New Video! Are There Too Many Literary Adaptations?

I know there are going to be some strong thoughts on this topic. I think it’s difficult to say there is too much of something we really like, BUT I obviously think it’s a valid question if I took the time to make a video out of it! Now watch or don’t and just tell me what you think!

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.

Did you Know These Books Were Originally Self-Published?

Cause I didn’t.

Most people by now know the story of Fifty Shades and The Martian starting out as self-published works. And anyone who knows anything about publishing also knows about Hugh Howey. But there are a few more titles I’d not known about until just a few minutes ago.

Legally Blonde.

Uh, weren’t there like three movies in this series? And it was originally a self-published book? Did not know that.

Still Alice.

I actually think I may have known about this one. Maybe. But I definitely know Julianne Moore won ALL the awards for her performance in the movie adaptation.

Eragon.

I think this has something to do with a dragon, right? I just know from the bits and pieces of the movie I’ve seen. Two interesting facts about this one. The author was 19 when he became a NYT bestselling author with this title. And he started writing when he was just 15. Yikes.

Did you know these were originally self-published? Or do you know of any other popular books/authors who were?

E.L. James Just Pulled a Beyonce (Kinda)

Y’all know I’m not a fan of the works of E.L. James, but she’s got some confidence.

Earlier this week it was announced that she’d be releasing a new book from the perspective of Christian Grey. You’re probably thinking that we could have expected that. I guess that’s true, but the kicker is that the book will be released later this month!

I’ve seen a number of authors announce new books via Twitter or Facebook or a press release, and each time the date was months into the future. I’m talking like nine or ten. And I see that as pretty normal because books are often announced before there’s a final product. But I can’t say that I’ve ever seen an author do this before. A couple of weeks is no time for publicity, though just about every book news site has already written about her new book. And it’s also probably not a scary thought to do this when you’ve already sold 98625398916635 books, right?

I think this was an interesting move by James and her publisher, but at the end of the day there’s almost no risk involved for her.

Oh, and Beyonce released an album a little while back in a similar manner. Now you understand the reference.

What do you think of James releasing a new book in her series from the perspective of Christian Grey with no time for publicity?

PS: It’s already #1 on Amazon.

Have you watched my first YouTube video yet!? You can do so here.


On this day in 2014 I published How Important is a Creative Writing Degree?.

 

Forget Fifty Shades of Grey…I Have Something Better for you This Weekend

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Photo: Amazon

As you well know, Fifty Shades of Grey is officially out today. Oh brother. All the moms and teens are likely flocking to their local movie theater this weekend to watch the movie in the same auditorium as a couple hundred other people. I just feel bad for the guys who are being dragged alongside.

Moving on. Anyway, there’s another series adaptation being released the exact same day and I assure you that it will be significantly better onscreen than this other crap. So what am I talking about? Bosch! It’s the Amazon Studios adaptation from Michael Connelly’s bestselling Harry Bosch series! I’ve written about it twice before and its release is finally here. The first season consists of ten hour long episodes and it’s Amazon’s first foray into the hour long drama that we see basically everywhere else on TV.

The series will follow LAPD detective Harry Bosch during a tumultuous time. I won’t say any more because either you’re going to watch it or you’re not and it’s not my job to do the convincing.

You’ll be able to stream all ten episodes of Bosch starting today in the US and if you’re interested you’ll have to see when and how it’s available in your country. Just a little perspective, the pilot episode that helped make the series a reality currently has over 13,000 reviews on Amazon and a ridiculous 4.7 out of 5.0 rating. This is not your typical cop show.

You have to be an Amazon Prime member to watch. You can read more about and watch the show here.

Bye now, I’m off to see how quickly I can get through all ten episodes!

Books Hitting the Big Screen in 2015

Is it me or did that title rhyme a bit? Hm.

Anyway, 2015 is another year full of books being adapted into movies. I wrote a million years ago about Hollywood’s fascination with turning toward the literary world for movie ideas. We all hear about the movie deals for this title and for that one just about every week. A movie is a hit, another book by the same author is adapted. Two prime examples of this just from 2014 are Gillian Flynn and John Green. And let’s not forget that the top grossing movie at the domestic box office has been adapted from a book in three of the last four calendar years. 2011 – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. 2013 – The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. 2014 – The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1.  Technically Guardians of the Galaxy still shows as the top grossing movie of last year, but I’m happy to say that Mockingjay is just a short time from claiming the top spot.

So when you take those little tidbits into consideration, it’s easy to see why Hollywood is always searching for that next big hit by way of the publishing industry. American Sniper just expanded its release and what happens? With Bradley Cooper as the lead and awards buzz from every which way, it’s going to shatter the January opening record at the box office. Another movie adapted from a book.

I’m sure you know exactly when your favorite adaptation will be released this year, but here are 20 notable releases. And no, I didn’t come up with the list myself. And no, I don’t have release dates because I’m too lazy to find them on Box Office Mojo. Here’s the list:

Silence

The Revenant

The Light Between Oceans

Paper Towns

In the Heart of the Sea

The Martian

The Zookeeper’s Wife

The Secret Scripture

Into the Forest

A Book of Common Prayer

Walk in the Woods

Lion

Dark Places

Child 44

Carol (The Price of Salt)

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

The Jungle Book

Macbeth

The Duff

Far from the Madding Crowd

And that’s it. Of course, none of these matter. It’s all about how soon November can get here so we can see Katniss again. Sorry for the lack of actual information about each movie, but I stole the list from here and they tell you a little about the story and the actors involved with most of the adaptations.

Are you looking forward to ANY of these? I’m not. But eh.

PS: You should know by now that the Fifty Shades of Grey movie is just weeks away from its release date. Well I read from a very good box office guy that it might open to more than $75 million domestically. A little perspective, Twilight opened to $69 million and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone opened to $90 million.

Do you shy Away From Reading Long Series?

I actually just read a blog post about this topic yesterday that gave me the idea to write this. I’d link to the post if I remembered the name. Oh well.

Let me just tell you what this other blogger said. She categorized a “long” series as more than five books. And basically said that anything more than that is just too long and fails to keep her attention. I disagree. Let’s not forget Harry Potter was seven. Just saying.

I mean, five books being categorized as a “long” series is a joke. That is a short series. A very short one. I mean, five books is probably only long to YA readers who read trilogy after trilogy. Followed by Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey. I’m not trying to generalize here, but really who thinks five books is a long series? Who? Another question. How many books are in your favorite series? Mine happens to have three, but when I start looking at more of the series I read I see a whole lot more books than that. Let me see. Robert B. Parker’s Spenser series is into the 40s. And oh by the way, this is only considered one of the great detective series of the past half century. Jack Reacher is about to reach 20. Alex Cross is into the 20s. Harry Bosch is nearing 20 books. Alex McKnight is in the double digits. Jesse Stone is at 14. Elvis Cole is at 16.

See what I’m saying? These are not just random series I found on the internet. I read all of them and there are several more that I could name. But I think I’ve made my point. I know I don’t speak for every reader out there, but it does beg the question that if readers were turned off by long series, then why are so many authors writing them? Michael Connelly just released a new Bosch novel this week and I’m near certain that it’ll be a #1 NYT bestseller whenever the list updates. As is also the case with most of James Patterson’s books. And Lee Child’s. And Sue Grafton’s. And I know there are YA series that go on and on, as well.

The moral of this post is that I don’t buy into the notion that readers are turned off by long series. Not at all. There are way too many that sell quite well for that to be the case. But I’ll ask anyway, do you shy away from reading lengthy series?

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.