I don't post here a lot but always read what others are reading. I loved the Snow Child, I'm recommending it for my book group for next month. Another book I loved just as much is "Me Before You" by Jojo Moyes. I was so emotionally caught up in this -- that's all I'll say.
For non-fiction readers, I'd recommend "Behind the Beautiful Forevers," a National Book Award winner and "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed.
At the moment I'm reading "The Next Time You See Me" by Holly Goddard Jones, recommended for fans of "Gone Girl."
We had a snow day Tuesday so I built a fire and finished The End of Your Life Book Club, went out to shovel, and then read The School of Essential Ingredients. My daughter just finished it and wanted to be able to discuss it. Makes you want to put the book down and head to the kitchen. Just ordered the sequel to it... something about "mixing". Fast read.
Okay, this sucks. Because of a dispute between Simon & Schuster and Barnes & Noble, there are a bunch of books that are not on sale at B&N. I've read several of these, including the fabulous Love Water Memory by Jennie Shortridge (it comes out April 2) and Heart Like Mine by Amy Hatvany. I can't imagine what it must be like to be one of these authors. You work SO hard on your book and then, because of some nonsense with big companies that is completely out of your control, customers of the biggest book store chain in the world won't be able to walk in and buy your book.
Buzz, Balls & Hype : Have You Seen These Books?
I'm passing this on and urging everyone to hunt down these titles, especially Love Water Memory, which is WONDERFUL.
I'm still reading A Tale for the Time Being. I love it, but I just haven't had as much time to read as I'd like. I just got an electronic galley of a collection of Italo Calvino's letters that I'm really looking forward to reading. I'm hoping it'll lend itself to a few pages or letters a week. It seems like the perfect thing for those little waits in lines at the post office and the grocery store.
I pre-ordered it on my Kindle. It's not out yet.
I was killing some time at the library last week, reading my Kindle (I just needed a quiet place to kill an hour, so figured this was a good option, and it was). On the way out, I looked at the shelf of "newer" books and there was "Fifty Shades of Grey." And our library has a machine to check you out, so I wouldn't have to be embarrassed to have a librarian check it out for me. I read it over the weekend.
I have a friend who is a published author (two books so far). This is what I wrote to her:
"Big deal. Beautiful woman (virgin) attracts the attention of handsome, rich man. They have kinky sex, for which she is handsomely rewarded. He has 'issues,' which will apparently be revealed in a sequel. I didnít care enough about these people to read any farther."
Her response to me was full of interesting information:
"I didn't make it through the first book, mostly because I found the actual writing to be so atrocious, not because of prudery. My other big issue with the book and all the attention it has received though, is that I'm really worried about the message young women will get from this story - I don't like the idea that he badgers her into this life of kinky sex and she perceives him as someone with, as you say, "issues" who needs to be helped. Rather than as someone with "issues" who in real life would more likely become increasingly domineering, controlling and abusive over time.
I don't understand the appeal at all. I see it as a triumph of marketing. Truly an absolute marketing triumph. (And also a strong dose of having the right connections - more on that later in my rant.)
Most writers I know, even ones that write erotica, are appalled at how successful it's become. She originally posted this on a Fan Fiction website for fans of Twilight and the characters were Bella and Edward. (Writing "fan fiction" is a popular tradition among science fiction and fantasy fans that has become more widespread to other genres thanks to the Internet.) She was asked to remove the stories from the fan fiction site since so many minors visited that site. So the fact that she pretty much plagiarized someone else's characters and than posted it in an irresponsible location bugs me too.
Anyway, a lot of older Twilight fans loved it, so she self-published it as an ebook for them - changing the main characters names, but widely posting about what she was doing at various Twilight fan websites, so that it was a very open secret that the characters are "really" Edward and Bella. A LOT of what drove the initial sales of the book was Twilight readers who were curious about her "alternate" version of the story.
And then of course, there's the fact that her husband is a senior partner in the Brill Agency, one of the largest entertainment management companies in the country. He brokered a deal for it to get published by a mainstream publisher and to also sell the movie rights. And the rest is marketing history.
I think about half the people who read it react as you do, but the problem is the sales have been so massive, it's now driving everything in the romance industry. Agents and publishers expect more sex, hotter sex, and especially weirder sex in all romance books now. And not a lot of writers really want to do that. In explaining why she started writing mysteries, Janet Evanovich (who was originally a romance writer for Harlequin) said, "I ran out of positions." And after writing Love Capri Style, I know exactly how she feels.
I'm really hoping to focus more on mystery and suspense in the future so that I can completely avoid the whole "50 Shades" effect, because I have a hard time writing stuff that steamy with a straight face. I did a book signing at the library yesterday with a group of other authors, and it is so tiresome at this point to have people immediately ask if your book is anything like 50 Shades of Grey, which EVERYONE seems to ask now when they hear you write any type of romance, even romantic suspense."
If any of you read it and enjoyed, more power to you. I'm headed back to "Les Miserables" and some good old murder mysteries.
I read a sample of 50 Shades a while back, and your friend is right: the writing was beyond atrocious. The subject matter wasn't what put me off, it was the childish writing. I'll pass on the whole series. When I saw Dr. Oz pushing that garbage on his show one time, I was done with him too. :lol
Not done with Joe Hill, however - my new favorite writer! I finished Heart Shaped Box this weekend and am going to go dig up anything else I can find of his...
Heart Shaped Box was a real good time. I haven't gotten around to Horns, but his new one NOS4A2, looks interesting.
I have a few friends who've read the trilogy and loved it and, to be honest, I sort of lost some respect for them. These are people I considered to be fairly literate. Now I don't trust their judgement or recommendations where books are concerned.
I've never read the books, nor will I ever. I HAAAAATE fan fiction. If those writers had any talent, they'd come up with their own characters instead of stealing someone else's. Plus, it offends me that someone like that got a book deal when FAR superior writers haven't achieved that kind of success. The wife of a h.s. friend of mine writes erotica and, while her sales have gone up a bit, there is a lot of cynicism and bitterness among erotica writers over the success of those books.
There's a video out there of Charles Dance from Game of Thrones reading an excerpt from the first Grey book and, while I'd like to say that him reading it makes it sound better than it is, it really doesn't. It just makes the writing sound even worse.
It's laughable that E.L. James is apparently writing a book about writing. Maybe she should learn to write first.
I just finished Gillian Flynn's other two novels, Sharp Objects and Dark Places. This is dark stuff, far more so than Gone Girl. I know a lot of people were meh about Gone Girl, but I highly recommend Sharp Objects. The whodunit seems obvious but it takes an unexpected turn - plus, the narrator is an incredibly compelling, tragic heroine.
About to start the latest Dennis Lehane, Live by Night. This one is also set in post WWI Boston, like another favourite Lehane novel, The Given Day. Looking forward to it.