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For several weeks, the "Kindle Store" panel of the Kindle app on my cell phone has been presenting Margaret Atwood's novel The Handmaid's Tale at the top of its version of the New York Time Nonfiction Bestsellers list:

Needless to say, this is not what the NYT thinks about its list. So first I thought this was a sly joke by some Kindle-app programmer. But the alleged number two Nonfiction Best Seller, Lilac Girls, is also a novel. So probably it's just a bug, though there may be some laughter in heaven.


  1. Martin Coxall said,

    April 10, 2018 @ 6:15 am

    For a long time, although it's sadly been corrected now, on Amazon UK if you searched for "C programming", the highest relevant match was a book called "A Hand In The Bush: the fine art of vaginal fisting".

  2. Ben Orsatti said,

    April 10, 2018 @ 7:23 am

    @Martin Coxall

    Let's hope that's not also a mistake made by automated translation software! Could really put a smudge on one's résumé.

    When I look at the title of that book, and take a step back away from my own perspective as a native AmE speaker, it dawns on me how jam-packed with idiom it is. You have to be familiar with the expression "A bird in the hand…", you have to know the slang meaning of "bush", and you have to be, uh, "worldly" enough to know what "vaginal fisting is".

    A neat little language we've got here.

  3. Rob Wilson said,

    April 10, 2018 @ 12:44 pm

    My county library (Gloucestershire), in its online Subject list, shows 5 books under Fiction – Biography and Autobiography. One example is Sebastian Faulks' "A Broken World: Letters, diaries and memories of the Great War "

  4. J Greely said,

    April 10, 2018 @ 1:38 pm

    My record for peculiar Amazon recommendations was when a search for "isometric paper" two vibrators, two muscle rubs, and a pegging kit. Also a novelty greeting card.

    And, yes, I saved a screenshot.


  5. Bob Coard said,

    April 10, 2018 @ 3:47 pm

    P J O'Rouke's "Eat the Rich, A Treatise on Economics" frequently found amongst cookery books.

  6. carla said,

    April 10, 2018 @ 4:47 pm

    @Bob Coard: "To Serve Man."

  7. Marnanel Thurman said,

    April 11, 2018 @ 4:55 am

    @Martin Coxall: specifically "pointers in c". (Don't ask me how I remember…)

  8. mollymooly said,

    April 11, 2018 @ 6:05 am

    @Ben Orsatti: I think worldliness is not required to interpret a compositional phrase as the sum of its components, though it may be required for some of its components.

  9. chris said,

    April 11, 2018 @ 9:20 pm

    Well, one of the fingers is sometimes referred to as the pointer finger, and I think we can guess what the C stands for…

  10. Robert said,

    April 22, 2018 @ 9:55 am



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