If you haven’t already, it’s time to sign up to the Good Reads Reading Challenge 2013.
I did the 2012 challenge, and I was a little overly ambitious with 100 books. This year, I’ve put myself down for a rather more conservative, though still ambitious 52. That’s still one book a week. Although sometimes it may well be a novella, but hey, so long as it stands on its own as a work of literature, it’s a book and it counts. Sadly, the same applies to the epic ones – so if I do venture towards that copy of war and peace gathering dust on my shelf, that I keep promising myself I will read, it still only counts as 1 book. Ah well, rules are rules, and you will only be cheating yourself.
In any case, some of the best way to get inspiration is to bury yourself in words, so get reading!
For the last couple of years, it’s been Game of Thrones, The Hunger Games and (heaven-forbid) Fifty Shades of Grey (and yes, I have read all three of the books, but that’s an exposition in itself). Before that, it was Steig Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and Twilight. Looking back at this list thus far, I realise that have read them all, bar Twilight (NB Twilight has been recommended to me as a great trashy read, but after only managing to stomach watching half of the overly teenage-angst-ridden movie, I have no impetus to read it – perhaps a classic example of should have read the book first. No offence to Twilight fans intended, I know that my younger self would have been relishing the world that Stephanie Meyer created). Before Twilight, there was Harry Potter. ‘nuff said.
But this is just the thing. The entire book and film market has become hugely fad-led. One big thing that turns the tides of commissioning for all the publishing houses. Who in 2005 would have understood an entire section of a bookstore being dedicated to Paranormal Romance? But there we go. Yes, to a degree, the market has always gone in the direction of the big thing. The children’s market sees it a lot: one year it’s aliens, the next it’s cowboys, the next it’s dinosaurs, who can keep up? Maybe it’s just me, but I really don’t feel that the adult market had this sort of tunnel vision until the last decade or so (man, that makes me feel old). Not that there is anything inherently wrong with these books as fads. Some of them are brilliant works of literature, as well as being thoroughly entertaining. It’s just that it makes the market more volatile, and tending towards a singlular pursuit for a given time. Which basically means that if you are not of the correct trope, you’re unlikely to be published, and if you are of the correct trope, you’d better get busy finishing off that novel (my personal debilitating issue).
The particular reason it worries me is the fact that fairy tales are hot right now. Really hot. Look at the movies that are out: Snow White and the Huntsman (2012) and Red Riding Hood (2011) (as well as the upcoming Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013), which looks dire btw), and much more prominently the TV series Grimm and Once Upon a Time. Granted, except for Once Upon A Time, none of these has made a huge splash, but they are indicator of the fas. I really enjoy watching Once Upon a Time and recommend it highly, but it does hugely dilute my material. It is pretty much a parallel of the work I’ve had in the pipeline for years. Yes, true, there’s no such thing as an original story, and far less so when you are rewriting existing works. The worry is still there though. I have to get my arse in gear, finish and publish my book Four and Twenty Blackbirds in time to latch onto this window, because it may be a decade or more before it comes around again. My only saving grace (thus far) is that I have not yet come across a new fairy tale-esk novel of note. But it’s only a matter of time. More application of arse to seat and pen to paper is required, methinks.
Posted in 4and20BB, Books, Inspiration, Publishing, Writing
Tagged 4and20BB, Before Twilight, Book, Fairy Tales, Fifty Shades of Grey, Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin, Grimm (TV Series), Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Once Upon A Time, Once Upon a Time (TV Series), Publishing, Stephanie Meyer, Stephenie Meyer, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Twilight, Writing
Oh how I love books…
My friends might be familiar with this one, and it’s so good that I thought I would mention it here. The setting for the piece is Type Books in Toronto, Canada, a beauty of a store. Find Type Books: on facebook and twitter @typebooks
Sean Ohlenkamp, his wife, Lisa, and 27 volunteers lovingly made this film, shelving and reshelving books all night, every night. The patience it must have taken! Find Sean Ohlemkap: on facebook and twitter @ohkamp
The original music is composed and performed by Toronto-based Grayson Matthews. Find Grayson Matthews on twitter @GraysonMatthews
Being an independent bookseller is hard, I hope that all this effort and the artistry of this video helps to boost traffic.
As much as I do love bookstores, I have to admit that I am one of the many who has fallen for the wiles of Amazon pricing. Then again, in these cash-strapped days, its almost impossible to justify making an ethical purchasing choice when it impacts upon your bottom line. Especially when the ethical purchasing choice for books has expanded to include the large chain brick and mortar stores who are also feeling the burn and falling by the wayside. There are so many tangible factors that influence book buying – will publishers stop working on these tangible enhancements in favour of intangible bells and whistles in the electronic book realm. I hope not, there is something whimsical about beautifully engineered paper that no amount of interactive artificial intelligence can replace.