Sunday, February 11, 2007

Richard, Judy and The Girls

Readers in the United Kingdom know that, when it comes to influencing the reading habits of television viewers, no one beats out Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan, the married co-stars of Richard & Judy, a variety show that airs in the early evening, five days a week on Channel 4.

The format of the show is familiar the world over: couches, celebrities, light banter plus enough books that The Guardian has referred to the duo as “the most powerful people in publishing.”

Powerful enough, for example, that when the pair recently chose a relatively unknown Canadian’s sophomore novel to highlight on their show, the book started shooting up UK sales charts.

The Girls by Lori Lansens, first published in Canada in 2005, had enjoyed positive reviews and modest sales, but nothing like what happened when the book got the nod from Richard & Judy. According to The Chronicle Herald:
Just an hour after the program aired, the book had already jumped from number 7 on the bestseller list to number 3. The Girls was only kept out of the number 1 position by pre-orders for J.K. Rowling’s upcoming Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the adult and children’s editions of which held the top two spots.
Author Lansens, who recently moved to Los Angeles where her husband is a director on 24, told the CBC that “For an author, this sort of thing is like winning the lottery.”

More authors will be feeling that love soon. On February 14th, Richard and Judy’s pick is Restless by William Boyd. On the 21st, look for Love in the Present Tense by Catherine Ryan Hyde. On the 28th the pick is Griff Rhys Jones’ Semi-Detached which will be followed by This Book Will Save Your Life by A.M. Homes on March 7th.


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