Tag: Gore Vidal

New York Times fiction best-seller list of January 7, 1973 – Gore Vidal on

Times Machine

Jonathan Livingston Seagull – Richard Bach
The number one best-seller is called Jonathan Livingston Seagull. It is a greeting card bound like a book with a number of photographs of seagulls in flight.

The Odessa File – Frederick Forsyth
At first glance The Odessa File, by Frederick Forsyth, looks to be just another bold hard-hitting attack on the Nazis in the form of a thriller masked as a pseudo-documentary.

Semi-Tough – Dan Jenkins
I fear that I am not the audience Mr. Dan Jenkins had in mind when he wrote his amiable book Semi-Tough, but I found it pleasant enough, and particularly interesting for what it does not go into.

August 1914 – Alexander Solzhenitsyn
As a fiction, August 1914 is not as well managed as Mr. Wouk’s Winds of War. I daresay as an expression of one man’s indomitable spirit in a tyrannous society we must honor if not the art the author.

The Persian Boy – Mary Renault
Can your average beautiful teen-age Persian eunuch find happiness with your average Greek world conqueror who is also a dish and aged only twenty-six? The answer Mary Renault triumphantly gives us in The Persian Boy is ne!

The Camerons – Robert Crichton
Mr. Crichton has elected to address himself to characters that seem to be infinitely remote from him, not to mention his readers. A UK mining town in what I take to be the 1870s (there is a reference to Keir Hardie, the trade unionist).

The Winds of War – Herman Wouk
The Winds of War: 885 pages of small type in which Herman Wouk describes the family of a naval captain just before America enters the Second World War (there is to be a sequel).

On the Night of the Seventh Moon – Victoria Holt
On the Night of the Seventh Moon belongs to a genre I know very little about: the Gothic novel for ladies. But I do recall the films made from the novels of Daphne du Maurier, the queen of this sort of writing. In fact, I once wrote the screenplay for one of her most powerful works, The Scapegoat, in which the dogged (and in this case hounded) Alec Guinness played two people.

The Eiger Sanction – Trevanian
The Eiger Sanction, by Trevanian (just one name) is light years distant from Two from Galilee. For one thing, it is sometimes well-written, though hardly, as the blurb tells us, “vintage Huxley.” Actually The Eiger Sanction is an Ian Fleming byblow and of its too numerous kind pretty good.

Two from Galilee – Marjorie Holmes
Since the film Love Story really took off, what about a love story starring the Mother and the Stepfather of Our Lord? A super idea. And Marjorie has written it.

From the essay:
THE TOP TEN BEST-SELLERS ACCORDING TO THE SUNDAY NEW YORK TIMES AS OF JANUARY 7, 1973
The Selected Essays of Gore Vidal
Gore Vidal

Hollywood explained to some literary snobs

“Shit has its own integrity.” The Wise Hack at the Writers’ Table in the MGM commissary used regularly to affirm this axiom for the benefit of us alien integers from the world of Quality Lit. It was plain to him (if not to the front office) that since we had come to Hollywood only to make money, our pictures would entirely lack the one basic homely ingredient that spells boffo world-wide grosses. The Wise Hack was not far wrong. He knew that the sort of exuberant badness which so often achieves perfect popularity cannot be faked even though, as he was quick to admit, no one ever lost a penny underestimating the intelligence of the American public.

THE TOP TEN BEST-SELLERS ACCORDING TO THE SUNDAY NEW YORK TIMES AS OF JANUARY 7 1973, The Selected Essays of Gore Vidal