Fifty Shades of Nada

What I’ve noticed in my six months of working in a bookstore is that the buying trends at the store level essentially match the buying trends at the national level. The really popular books nationwide are also really popular at Half Price Books. There are a number of books that simply cannot be kept in stock because they’re consistently bought. But then there are other books that are consistently sold back to the store and not bought as much by the public. One of the series we see a lot of but that isn’t flying off the shelf happens to be written by EL James.

I see people buying Zane, Maya Banks, and other erotica authors; but not as much EL James as you might expect. I’m saying this knowing exactly how popular Grey was last year, but perhaps the series as a whole has lost just a little bit of steam. Perhaps.

Do you think the Fifty Shades is still as popular as it’s been before? I think it’s still popular, but maybe just a notch or two lower than before.

And the Bestselling Book on Amazon This Year is…

First, you have to guess. Of course. So go ahead.

*waits*

Before I saw the top 20 list I’d have said *gulp* Go Set a Watchman. I have been very open about being against just about everything this book stands for. But in the back of my mind I’m still thinking of those million books sold the first week. Not too many books doing that. So even with all my reservations about ever reading the book, I’d still have guessed that.

But it was only #3. Here’s the top 20:

1. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
2. Grey by E.L. James
3. Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
4. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
5. Memory Man by David Baldacci
6. Make Me by Lee Child
7. Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham
8. The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz
9. Dead Wake by Erik Larson
10. Silent Scream by Angela Marsons
11. 14th Deadly Sin by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
12. Old School by Jeff Kinney
13. Enchanted Forest by Johanna Basford
14. The Wright Brothers by David McCullough
15. Adult Coloring Book: Street Relieving Patterns by Blue Star Coloring
16. The Liar by Nora Roberts
17. Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
18. The Crossing by Michael Connelly
19. The Stranger by Harlan Coben
20. A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

When I read through the list I see no surprises. This may be because I’ve been working in a bookstore for four months, but even I hadn’t I’d still not be surprised by any of these. There are some books that we cannot keep in stock at the store. We’ll get a copy or two of something and they’ll be gone in a day or two. Sometimes this happens with older books, but most often I’ve seen it with newer releases. Which is understandable.

Did the bestselling book of the year on Amazon surprise you at all? Or any others from the top 20?

Another Twilight Book?

Oh man. Yesterday I finally got to reading some blogs and I found out something interesting. There’s going to be a new book in Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series. But she won’t just be adding more to the story. Nope.

It’s a gender swap. Not sure if that’s what it’s called, but basically Bella and Edward will be renamed and switch places. So that Meyer can prove that Bella was just a “human in distress” and not a damsel in distress. I’ll sum up my thoughts: , “Um, why?”.

We know why, of course. Money. For everyone involved. And didn’t E.L. James just do something similar with Grey? She didn’t switch the characters completely, but she did switch perspectives.

Are you looking forward to this new book by Stephenie Meyer?

On Reading Bestsellers

Have you ever met someone who only read bestsellers? Or perhaps someone who refuses to do so. I believe I’ve interacted with people on both sides of the question. And neither position makes any sense whatsoever to me.

Let’s start with person #1. Only reads bestsellers. Which means they likely spend more on each book than the rest of us. And they read a pretty small number of authors. Doesn’t really matter to me, but I think they’d quickly adopt the mindset that the books and authors they read are inherently better than everything else. I mean, obviously they’re bestsellers for a reason. Which is downright ridiculous. We all know that sales numbers don’t really reflect the quality of the book. There are some extraordinary books appearing on bestseller lists and not.

Now on to person #2. Doesn’t read bestsellers. They’ve essentially taken the notion that bestsellers aren’t very good books to a whole new level. We know not ALL bestsellers are good books. We get it. But to say that no bestseller is a good book (or to think it) is pretty outrageous. Sorry, Mrs. Rowling. Your books suck. It’s easy to toss around names like E.L. James or Stephenie Meyer as prime examples of this, but shall we start throwing in Stephen King and Margaret Atwood too? No. Of course not.

Both positions are going way too far in their positions. If you want to read bestsellers, then read them. If you don’t, then don’t. But don’t sit there and act like whatever you read is somehow better than EVERYTHING else out there. It isn’t.

What’s your take on reading bestsellers?

PS: I’m not even going to apologize anymore for my sporadic posting times. I can’t do anything about it. I’ll be replying to LOTS of comments when I have time later tonight.


On this day in 2014 I published Publishers Giving Away Books?.

 

 

UK Poll: Author is most desired profession

YouGov recently conducted a poll in Britain to figure out what the people believe to be the most desirable jobs. And author came out on top. To say that I was surprised by this would be a slight understatement. I’m not going to sit here and act like I’d have any idea which jobs would or should be considered more desirable than any others, but author? Really?

But I will offer up my little explanation. You know that whole “everyone has that one book in them” crap that I really hate? Yeah…let’s talk about it. The people who keep floating around that little saying have probably never come close to writing a book. They probably don’t even have a story idea, but they have this belief that their book will happen. Okay. Good luck with that, I say. But I think people who don’t write view being an author as easy. They just favorite authors who are famous, rich, and well-known. But they don’t see all the other traditionally published authors who still have day jobs.

I don’t consider myself an author, so I won’t sit here and tell y’all how ridiculous that thought process really is, but I did write a book. Yeah it’s not great and after all my reading there were still typos and things I wish I’d have changed…but it is a book. And it was pretty damn hard to write that thing. I’ve made between $500-$1,000 from it. And there was nothing glorious about any part of the process. But no one saw that. None of the people who read it. And none of the people who have come across it on here or on Amazon saw the process. But y’all know. Because y’all write.

So sure it’s easy to say that being an author is the most desirable job when all you see is the money EL James and JK Rowling have managed to make from their books and adaptations, but those two are hardly the expectation and one would do well to remember that.

The second and third most desirable jobs were librarian and academic, respectively. You can view the full list of results here.


I’m starting a new thing on here. The first sentence of every post from here on out will be “On this day in 2014 I published ‘insert title of post from the corresponding day.'” I’m doing this because I have new readers every single day and they only see my new stuff when I have some old posts that may interest them as well. This will be the first. On this day last year I published Tenth Chapter Benchmark. It’s about my own writing!

 

Which Authors Would you Invite to Thanksgiving Dinner?

thanksgiving-turkey-dinner

Photo Credit: Delish

I know Thanksgiving has already passed, but I wanted to post my poem on Thursday and then I thought you guys might like to know about Amazon’s promotion yesterday. So you’re getting a post related to Thanksgiving a bit late. Sue me.

Okay. It’s the beginning of November and you’re trying to figure out who is and who isn’t coming to Thanksgiving dinner. Except this time we’re not talking about family members you see each year. Nope. They’re on vacation in Cozumel. Now you’re inviting some of your favorite authors instead. How exciting!

Let me tell you who I would invite. Michael Connelly, James Patterson, Robert Crais, Robert B. Parker, and Suzanne Collins. The first four all for the same reason. Because they all write truly great detective series that I’ll never be able to compete with. So I’d just pick their brains about writing the genre for a few hours. I probably wouldn’t eat. These guys are heavyweights going strong with no sign of slowing down. Except for Parker, who died a couple years ago.

And Suzanne Collins. Because I’m obsessed with the character she created. I mean, I want to get a freaking Mockingjay pin tattoo. Oooh. Maybe I could get it before she arrives and show her how crazy I am. I’d just tell her everything I love about her stories and Katniss. Then I’d beg to get all three books signed by her AND Katniss herself. Then I’d just die. Right there.

So those are the authors I’d invite to Thanksgiving dinner! What about you? And don’t you dare try saying EL James or Stephenie Meyer. I’ll block you. Not kidding.

Read a Banned Book This Week

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Photo Credit: EventKeeper

I think Banned Books Week actually began yesterday, but I was too busy writing about candlelight to remember that I wanted to write a post about it. Whoops.

So, it’s officially Banned Books Week 2014. Don’t you think this week should be a bit more celebrated than it is? I mean, I would be willing to put a whole lot of money on the fact that no one in my family even knows about it. I wish someone would give me that opportunity so I could become an instant millionaire. But no, no one has asked me to bet any money. It’s an unfortunate occurrence. But now you get to hear about it from me.

Each year the American Library Association releases its annual list of most challenged books. These challenges are not astronomical numbers, but they do happen and come from religious groups, parents, and sometimes even teachers. Don’t be misled by the name of the annual list or by the name of the week itself. These books aren’t banned, just challenged. Well I guess technically some books are actually banned in other parts of the world where banned books is a real thing, but that has nothing to do with what I’m writing here.

So the ALA releases its list relatively early in the year and then celebrates Banned Books Week a little later on. Now I know what you’re wondering. How can you celebrate? Simple, read a book from the list. Or two. Or the top ten. Here’s a refresher of the current list of the most banned books.

1. Captain Underpants (series) by Dav Pilkey

2. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian bu Sherman Alexie

4. Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James

5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

6.  A Bad Boy can be Good for a Girl by Tanya Lee Stone

7. Looking for Alaska by John Green

8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

9. Bless me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya

10. Bone (series) by Jeff Smith

So there you have the top ten. And if you’re in a celebratory mood and feel like reading one of the books listed, then I’d suggest tackling #5. But that’s just me.

How are you celebrating Banned Books Week?

Also, if you’re interested in my thoughts about each book on the list, check out this post from earlier this year in which I discuss each book.

And the Most Banned Book of 2013 is…

ImagePhoto Credit: AbeBooks

Actually, I’m not sure if this list is 2013 or 2014, but let’s just say 2013. Eh. Before we delve into the list let me first say that I see no point in banning books at all. Actually, I do have one exception. I apologize beforehand if you happen to be a fan of this author or her writing, but there’s an author on WordPress who writes a series of stories that follow a stepbrother and stepsister who are involved with each other. Sexually. Yeah, ban that. Ban it here. On Amazon. Everywhere. And the titles of the books are so horrible. Ugh. I’m leaving it alone. Other than that, I’d say most everything else is fair game.

10. Bone (series) by Jeff Smith

I honestly have never heard of this series of books. But the reasons listed for its placement on this list were political viewpoint, racism, and violence. I won’t comment because I simply am unaware. I will say that the cover shown in the article I’m referencing looks to be aimed at children. I think it would be understandable for a book aimed toward a younger audience to be included on this list if it has racism and violence.

9. Bless me Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya

Another book I’m unfamiliar with. The reasons given were Satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, and sexually explicit. Hmm. Okay.

8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

I haven’t read the book, but I have seen the movie. I thought it was great. But I also find its placement on this understandable. I mean, this is geared toward teens, right? Well the nature and things discussed in the book are definitely serious in nature. The reasons given were drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group. Can’t say I disagree with any of those. Though this is a book I want to read at some point since I’ve seen the movie.

7. Looking for Alaska by John Green

Hasn’t John Green become something of a superstar recently? I’ve never read his books but I hear his name all the time and see blog posts about him just as often. I assume this is a YA book? The reasons given were drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group. And here I thought YA was all about vampires and paranormal romances. Guess not. But then again I have no earthly idea what this about.

6. A Bad Boy Can be Good for a Girl by Tanya Lee Stone

I’m starting to see a patten here. The reasons given were drugs/alcohol/smoking, nudity, explicit language, sexually explicit. Never read this. Never will. Moving on.

5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

WHAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTT?! Last I checked Katniss isn’t running around having sex with everyone or drinking or smoking or anything besides trying to stay alive! This is stupid. Do I agree with this making the list? No. Do I understand it making the list? No. Do I want to find someone who helped come up with the list and punch them in the face? Yes. The reasons given were religious viewpoint and unsuited to age group. Shut up. Before I get angry.

4. Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James

I can honestly say that there was not single tidbit of surprise in me when I saw this book made the list. I mean, it doesn’t get any more self-explanatory than this, right? I’m not going to list the reasons given because you all know them already. If you don’t, good. Stay away from the internet!

3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Never read, Reasons given were drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group. I’m assuming that this is another YA book or geared toward even younger audiences because that seems to always be the case when you see “unsuited to age group.”

2. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

I thought Toni Morrison was one of those authors who everyone loves today? I’ve never read her books, but I swear I’ve read plenty about her. Hm. Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence. What’s with all the sex and drugs in these books? I guess someone’s got to write about it all, right?

1. Captain Underpants (series) by Dav Pilkey

Ha. Seriously, this just tells me what a joke this list is. I mean, most of the books are so understandable that explanations aren’t necessary when you see the content you’re dealing with. But this? Really? I remember EVERYONE reading these books when I was in elementary school. I never read one, but everyone else did. Because they were pretty funny, I assume. Reasons: offensive language, unsuited to age group, violence. I’m done. This is no longer relevant. To find this book on the same list as some of the other titles. And I’m seeing here that it’s not the first time it’s made it. Oh well.

So there you have the most banned books of 2013. What do you think? If you’re anything like me, about a third of the list is a laughing stock.

You can read an article about the list on The Huffington Post here.

 

Books I Will NEVER Read

Photo Credit: Book Snobbery

I’m not a fan of bashing authors, but I’m not bashing authors really, I’m bashing their books. There’s a difference!

Okay, so I know most avid readers like myself have a number of books that will not ever be read for any reason. Not even if there’s a zombie apocalypse taking place and I’m the lone survivor with just the one book thrown on the floor in front of me. They are to remain off-limits forever and a day. Let me just give you the list.

1. Fifty Shades of anything

If you’re a fan of EL James, great. I’m not and never will be. I’ve known the very basic concept of the book for a long time now, but I just read a little of the Wikipedia page that made me want to slap someone. The first book sounds absolutely horrible. I mean, if you want to read about that stuff then partake in it yourself. Or go watch a movie. Or find a website. Do something. Don’t read about it. Makes me think you’re kind of gross. Don’t get angry at me for saying that. It’s my blog.

2. Twilight

I know Stephenie Meyer has been heavily criticized for her writing skills and the way she portrays Bella. Those are pretty much the two reasons why I won’t be reading any of the books in the series. Let me be clear, though, I would read this entire series 100 times before ever reading the first book from the above mentioned series. My reasoning for not reading these books is mostly because they don’t seem like they’d be interesting reads to me. Sure the writing may not be great and Bella isn’t the most memorable literary character of all-time, but the only book I’ve ever read about vampires was Dracula. Yes, I loved it.

3. Divergent

I think some of you may be thinking how I’m putting this series of books in with the other two. What I’ve read and heard about this series of books has mostly been that the first two books were pretty good and the last one was disappointing. I could be wrong, but that’s what I’ve read. Those have nothing to do with my decision not to read this series. There’s only one reason why I won’t read these books. It’s going to sound crazy, but oh well. I won’t read them because of all the comparisons they get to The Hunger Games. THG is my adult obsession. I LOVE those books. LOVE them. You’ll recall that I named the trilogy my favorite series ever in a previous post. Well, it’s because of the very slim off chance that I like Divergent more than THG that I won’t read them. I’m in love with Jennifer Lawrence and Katniss and Effie and Prim. I don’t want that to be overshadowed by Veronica Roth.

4. Anything written by a celebrity

I fully realize that most celebrities who ‘write’ books don’t actually write them. They have the help of a journalist or author or someone who actually writes the book for them. It’s not that I think the books are poorly written, it’s that the books are generally bad. For instance, I don’t have any interest reading about the whole rags to riches stories that so many athletes claim. It’s great that you went from food stamps when you were little to millions of dollars a year in salary, truly, BUT you won’t find me reading about it. I’m not including former presidents in this group. I think their books would be rather interesting to read. I look forward to reading George W. Bush’s book at some point. Not necessarily because I’m a supporter of his, but because his presidency was the first of my life that I actually understood a little about what was going on.

5. Anything with seductive people on the cover

I mean, come on. What’s the point? I work in a store that carries a very selective section of books. You’ll pretty much only find the major bestselling authors there. The ones I can name off the top of my head who I can recall seeing this past weekend are James Patterson, Nora Roberts, Tom Clancy, and Stephen King. BUT half of the books that I don’t recognize the author names have half-naked people on the front. It’s annoying. Won’t ever be reading those books. Not a one.

This would be my reaction to reading any book on the list.

Photo Credit: BuzzFeed

Okay, so I know my list wasn’t exactly a list of particular books so much as it was a list of types of books I won’t read. But that’s it. Do you have any books that you’ll never find yourself reading? Tell me why.

In other news, I just passed 500 WordPress followers less than a month after reaching 200! You guys seriously make me happy.