Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A Statistical Improbability

At the bookstore reading, someone told me that Best Women’s Travel Writing 2007 is doing quite well. This could just be a rumor, but I hear it has sold in the neighborhood of 50,000 copies, which is a lot for Travelers’ Tales.

I went to the Amazon site to try to confirm this. I was not successful, but I did discover one other interesting tidbit: Amazon, for some reason, always has a section on a book’s information page that lists “Statistically Improbable Phrases” contained within the book. For BWTW 2007, it lists exactly one:

Fire Chicken.

I’m not kidding. The only phrase used in the whole anthology so unusual as to have the word “Improbable” attached to it comes from my story. (It’s the literal translation of the Mandarin Chinese word for turkey.) This somehow strikes me as something to be proud of. Maybe it isn’t; I don’t really understand what it means, even after having read the explanation, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

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