Colbert’s “I Am America,” at No. 10, was tops among political books on the editors’ top-100. They had Hitch at No. 22.

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