Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

1993: The Year in Books

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

1993: The Year in Books

Article excerpt

In the publishing world, the old adage still rings true: The more things change the more they stay the same. Last January, national best-seller lists included books by stalwarts Stephen King, Anne Rice, John Grisham and the upstart Robert James Waller. Nonfiction titles included memoirs - of a sort - by a range of disparate personalities such as Madonna, Earvin "Magic" Johnson, H. Norman Schwarzkopf and Kathie Lee Gifford.

At this writing, most fiction lists remain the province of King, Rice, Grisham and yes, Waller. To their credit, three of the foursome produced new titles that promptly ascended to best-seller status. The fourth, Waller, seems poised for similar success with his "Slow Waltz In Cedar Bend," the follow-up to his remarkably popular "The Bridges of Madison County."

Waller managed to enrapture millions of readers - while enraging others - with a tale of a romantic encounter between Robert Kincaid, a manly photographer, and Francesca Johnson, an unfulfilled farm wife. "Bridges" crossed over from the normally narrow margins of literary society to the larger more lucrative world of popular culture. The novel was even the subject of a cunning parody in "Doonesbury" ("The Washed-Out Bridges Of County Madison") and spun off a CD of related songs, performed by Waller himself. Now that may be a first: How often do books spawn soundtracks?

In nonfiction news, Madonna, Magic and Schwarzkopf have been supplanted by rising stars of the electronic media, radio personality Howard Stern ("Private Parts") and sitcom king Jerry Seinfeld ("SeinLanguage"). Feminist pioneer Betty Friedan continues to find a willing audience with "The Fountain Of Age," which looks at life after age 60. Clarissa Pinkola Estes is probably the only author from last year who remains firmly established on nonfiction lists. Her "Women Who Run With The Wolves" re-examines myths and folktales from a woman's point of view.

Maya Angelou began 1993 with a recitation of "On The Pulse Of Morning" at President Bill Clinton's Inauguration. …

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