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Thread: What are you reading?

  1. #6691
    FORT Fogey libgirl2's Avatar
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    Re: What are you reading?

    Quote Originally Posted by Critical View Post
    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 am all for a fun read... I read quite a bit of Jackie Collins in my day and I love the Stephanie Plum books, but I always took and take them for the juicy fun they are. I did eventually stop reading Collins as it stared to bore me (I was much younger when I read her books). But these books I just don't get. My library owns 15 copies of this book. As you say there are other better authors who's books languish on the shelf or they don't get a great book deal. I would kill to get my hands on some books for our collection, yet I can't.
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  2. #6692
    Bitten Critical's Avatar
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    Re: What are you reading?

    Quote Originally Posted by AJane View Post
    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.
    I got a galley of the new Lehane a while back but haven't read it. I LOVED The Given Day. I'll be curious to hear your take on the Live by Night.

    libgirl - I read Jackie Collins when I was in high school - maybe 15 or 16 - and enjoyed them, but then I got bored. Same with Sidney Sheldon. Now if I want something fun and "easy," I'll go with Jane Green or a mystery/thriller. There are so many great books out there and my house is over-run with them. I'm not going to waste my time on crap.
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  3. #6693
    FORT Fogey KatesMom's Avatar
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    Re: What are you reading?

    Quote Originally Posted by AZChristian View Post
    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 don't generally disagree with anything your friend wrote. I have read all 3 books and I will say, hands down, the first book was the worst for me. I really didn't like it and almost didn't read the rest. I was actually glad I did because the characters and stories definitely changed in the later books. I do think the popularity of Twilight is why these books are so popular. It is well known she based it loosely on Twilight - and seeing the main characters, even the good looking friend and relationship with her father, I totally see it. There are a lot of Twilight fans that are grown women (I am one of them) so that gave her a built in audience. That being said, your friend's critique is not the first I have seen voicing the same comments. I just wanted to add my two cents worth that if people are judging the series on the first book, they really shouldn't, because I thought it was the worst of the 3. It actually got the point where I started skipping over the dirty stuff, because it was just too much!!!

  4. #6694
    Bitten Critical's Avatar
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    Re: What are you reading?

    I had to put down A Tale for the Time Being for a while to read my next book club selection, Master of Shadows by Mark Lamster. It's about the secret diplomatic career of Peter Paul Rubens. Lots about political intrigue and, of course, painting. Really good stuff.

    Katesmom - EL James wrote those stories in a (Twilight) fan fic forum, so they're not loosely based on the characters. Pretty much all she did was change the names when she got the book deal. Just another example of why I hate fan fiction.
    Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.' - Isaac Asimov

    I was thinking of the immortal words of Socrates, who said, "... I drank what?"

  5. #6695
    FORT Fogey mesachick's Avatar
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    Re: What are you reading?

    Right now I am reading Jodi Picoult's, The Storyteller. Really good so far, but I am not very far in it yet.

    I just plowed through Harlan Coben's new book, Six Years. Good, fast read! I've read most of his books, including the Myron Bolitar series.

    And before that I just finished The Dark Monk, the second book in The Hangman's Daughter series by Oliver Potzsch. I love historical fiction!
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  6. #6696
    FORT Fogey cablejockey's Avatar
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    Re: What are you reading?

    I am reading everything I can get by Linwood Barclay--my new favorite author. Right now its The Accident--good stuff.
    The Accident: A Thriller by Linwood Barclay - Reviews, Discussion, Bookclubs, Lists

  7. #6697
    Anarchist AJane's Avatar
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    Re: What are you reading?

    Well, I'm almost done Live by Night. It follows Joe Coughlin, the youngest brother of Danny Coughlin, of The Given Day. Where Danny was a good guy, Joe lives as a thug/gangster, working for the Irish & Italian gangs of the '20's. So I kind of thought this book would be a little of The Given Day (a book I loved), and a little of The Departed and Gangs of New York (two movies I loved). What it actually does is remind me very much of an old Jackie Collins (yes, that Jackie Collins) series called Chances - anyone remember that? Gino & Lucky Santangelo? They even made a couple TV movies out of them? (And OMG, I just googled the books for the hell of it and she's STILL writing them! There are seven frickin' novels!) Anyway, Joe really, really reminds me of Gino Santangelo. And I used to like taking those novels to the beach and...call me a book snob, but I expected a little more from Dennis Lehane.
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  8. #6698
    9/11/2001 NEVER FORGET. Eastcoastmom's Avatar
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    Re: What are you reading?

    Just finished Anne Tyler's Breathing Lessons. I had never read any of her novels before although I did see the film of her book, The Accidental Tourist, way back when with Geena Davis and William Hurt. I am still digesting the book and although I can't say it was a terrible read, I am surprised it won the Pulitzer Prize, quite honestly.

  9. #6699
    Culture slut geek the girl's Avatar
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    Re: What are you reading?

    Linwood Barclay's great! Love the mix of edge-of-your seat suspense and suburbia. His latest, Trust Your Eyes, was a keeper, with a sneaky little - no, actually - massive! twist buried in the very last few sentences. Apparently, he's currently writing a sequel to No Time For Goodbye, his first standalone thriller and arguably his best to date. Due out next year, I think. Lisa Unger is another author who excels in suburban thrillers. Her Hollows books, Fragile, and Darkness My Old Friend? Highly recommended. If you like Barclay and Coben, you'll devour these.

    As for what I'm reading myself right now, it's Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye, a historical crime novel set in 1840's New York. Am only about 50 pages in, but so far very impressed by the historic detail.
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    Re: What are you reading?

    Quote Originally Posted by AJane View Post
    ...What it actually does is remind me very much of an old Jackie Collins (yes, that Jackie Collins) series called Chances - anyone remember that? ...Anyway, Joe really, really reminds me of Gino Santangelo. And I used to like taking those novels to the beach and...call me a book snob, but I expected a little more from Dennis Lehane.
    Since Dennis Lehane is one of my favourite writers, and Jackie Collins one of my least favourite (I consider her to be probably the worst writer making that much money, ever), I share your dismay. I haven't read the book yet, but now I'm not really looking forward to it.
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