Adventures of a Hollywood Secretary: Her Private Letters from Inside the Studios of the 1920s caught my attention when I read the mini-review in the New Yorker's Briefly Noted section. So much of Hollywood history is glossed over that these personal notes (from the secretary for Sam Goldwyn & Cecil B. DeMille) would have to be somewhat illuminating, I figured. And since my birthday was coming up, I popped onto Amazon and wishlisted it.
And I noticed that people who bought it also bought An American Heroine in the French Resistance: The Diary And Memoir of Virginia d'Albert-Lake. Similar books -- personal documents from women, sort of unhidden at the same time. But this book was reviewed in the same New Yorker Briefly Noted section. Now if you buy An American Heroine with Hollywood Secretary, you get a discount.
Are New Yorker readers really that predictable? Do we just blindly by what the New Yorker reviews? Well in fact we are. My highly unscientific survey reveals that
Curiously (or maybe not so?) it seems to work best for fiction. People who buy The Parliament of Man: The Past, Present and Future of the United Nations don't care so much about The Prince of Marshes (Iraq) or The Sack of Rome. Despite an evident common thread.
So it seems that if you have a book reviewed in Briefly Noted, it can't hurt to have a nice buy-me sounding books reviewed with you.