Cue the eye rolls from everyone reading. James Patterson will be given the Innovator’s Award at the 36th LA Times Book Prizes this year. Now these awards aren’t exactly on par with winning a Pulitzer or Nobel or National Book Award, but I imagine any author nominated would be extremely proud and satisfied.
The people behind these awards likely know books and writing better than the average reader. Which is why I think people should take note when things like this happen. Everyone wants to make Patterson out to be this bad guy in publishing. But no one thinks about how many millions of kids are reading his young adult series. No one thinks about how many kids had no interest in reading before picking up one of his books. All everyone sees is money, and that’s just ridiculous.
I know some people will find this news to be laughable, but I don’t. I think he’s highly deserving. He gets kids reading. There’s no denying it.
What do you think of Patterson being honored by the LA Times?
The second book I crossed off my 2016 Reading Challenge was a book written by James Patterson. And I chose a book I hadn’t read before and one that isn’t a part of any of his many series. I also chose it because it was written all the way back in 1976 and won the Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for the best first novel by an American writer. This is an award that some literary giants have won in the past, and Patterson is forever among them.
I think that’s all I have for you before the video. I do think you’ll want to watch the whole thing because it almost morphs into a rant. And who doesn’t like rants, right? You also find out which book I’m reading next for my challenge. Now watch!
PS: I finished my edits on the video a couple of hours before this post went up, but I’m not sure exactly how long they’ll take to complete. So don’t yell at me if they aren’t finished when you watch.
I told ya’ll that I’d gotten my first book of the year out of the way, and now here’s my proof! My first video of 2016 on Johnny Reads. Now watch before reading further.
Did you watch? Okay. Now I want to mention two things I didn’t mention in the video. One of the reasons I enjoyed the book as much as I did is because it got me thinking about my own life and experiences I’ve had. I particularly liked the relationship between Bill and Charlie. I had someone similar, though it wasn’t quite as personal as their relationship. But the professor I’m referring to told me during my first semester of college that I should think about pursuing writing further. I took four classes he taught during my three years of undergrad, and he was always so encouraging.
And during Charlie’s sister’s graduation it got me thinking about how I’ll feel when my brother earns his degree. He’s currently studying petroleum engineering. It really won’t matter which company he ultimately comes out working for or how much money he’s paid, but I’ll be so proud once he’s finished. So I enjoyed the reaction of Charlie and his family during and after his sister delivered her speech during her graduation ceremony.
This book is easily one of the best I’ve read, and a great start to my 2016 Reading Challenge.
Have you read it? What did you think?
The next book I’ll be reading for the challenge is The Thomas Berryman Number by James Patterson.
PS: I mistakenly uploaded my graphic with only 19 books listed on the challenge. The picture is now updated on my 2016 Reading Challenge page and post. I don’t expect y’all to go back and start sharing the new graphic, but I just wanted to bring it to your attention. The bullet that was left off the old list was “A book set in your hometown/favorite city”.
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.
First, you have to guess. Of course. So go ahead.
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?
During November there is a lot of writing going on. Some good, some bad, and some writing is so terrible that the author’s mom wouldn’t even like it. But still people rush to participate in NaNo every year.
The only alternative that I’ve seen gain any traction online is people blogging each day of the month. Even though the two really have nothing to do with each other. I have a better idea. Why not study the craft and see how much you can learn about writing? Instead of spending the month working on something that is most likely years away from being ready for the eyes of an agent or self publishing, why not just try to become a little tiny bit better?
Read some writing books. See if you can learn about the writing process of some of your favorite authors. Heck, even taking James Patterson’s class on becoming a bestseller would probably give you a good amount of information. NaNo doesn’t.
People talk about it like it’s some great community. Or like it’s something to get better. But no. No one actually gives a damn about your writing. Why would they? They have no stake in it. And NaNo surely isn’t a means to improve your writing. Still just a gimmick.
What do you think about using the month to study the craft a bit and perhaps just gain a little knowledge rather than trying to get as many words written as possible?
I’m pretty sure that if you have TV, then you know about something that happened in the US recently. In Baltimore people decided the best way to call for change in policing would be to riot and loot businesses. This was headline news for some time. And now James Patterson says he was inspired by those events and he wants to help them rebuild in some way. So he’s donating 25,000 copies of one of his children’s books.
I have no issue with Patterson. He’s one of my favorite authors. He does a lot more good for books and literacy than most people give him credit for, but he’s off base here. There are still many things that cities across America (including Baltimore) need to change. I’m talking law enforcement, but we all know it doesn’t start and stop there. And sure books can fit somewhere into that equation, but right now this one book isn’t going to do anything. The people who have the ability to bring about significant change aren’t going to be pushed to action because of this book. And change isn’t going to happen because of this book.
James Patterson is going to donate many more books to many more causes in the future, but I think he could have done this donation a bit more quietly. Without talking about being inspired by recent events. Cause it doesn’t change anything. It isn’t up to me to tell him how to spend his money and donate his books, but he really could have helped by donating money to the police department earmarked for more advanced training. At least that would really address one of the major issues facing the city.
What do you think about Patterson being inspired by the unrest in Baltimore and deciding to donate books?
On this day in 2014 I published Why do you Read?.