I’ve written about Harper Lee multiple times in recent weeks, and today will likely be the last time I do. Go Set a Watchman sold 1.1 million copies in its first six days of release. Even though there’s been controversy surrounding the book since the day it was announced.
Am I surprised by this? No. But it is somewhat depressing to realize. Harper Lee is a literary icon. She’s supposed to be beloved and respected and all these great things by her fans and peers alike, right? But it’s clear to me that her readers only care about what she has or has not written rather than the person doing the writing. I fully understand that people will buy any book with her name on it, but one would think that some people would just not buy it because it may or may not have been published almost entirely without her permission.
People can think of the entire situation however they like, but this is what I think of it. I have a real issue with supporting the exploitation of an elderly woman for money. Because that’s what I truly believe has happened here. And sure you can say that your $15 or whatever it cost you to get the book isn’t even a drop in the bucket when it comes to what this book will earn, but that’s just offering a justification for your actions. A justification that I have no interest in.
I’m pretty certain that y’all know by now that I track EVERYTHING when it comes to my reading. I track how many books I read. I track which series I’m reading. I track the amount time I spend reading each year. I track the number of pages I read. I track which books I’ve read from the Amazon list. I have a master list of every print book I own. And I have an Excel spreadsheet that tells me every author I own books by and how many. See, I know everything. But up until last week I never actively tracked the number of books I was buying.
Amazon keeps track of every order I’ve ever made, but this year not every book has been purchased from the online giant. But I was able to put together a list that includes every book I’ve purchased in 2015. I know the total number of books. I know the retailer. And I know the price of each. And I know if they’re new or used at the time of purchase. All good information to have when December comes around and I’m analyzing data for my yearly recap, right?
Here’s what I found. I’ve bought 15 books this year. And I’ve read seven. I’d like for that number to even out a bit more before the year ends. And I’m sure it will. So tell me, do you know how many books you’ve bought this year? Or how much you’ve spent on books in the first seven months of 2015?
In recent weeks there has been a lot of controversy down here in some Texas libraries. Some people have tried really hard to ban books. And they haven’t succeeded.
There are two books that immediately come to mind when I think of this recent nonsense. I don’t remember the titles, but one was a children’s book that dealt with transgender issues, and I believe the other dealt with growing up as an LGBT person. Also a children’s book. These are just the two examples that come to mind. This post is NOT about what you think when you see a trans person or what you think of so-called “adult” issues appearing in children’s books. Because right now the content is irrelevant.
These people (and there have been A LOT of them) have tried to get these books either out of the library or in a different section of the library because they don’t agree with them or their placement. Think about that. Now think about how many books are published each year that you don’t agree with. But you’re not in your local library trying to change which books they carry or how they display their books. And I’m definitely not doing that.
People need to just accept that the world doesn’t revolve around everything they believe in because I know I’m not the only one getting sick of this crap about banning or censoring books. There wouldn’t be any books in the library if everyone conducted themselves this way.
Have there been any high profile incidents of people trying to ban books near you recently?
I’m talking about everything that comes before college. How much are students actually required to write? I remember in second grade having to write some kind of essay or paper in class. I think we were being taught something about the format. Similar assignments were given during the rest of elementary school. The writing was always done in class.
But I’m sitting here thinking about my middle school years and I can’t remember writing anything substantial during that three year span. And then in high school we generally wrote one major paper a year and spent months on it. I wrote about Dracula once, violence in video games, and two topics that I can’t seem to recall at the moment. All of that is to say that I was not forced to write hardly at all until I stepped foot on a college campus. And I think this could be a contributing factor when it comes to people saying writing is a dying art. Imagine if millions of students across the country have similar experiences. And then they enroll in a degree program that is not writing-intensive. Mine was, but my degree plan had a grand total of two math classes. College algebra and Stats. I’d prefer a class that required 15 essays in 15 weeks over stats every day of the week. But I imagine there are MANY programs that are just the opposite and have very little writing.
All I’m saying is that perhaps it isn’t the media or non-writers who are tossing around this myth that writing is a dying art, maybe it’s the entire education system that’s pushing this idea along. I don’t know. How much were you required to write in school?
On this day in 2014 I published Listen to Audiobooks?.
I know y’all have likely read all about the mysteriousness of Go Set a Watchman. No, I’m not talking about the book itself. I’m talking about how it came to be found and published. There are plenty of details that just make you raise your eyebrows. But there’s more to it than what you’ve read.
Yesterday I was reading some articles in my CNN app and I came across one about Harper Lee. The title of the article was something about her being a four book author. Before I start criticizing everyone involved, let me just say that I know this happens with prominent writers. Short stories, poems, and books always seem to be popping up once they’re dead. I get that. Once they’re gone there’s someone else in control of everything and money motivates people to do just about anything. I get it.
But what’s happening now is blatantly disrespectful to Harper Lee. I’ve read numerous times now that when Go Set a Watchman was allegedly found, there was another unpublished manuscript. AND that there may be another manuscript floating around out there and only a few people know about. I don’t even doubt that these things may be true. Because Harper Lee likely didn’t just stop writing once she became an award-winning author. I’m sure there are unpublished stories out there. But right now she has no control over what people are doing around her and that’s just sad.
I realize that there are worse things happening to people all the time, but how would you feel if you had people going through all of your affairs and being able to do very little about it? You wouldn’t like it, and my guess is that Harper Lee is no different if she understands what’s happened. I don’t care if she has 15 books out there and the true next great American novel, Harper Lee deserves some respect just like we all do. And right now she’s just not getting it from those around her.
What do you think about unpublished manuscripts suddenly being “found” only after Lee’s sister (and lawyer) has died?
On this day in 2014 I published Kindle Unlimited Hmm….
I told you guys yesterday about how impressed I was during my first experience at Half Price Books, and I promised to show y’all which books I came away with. It looks like I make good on my promises. Sometimes. Ha. Anyway, I’m just going to show you the books now. Normally when I glance over book haul posts I see long lists of covers and descriptions of the books included. I’m not going to do that because those are almost always ultra popular YA titles that everyone knows about. I’m pretty sure you’ve never even heard of half my books, so no point in me acting like everyone will know them. To the books!
I know you can see the titles just fine, but I’ll tell you the book titles anyway.
Mary Mary (Alex Cross #11) by James Patterson
The Strain (The Strain #1) by Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan
LA Requiem (Elvis Cole #8) by Robert Crais
Fahrenheit 451 by Rad Bradbury
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Dracula by Bram Stoker
I have two interesting points about these books before I leave you alone for the rest of the day. First, I’ll be making videos for three of these titles. And second, three of the books are actually new! I bet you can’t even tell which ones aren’t. Remember what I said about the books available at Half Price Books?
Have you read any of these books? Tell me about the books you’ve added to your collection recently.
On this day in 2014 I published Writer’s Privilege is a Real Thing.
Four times a week I drive right by my local Half Price Books store. I do it twice. And my thinking has always been that I don’t have any reason to go into Barnes and Noble, so I likely don’t need to be going into Half Price Books. Oh, how wrong I was.
I signed up for their mailing list a long time ago and maybe two or three times a year they’ll send out coupons for specific days ranging from 30 percent off an item to 50 percent off. I’d never used the coupons before because I’m stubborn. This weekend I decided I might as well use one and see what it’s like in the store. It was heaven! First, there were way more people shopping than I expected on a late Sunday afternoon. And second, it made me want to buy ALL THE BOOKS. I don’t know what the exact percentages are, but I’d say that maybe 90 percent of all the books they sell are used. I’m pretty sure that I’ve mentioned dozens of times that I don’t care much for used books. But you get to pick from thousands of hardcovers at less (usually) than half the price the publishers set for them. Which means paperbacks are typically in the $3-$5 range. AND I found many books to be in exceptional condition.
But there’s more if I still haven’t convinced you. They obviously need to get those used books from somewhere, right? Well they’ll buy yours! I’m not someone who would ever sell my books to them because I have no desire to get rid of any of them, but I know people are always trying to figure out what to do with all the books they don’t need. I say take them to Half Price Books and be sure that someone else will enjoy them at some point in the future.
You can find your local location here.
I’ll show you my first haul from Half Price Books tomorrow.
Have you ever sold your books to or bought from Half Price Books?
On this day in 2014 I published Book Club, Anyone?.
I remember the day earlier this year when it was announced that a new book would be forthcoming from Harper Lee. I remember because I basically broke the news to my readers. I saw a tweet that morning and posted on here shortly thereafter. But I also remember there being controversy surrounding this new book immediately.
How was it ACTUALLY discovered? Could Harper Lee even sign off on its publication at her age and mental state? How does this book relate to To Kill a Mockingbird? All these questions and so many more that have not really been answered in the months since that day.
Y’all know I don’t read book reviews. I don’t like them. I’m not interested in them. And I don’t typically care what any other person thinks about particular books. But I’ve made an exception to my own rule several times in recent days. I’ve wanted to see what professional reviewers were thinking of Lee’s new book. I imagine many of you have done the same. I’ll share all of my thoughts with y’all once I read the book because I don’t want to alter your thoughts or expectations about it before you even get a chance to read it.
What are your expectations for Go Set a Watchman?
On this day in 2014 I published Take me to the Library.
I repeat, there’s going to be a movie based on the bestselling series by R.L. Stine! I don’t know how I haven’t heard or read anything about this until they released the trailer for it. As soon as I started watching I realized that I no longer remember any of those books that I enjoyed so much as a kid. But it doesn’t matter because of how they decided to do the movie!
Here, I’ll just let you watch for yourself.
Isn’t that a really cool idea? I think so. And I’m excited. I won’t say that I’ll be seeing it in theaters because I probably won’t, but I still think this movie is a LONG time coming.
I also have a confession to make. On my About Me page I say that a book in the Crispin series was the first book I remember reading. And that’s a lie. Because I read so many books by R.L. Stine when I was younger that I couldn’t possibly come up with an exact number. I remember having stacks of those books lying all around the house. I remember ordering several of them at a time from book orders. Now that I really think about it, R.L Stine may be the author who helped me realize how much I enjoyed reading.
Maybe I will go see the movie after all that.
Are you looking forward to a Goosebumps movie? I am.
On this day in 2014 I published Ask Your Reader.
There’s a book missing from The New York Times most recent nonfiction bestseller list, according to Ted Cruz. His book. Which he claims should have placed high on the list. But the paper has stuck by its list and by its methodology for coming up with the bestsellers. Their methodology is largely a secret as they do not just look at overall sales numbers like other publications.
But Cruz has said the omission is because the paper is against him politically. I think he should probably do a little research before making a statement like that. I mean, does he think the paper is more in line with Bill O’Reilly? Anyway, I don’t see why this matters. I’m sure Ted Cruz has sold and will sell plenty of books. Ted Cruz is a presidential “candidate” and I think he should be worrying about more important things than The New York Times bestseller list.
I’m from Texas and I don’t see Ted Cruz as having any chance at the White House in 2016, but he definitely won’t be moving into the the Oval Office if things like this are near the top of his list of importance. But I’ve come to expect him to worry about all the wrong things during his time in public office, so this really doesn’t surprise me at all.
Do you care at all that Ted Cruz was left off the most prominent bestseller list in the country? I most certainly do not.
On this day in 2014 I published Saturday Selects: Guys.