Wool on The NYT List

Yauh Fansou: to know what to do and how to do it

Wheelwright Bin saw Duke Wuhn of the state of Chaih (?-643 B.C.) studying one day. Wheelwright Bin argued that the book would not be helpful to the duke, saying, “I’m a wheelmaker and I’ll take this as an example. When I’m making a wheel, I know it will not be any good if I do it too fast or too slow. I understand how to do it well by myself. As for the art (fansou) of wheel-making, I’ve got it all in my mind, but I just can’t explain it. It’s hard for me to tell or to teach other people.”

Artwork in El Palacio de Velázquez- Madrid, Spain

Last night, the Academy Awards ceremony aired on television. I like seeing who gets an Oscar because it informs me on what great movies I might have missed out on. Likewise, in the book world, I go to The New York Times Best Seller list as a standard of quality. One of my writing dreams would be to get on that list.

Recently, I heard about Hugh Howey, the author of Wool, who self-published his book and made it onto The NYT list. He must yauh fansou. In fact, his novel is optioned and may eventually be seen on the big screen. It’s amazing to see a self-published work make it on the list.

It’s also interesting because the book came out in segments. It started off as a novella (~12,000 word count). Readers ended up loving the first story. Their only complaint? They wanted to read more about the fictional world Howey had constructed, so he set off creating follow-up stories. The Silo Saga is now available in an omnibus edition, and Wool is on my to-read list.

I’d like to give kudos to Howey for accomplishing this feat. And I’m thrilled to see him go from a part-time worker in a university bookstore to a beloved novelist through word of mouth. It’s also encouraging to see this sort of fluid interplay from artist to audience as we enter a new and dynamic world of publishing.

Do you read The New York Times bestsellers? Which one is your current favorite?

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  1. I love book suggestions! Thanks!

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