This Week in Books #7: Bosch

Welcome back to Johnny Reads and This Week in Books. This week I’m talking about Amazon’s Bosch. Bosch is the show adapted from Michael Connelly’s bestselling book series that follows LAPD detective Harry Bosch.

But this is not your typical crime show. Not even close. Bosch is excellent. Now watch so I can tell you exactly why!

Have you watched any of the first two seasons of Bosch? Or are you a reader of the books?

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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?

Dreaming About Books

Have you ever been the leader of a revolution or a police detective on the trail of a serial killer or the boy wizard who takes down Voldemort only to realize it was all a dream? I haven’t, unfortunately. Because I’d rather become a part of the books I’ve read just a little bit than not at all.

I’m not sure I have a pick of who I’d actually want to be. Wait, that’s a lie. I’d say Harry Bosch. He’s an LAPD detective who works relentlessly in pursuit of justice. He has a saying. “Everyone counts or nobody counts.” Do you see what he means? If you’re going to investigate one murder in a certain way, then every murder should be investigated in that same manner. And I’d hope the mindset of homicide detectives is no different in the real world. Whether it’s a suburban teen or a drug dealer killed in a gang shootout. One murder should not be any more or less important to the investigating detective.

And I think his mindset is something I’d adopt as my own. It’s bad enough that homicide detectives have a job only because people are killing people. But it’d make things even worse if those killers weren’t brought to justice. It’s real-life people like Bosch who literally take killers off the street. It’s one of the many professions that get no appreciation. But I imagine no decent homicide detective does the job to be recognized or appreciated by the public. They do it because they have to.

So if I had my pick of characters I could be, I’d be Harry Bosch. Who would you be?

Labor Day Reading

Most people are likely off work today, unless you’re me. But for everyone else today should be a nice opportunity to be productive. And by productive I mean lie on the sofa all day and get some reading done.

No Netflix. No work business. No nothing. Just relax today. Federal holidays aren’t exactly high in number, so be sure to take advantage of the one you’re getting today. And if you happen to work like me, well hopefully you’ll have a day off soon. Like tomorrow.

Tell me what you’ll be reading today. If I didn’t work until 10:30, then I’d be reading The Black Box by Michael Connelly. And no, it doesn’t have anything to do with airplanes.

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.

Setting a Story in a Foreign Place

I’ve read plenty of books by plenty of authors. My typical experience is that most authors will set their stories in a single place. And occasionally branch out from there. But other times I’ll come across an author who sets stories in many different cities that are nothing alike. And my thought is they’re either a world traveler or they are great at research. It’s usually a mix of both.

For example, Michael Connelly set one of his Bosch stories (in part) in Japan. But as he was in the process of writing it he took a trip there and stayed for three weeks taking everything in. And also writing, of course. Suffice it to say that I don’t have that kind of money to be able to do that.

But I realized something recently. My second story was set in a different city I’d only visited once or twice. And as soon as I reached the point in the story in which Andrew had to make the trip I stopped writing. So I’m really thinking that my story didn’t work out because I didn’t know enough about the city to continue. I’d planned a short trip just to walk around and take in as much as I possibly could, but that never happened. For now and into the future I’ll just stick to the one city I know.

What about you? Have you ever set one of your stories in a city you didn’t know well?

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

bosch-poster-amazon-studios

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!