I tend to check the talks given at various libraries and "new book" podcasts to find new books to read.
The FLOP has some interesing books, but every novel by a "best selling" novelist makes me say "DUH".
“Popular but intellectual, accessible but mysterious” (NPR), Curtis Sittenfield’s bestselling novels—including Prep, American Wife, and Sisterland—offer blueprints of the inner architecture of such diverse female protagonists as a wayward boarding school student, a former First Lady, and an identical twin with psychic abilities. Her most recent novel, Eligible, is a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice starring a Cincinnati-born magazine writer. You Think It, I’ll Say It is a debut story collection featuring a shy Ivy Leaguer, overly intimate acquaintances, a powerful but insecure lawyer, and other characters endemic of an unsure and adrift era.
let's check about diversity:
"wayward boarding school student".
Well, except for my granddaughter, I never met a "boarding school student". Boarding schools in England are the custom, and here in the third world they might be necessary if you live outside the big cities if you want a decent education, but in the USA, only the uberrich send kids to boarding schools.
"former first lady".
Yup. could be interesing if a true character study, but this is actually using a made up character to bash the Bush family.
"a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice starring a Cincinnati-born magazine writer."
UH, the point of P&P was to illustrate how girls had few choices, so had to find a spouse to support them.
Now, Bridget Jones might be P&P rewritten, but a magazine writer in Cincinati? Excuse me? Has the writer ever lived there? the answer is yes: Her mom was the librarian at a boarding school there, and her father worked in investments. Sounds like she grew up in what we ordinary folks called "pill hill" (where lawyers, docs, and other snobs lived), not in the inner city.
and then of course she went to Vassar and then Stanford.
which explains why, despite the claim of "diverse characters", she is mererly exploring the memes of her bubble.
Well it could be worse: a lot of these novelists pretend to write as if they were blacks or immigrants, but their characters still act and think like Vassar graduates in the elite bubble.
then you have this blurb.
story collection featuring a shy Ivy Leaguer, overly intimate acquaintances, a powerful but insecure lawyer, and other characters endemic of an unsure and adrift era.
you know, they are "unsure and adrift" because they have decided to ignore and chuck the past for the idea of personal freedom.
Part of the problem is that novels that don't echo the meme don't get published. Michael O'Brien is one example of an excellent writer turned down because of his themes.
but a historian in the future might want to check out the best seller isle to find about how normal people think and act.
Stephanie Plum, anyone?
another example: there are 30 million caretakers of the elderly and handicapped in the USA. So who writes these people as normal characters (as opposed to PC stories that only are sob stories)? Stephen King and Dean Koontz puts such characters in their stories, but then both of them came from troubled lower class backgrounds, so maybe it shows.