My BIGGEST Book Haul Ever!

When I quit my job at Half Price Books recently I had a tough choice to make. I could either buy all of the books I wanted before my employee discount was no longer valid or I could just forget about them. I of course chose to buy.

This is the result. There were so many I couldn’t get them all in the picture for the thumbnail. Ha!

Now watch! It’s super quick!

The Importance of Genres

Sometimes people say things that make no sense. Like comparing the work of two authors who have no business being compared. I think it’s a little ridiculous to say that genres limit creativity by placing labels on one’s work.

No one is saying that certain genres need very specific stories or characters. I mean, just look at young adult. Sure we have an expectation of what to expect when starting a new young adult book, but that doesn’t mean every book is the same. Which goes for every genre.

The fact is (to me) that we need genres. Let me make a comparison here. Imagine if we didn’t have genres in music. Then we wouldn’t have radio stations genre-specific. And maybe that’d be interesting to some, but not to me. Imagine a Madonna song followed by Kendrick Lamar and then Blake Shelton. It would be odd.

Now let’s get back to books. Imagine going into a bookstore and there is not a single label or sign anywhere in the store to tell you which section you’re in. Why? No genres. So the entire store is alphabetized by author. The store is one big blob of books. Business books. Young adult. Mystery. History. Art. All shelved together with no “label”.

Think about this. How many times have you read a book, series, or author and immediately wondered what to read next? I haven’t done it much recently, but I have done it. So you play around on Amazon or Google or maybe even on the author’s website trying to find similar works. That’s what genres help with. I once randomly grabbed a book at Barnes and Noble by Robert B. Parker. I’d never read any detective fiction before. In subsequent years I found Spenser, Elvis Cole, Alex McKnight, Charlie Hood, Alex Cross, and Harry Bosch. These characters are not the same and they’re not directly influential of one another, but they do fall under the same umbrella of detective fiction.

There’s nothing limiting about genres. If you want to write something that blends several different genres together in the pages of a single book, then go ahead. But newsflash, it’s already been done plenty before you and those books are all categorized somewhere.

Do you think genres are important? Or are they just stupid labels to you?

James Patterson Isn’t the Only James Patterson

Wait, what did I just say? Hehe. I’ll explain.

What do you think of when you think of James Patterson? I think of several things. Alex Cross. Michael Bennett. Young adult. Ghostwriting. Ridiculous criticism.  MILLIONS. And also, “all the books.” If you know anything about James Patterson, then you should understand why I think of those things. Pretty straightforward. The difference between myself and others is that I have no issue with the way he does things. He’s figured out how to make book publishing an overly profitable business for A LOT of people. He now publishes his young adult series under his own imprint. But I’ve learned something during my 4+ months working in a bookstore. He’s not the only one, he just does it better than everyone else.

John Grisham. David Baldacci. J.K. Rowling. Rick Riordan.

What do all of these authors have in common besides being major bestsellers? They’ve all written/write young adult and adult fiction. And this is certainly not an exhaustive list. Now I bet you’re thinking, “But that isn’t why I criticize Patterson, I criticize him because he doesn’t write his own books.” Right. Except you only know that because he’s allows you to know it. What you don’t know is how many authors don’t. Right? You can’t sit there and say with any amount of certainty which authors do and don’t write their own books. You can guess and you can assume, but you can’t really know for sure because you’re not in the room when those books are being written. So the ghostwriting criticism is flat out dumb. And there can’t be too much criticism about publishing for teens and for adults because there are SO many other authors doing the same.

Patterson doesn’t need me to defend his work or methods, but I’ll continue to do so for as long as he keeps entertaining me with his Alex Cross novels. Because they’ll never be the greatest books written, but they’re more entertaining than so many other series I’ve read. That’s gotta count for something.

PS: His various young adult books can’t be kept in stock at my store. Too many people coming in for them. So while so many people criticize him he’ll just keep on writing books that entertain readers of all ages.

What do you think of authors writing in different genres and not doing so under a pen name? I have no issue with any author who’s able to do it well, because it can’t be as easy as they make it seem.

Auto-buy Authors

I’d never heard this particular term until I got on WordPress. But to me auto-buy authors are the authors whose books you buy without thinking about the series or reviews or anything. You just buy the book because it’s something new you haven’t read from one of your favorite authors. If I’m using this definition, then I have none.

I don’t buy books as authors write them. And I don’t think I own every book written by any particular author. I started most of the series I read long after they initially began. Even my favorites like Harry Bosch and Alex Cross were started more than a decade after the first books in the series were published. But I understand that if you’re caught up with an author’s series, then you’ll likely pre-order or buy their new book on release day. I can understand that. I think it’s a little different story when people do that for every James Patterson novel because you’re talking multiple books a month rather than one or two a year.

The one thing I do have in common with everyone else and their auto-buy authors is that if I’m reading a series I enjoy, then I won’t be checking to see what the next book is about before buying it. So I guess I auto-buy the next in the series? Which is what I imagine most people do. What if you read Half Blood Prince and didn’t much care for it, was there any chance you weren’t going to read Deathly Hallows? No. Of course not.

Do you have any auto-buy authors? I think I auto-buy series, but not authors.

My First Half Price Books Book Haul

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!

20150716_111655I 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.

Cool Dads in Literature

I don’t know what the rest of the world is doing today, but here in the US it’s Father’s Day. Or is it Fathers Day? Anyway, I figured I’d write a relevant post about it. So we’re talking dads in books. Let’s get to it.

Atticus Finch

If you don’t know, I’m reading To Kill a Mockingbird for my next video. I’ll be finished with it today once I’m home from work. Which means I’m not going to tell you anything about what I think of Atticus or the book here, except that I think he belongs on this list.

Alex Cross

He’s a detective in DC. Then moves on to the FBI. Then I think he goes back to detective work. I think. I’m only about halfway through the series and James Patterson releases them too fast for me to keep up with. But I’ve never read a single page of one of the Cross novels thinking that his family wasn’t his top priority. Reading about him and his family is just as entertaining as reading about the criminals he goes after.

Spenser

He’s not actually a father. But during the course of one of his books he takes a kid under his wing, and never forgets about him. And they develop this really interesting understanding between each other that I don’t think I’ve seen in other stories. Paul (the kid he takes under his wing) eventually knows when Spenser has something on his mind without needing to ask. He knows when to press him for information and when to back off. He knows as much about Spenser as Spenser is willing to let anyone know. Which is really cool because Spenser doesn’t go around giving out information about himself unnecessarily.

I think that’s it. I just discovered that most of the characters I read aren’t fathers. I guess having kids isn’t interesting enough to be in books. Who are some cool dads you’ve read about in literature?

And happy Father’s Day to all you papas out there.

James Patterson to Launch Publishing Imprint

This should surprise no one who knows anything about Patterson.

He writes in several different genres and releases more than 10 books a year. In 2014 he sold 20 million books and released 16 new titles. The guy is a juggernaut in the world of publishing, and I’m pretty sure his publisher will do anything he asks them to in support of his work. The new imprint will be called ‘Jimmy Patterson’, which is perfect because its focus will be on children’s books.

The goal of the new imprint will be to release about a book a month, with a focus on middle grade and young adult fiction. And the best thing I’ve read about this new imprint is that Patterson has stated very clearly that it isn’t about selling more books, (and making more money) it’s about getting kids reading more. He wants to write and publish books that make the reader want to keep turning the page, and then grab another book once they’re finished. Normally I never believe anyone as prolific as he is when they start talking about money, but I really believe it this time. I can’t speak about how he writes his children’s series, but I know that he writes very short chapters in his Alex Cross series that force you to keep reading because you know in two or three pages you’ll be done with another chapter. If his children’s books are written in a similar manner, then I can definitely see kids reading and wanting to read more.

What do you think about Patterson launching his own imprint? I like it.

Some Great Moms in Literature for Mother’s Day

Today’s Mother’s Day here in the United States, so it’s only fitting that we talk about great moms in books. I’ve come up with just a couple and y’all can fill me on some others.

Lily Potter

She really needs no description. We all know what she did and who she is. If you don’t, well you’re out of the loop and I’m not helping you out. She’s an obvious choice for this list.

Nana Mama

She’s Alex Cross’s grandmother. She’s a walking ball of wisdom. She gives it to him straight all the time. And she takes care of his kids when he’s frantically working cases. And she cooks really well. Hehe.

I think those are the only two I want to mention because the other moms I’m thinking of haven’t had prominent roles in their respective books. But I’m sure y’all know many more than I do. So tell me about some great moms in books you’ve read.

What’s Your Problem With James Patterson?

James Patterson

I’ve written about James Patterson in a number of posts because it doesn’t get any better than him when it comes to selling books. But I’ve also mentioned that his work is scrutinized well beyond the work of others, and I just don’t get it.

How often do you read blog posts about how much that particular person hates JK Rowling or Stephen King? Really doesn’t hardly happen. Or how about how that person will never read any books written by a particular author? That happens, but one wouldn’t expect to be talking about the bestselling author in the world. If you don’t like his books, then okay. No one is holding a gun to your head telling you to read them. But I’m thinking there’s more to it than that. Which really makes no sense to me.

Writers, readers, and other prominent authors seem to feel the need to criticize Patterson for everything he does. Again, this goes beyond the books.

Do you HATE that he sells millions of books every year and you don’t?

Do you HATE that his name is in several different genres?

Do you HATE that he earns nearly $100 million every year?

Do you HATE that you can’t break into traditional publishing and he runs the damn place?

Do you HATE that you’re so obviously a better writer than he is?

Do you HATE that he’s assisted in his writing by other writers?

Or do you just not find his work appealing?

Seriously, answer those questions. Because we both know that it won’t just be about the books. It never is when it comes to Patterson.

But let’s slow down a bit. James Patterson won the Edgar Award for Best First Novel back in 1976 for his novel The Thomas Berryman Number. Guys, you don’t win Edgar awards by accident. So to sit there and say that he’s the worst writer blah blah blah is just a matter of your opinion. Second, so many people seem to pay so much attention to how he uses other writers. Why? What do you care how he writes his books? You don’t even know how your favorite authors go about writing their books or their process or much of anything besides their release dates. But James Patterson working with several other authors suddenly makes him a terrible person, right? Even though there’s no doubt in my mind that every one of those authors has made A LOT of money by working with him. Oh, but writing isn’t about money, right?

Third, James Patterson releases books in multiple genres. Oh no, the world is going to end. He’s no good for writing books that can be read by just about anyone, but it’s okay if JK Rowling writes whatever she wants because she gave us Harry Potter. Yep. Shut up. There’s not even an argument with this one.

It boils down to the fact that James Patterson is undoubtedly the best at what he sets out to do, sell books. I’m not going to say he’s the best writer writing today, because I certainly don’t believe that to be true, but the criticism he receives is so often about something other than the books. It’s about James Patterson the person or his philosophy when it comes to writing or how much money he makes every year.

He collaborates with other authors. Get over it. He releases several books a year. Get over it. He has more money than you do. Get over it.

By the way, I only read one series he writes. His original. Alex Cross. A series HE writes.

Ever Get Tired of Reading the Same Genre all the Time?

No.

That was my response yesterday when Jess asked me this question. My reasoning for it is simple. There are great books released in every genre every year. Which means there are always good books out there to be read, no matter the genre. I’ve stated so many times in the past on this blog that I mostly read crime fiction. I don’t think it’s better than any other genre. I don’t think the authors are inherently more talented. I simply enjoy good detective stories.

This is why I want to write crime fiction. Because of what I’ve read. Because of the authors I’ve come to read so many times. For instance, James Patterson is one of my favorite authors. I know he’s always getting criticized for how his books are written and released, but I’ve never not been entertained by one of his Alex Cross novels and I think I’m ten books in. Robert B. Parker has probably influenced every crime writer out there today, and you can definitely see his influence in their work.

See, I don’t have an issue with someone who reads five different genres or dozens of authors all the time. But I think I do have an issue with someone asking this particular question in a manner that suggests one genre isn’t worthy of being read all the time. Because that’s absurd. No one says anything to those readers who only read classics. Or to all those readers who have a never ending YA TBR list. So don’t sit there and ask me how come I only read mysteries. The funny thing is that I’ve read a few different genres and authors in the last two years. JK Rowling. John Green. Anne Frank. Michael Lewis. So even though I might say I mostly read mysteries, I also dabble in other genres along the way.

So tell me, do you ever get tired of reading books within the same genre all the time? You know my answer.