Remaking a Classic

I’m probably the only person who has never read any Stephen King novel and has never seen one of the adaptations from his books all the way through. I’ve seen bits and pieces, but I’ve never sat down and watched from start to finish.

Now It is happening again. Not having seen the original movie or read the book I’ve gathered that there’s a clown terrorizing kids. I think. I’m not sure why or how or what exactly is going on. I do know it’s horror. Right?

I recently watched the trailer for the new movie. To me it looks like any other horror story that involves a single person or thing. Like Chucky. I know he was a killer and usually those single characters are, but I have no idea if this clown is too. I’d assume so. Otherwise what is there to be scared of?

Have I been missing out on It? The book was published thirty years ago. The movie came out shortly thereafter. I know nothing about either. 

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 I could either buy all of the books I wanted before my employee discount was no longer valid or I could just forget about them.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!

On Nightmares and Dreamscapes

I swear that’s the name of a Stephen King novel, but it isn’t what I’m talking about today. Most people on here know about the one book I’ve written. And I think most people also know I have completely stopped writing altogether. But I do want to start again at some point in the future.

Which is where this post is coming from. I had a dream last night, and it got me wondering if any of you all have had a dream or nightmare one night and then proceeded to somehow start writing a story from it. It isn’t something I’ve really thought of happening at this point because is seems like some freak thing that just happens without any prior notice. But writing isn’t an exact science, I imagine people have all kinds of odd stories and quirky tales of how a story eventually came together. But now I’m imagining a nightmare involving an old lady with an ax turning into a novel. Welp.

Have you ever used a dream and/or nightmare to start or continue a story? I haven’t. But I’m not really writing anything.

On Stephen King

I’ve said about a million times on here that I’ve never read any Stephen King novels. Not one. Probably sounds crazy, but it’s true. Lately at work a few of the guys have been talking about some of his work. They know I haven’t read him and no one is trying to force their favorite books down my throat. But it seems like everyone I work with has read him. Even though no one there is trying to get me to pick up a King novel, I’m starting to inch closer to doing so.

But I wouldn’t even know where to start. I don’t know if he writes series or standalones or what. I just know that he’s had about 321 books adapted into movies and that he’s very respected by fans and authors alike. So perhaps it’s time for me to jump on board.

But that’s where you come in. Which Stephen King novel should I start with? I have 11/22/63 on my Kindle from forever ago, but I’ve never even gotten the idea into my head that I should actually read it. Kind of like the Kindle First books I’ve downloaded. I only know maybe ten King titles off the top of my head, so might as well just recommend anything. Go.


On this day in 2014 I published One Space, Two Space…There is no Debate.

 

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?.

 

 

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.

How Helpful are Writing Books?

stephen_king_on_writing

Okay guys, time for a bit of honesty. It is 3:51 in the morning as I sit here and write this. I’m sleepy. So I’m going to make this quick.

I’ve never read a writing book. I didn’t even know they existed before I started on WordPress, shows you how much I get out. And there’s one writing book that I’ve seen mentioned over and over again. You probably know it. Maybe. Stephen King’s On Writing. I have no idea if this book is any good, but I do know that about a gazillion bloggers on WordPress have read it. Maybe you’re one of them.

So, have you read any writing books? How helpful have they been for you?

PS: A few days ago I asked y’all to pick my next read, right? It turns out that y’all are indecisive. Yesterday was going to be the last day that I looked at the votes, but guess what? Gone Girl and 1984 are tied! So if you haven’t already voted in the poll, please do so today! Just click here.

The Books That Have Stayed With Me

Don’t worry, I’m not going tell you about ten books that have stayed with me. Cause I don’t think I have ten, or five even. But in the name of kinda sorta not really participating in this little Facebook tag that seems to have sprung up out of nowhere, I’m going to talk about it.

I’ve just read an article that states that Facebook has determined the book included the most in responses to the tag is…can you guess it? I could have. Easily. I’ll give you a second to think about it.

Here’s a hint if you’re still thinking. The main characters in the book go to a special kind of school by the name of Hogwarts. The most common response to this particular Facebook tag was the HP series. I think it’s understandable considering who I think is more likely to be on Facebook responding to these kinds of things. Would I have included the series? No. I think the movies are great and the books are likely a bit better, but have they stayed with me? I don’t think so. They’ll ultimately just be really great books that I think generations upon generations will continue to read. But I’ll just be reading through them once.

The rest of the top 20 on the list compiled by Facebook is about what you’d expect. Here it is:

1. Harry Potter series – J.K. Rowling – 21.08%
2. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee – 14.48%
3. The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien – 13.86%
4. The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien – 7.48%
5. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen – 7.28%
6. The Holy Bible – 7.21%
7. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams 5.97%
8. The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins – 5.82%
9. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger – 5.70%
10. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald – 5.61%
11. 1984 by George Orwell – 5.37%
12. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott – 5.26%
13. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte – 5.23%
14. The Stand by Stephen King – 5.11%
15. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell – 4.95%
16. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle – 4.38%
17. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – 4.27%
18. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis – 4.05%
19. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho – 4.01%
20. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery – 3.95%

Stephen King is perhaps the only mild surprise if you ask me, but eh I’m no expert. What do you think of the books people are saying have stayed with them? I know it’s completely subjective, but we all have opinions. If you’re wondering, my entire list would consist of The Diary of a Young Girl and The Hunger Games. No more. Dracula would be very close to being included.

Besides letting me know what you think about the top 20 responses, let me know why particular books have stayed with you, or if you’ve written this post link to it in the comments and I’ll take a look at your picks.

I snagged this list from here.

The Reader in Me: Part II

Okay guys, this post was supposed to happen yesterday, but I’ve worked the last four days in a row and y’all don’t understand how sleepy I am as soon as I walk in the door. I’ve been doing a lot of sleeping during my time I should have been writing posts. Eh. Anyway, this will be the second half of the post I wrote on Saturday.

Also, I’m playing around with posting at a new time. I know probably every single one of you posts whenever you feel like, but I don’t. I strictly post between 9:30 in the morning and 12:30. Now I’m going to see about posting at midnight each night instead. Why? Because I think most of you who actually read my stuff will read no matter when I post and perhaps I’m opening my blog up to a greater audience by posting at the later time. Maybe. Okay, now on with the post.

11. Have you ever given a book away for a special reason to a special person?

Absolutely. Not! Are you kidding me? No. Just no.

12. Which book has been with you to the most places?

I don’t travel. And I wouldn’t take my books with me if I did. Another question with no response.

13. Any “required reading” you hated in high school that wasn’t so bad ten years later?

Well shit. How old am I supposed to be? I’m barely four years out of high school and I guess eight years out from my freshman year. I haven’t reread anything from high school because you all should know by now that I don’t reread anything. This set of questions is off to a wonderful start.

14. What is the strangest item you’ve ever found in a book?

Oh come on. This isn’t even fun anymore. What the heck am I supposed to find in a book? A corpse? A Mega Millions winning lottery ticket? Food? I’ve only ever found scraps of paper or notes in books, and I have to think that most people are the same way.

15. Used or brand new?

Definitely new. I have a handful of used books that stick out like a sore thumb on my shelf. At least they do to me.

16. Stephen King: Literary genius or opiate of the masses?

Never read him. I bet he’s closer to the genius side.

17. Have you ever seen a movie you liked better than the book?

There are some truly great literary adaptations. But do not fool yourself, you cannot make a movie better than the book. Why? Because even if you have a nice long 150 minute movie, you still have to leave out huge chunks of the book because you simply don’t have the time needed to adapt every facet of the work. So no, I’ve never seen a movie that I thought was better than the book.

18. Which book should never have been introduced to celluloid?

Along Came a Spider by James Patterson. This isn’t a knock on the book, I thought it was pretty good, but the movie did it absolutely no justice whatsoever. The movie looked thrown together at the last minute. And this was with Morgan Freeman as Alex Cross! And what happened after this trainwreck of a movie? They released a sequel made exactly the same way. Ugh. Thankfully no more came after. The more recent Alex Cross adaptation was a bit better, but still not very good.

19. Have you ever read a book that’s made you hungry?

This is a little weird. No. I will say that I’ve read so long that I’ve finished reading with some weird noises coming from my stomach. Does that count?

20. Who is the person whose book advice you will always take?

I’m trying to figure out what this question means by book advice. Does it mean recommendations? I don’t think it means writing. So I’ll just assume it means suggestions. Okay. I don’t recommend books and I don’t want you suggesting any to me. We both win.

So that’s it! Another batch of questions found in the blogosphere and another batch conquered. Thoughts?

Ten Most Haunting Male Literary Characters

ImagePhoto Credit: Bubblews

Recently a survey was conducted of the British public to determine who they believed to be the most haunting male literary characters. Before I read the original article I had two characters immediately come to mind. One made the list and one did not. But who cares who I was thinking, let’s get into the list.

#10. Kevin – We need to Talk About Kevin, Lionel Shriver

Kevin doesn’t sound all that haunting to me, but I’ve also never read the book. Eh. Moving on.

#9 Caliban – The Tempest, William Shakespeare

I’ve read very little Shakespeare in my life. Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet. When I say I read Hamlet, I mean I listened to the chapter reviews in class so that I could get a 100 on the tests without ever reading a single page. High school is fun like that. I did read Romeo and Juliet and to this day still believe it to be the greatest love story I’ve ever read. So I don’t know who this guy from The Tempest is.

#8 President Coriolanus Snow – The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins

WHAT A SURPRISE! Yes, I hate President Snow. Yes, I think of him as being evil. But I did not expect to find his name on this list. Especially when we move along and see some of the other characters who are included. So suck it, President Snow!

#7 Pennywise the clown – It, Stephen King

I haven’t read the book, but I have seen the movie from the 80s? And boy, this guy could easily give you nightmares. Good thing I wasn’t afraid of clowns growing up. Just Chuck E. Cheese.

#6 Frankenstein’s monster – Frankenstein, Mary Shelley

In high school some students were required to read this, but I wasn’t. But I mean, EVERYONE knows this guy. I just hope your take on the story and the character does not come from the movie that was released earlier this year. Because even though I didn’t see it, I know for certain that the movie was nothing like the book. At least that’s what I’ve heard.

#5 Alex – A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess

No idea who this is, but I THINK a movie was made from this book? I don’t know.

#4 Mr. Rochester – Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte

Well I think some of you may be upset with me, but I also have not read this. But hey, I think Isla Fisher’s character had one of these books given to her by her dad in the movie Definitely, Maybe. And then she didn’t have it. And then Ryan Reynolds found it and kept it forever and ever  before giving it to her and then happily ever after. Good movie. But what the heck am I even talking about now?

#3 Jack Torrance – The Shining, Stephen King

Haven’t read any King. You all should know this by now.

#2 Count Dracula – Dracula, Bram Stoker

Well this is one of the two characters I thought of before reading the list. I’ve written several papers analyzing several aspects of the book and it is easily one of my all-time favorites. I was talking to my sister about the Count just the other day and all I could tell her was that he is the first character who comes to mind when I think of evil. He’s the first character who comes to mind when I think of monster. This story is also the first that comes to mind when I think of good vs. evil or man vs. monster. This book is truly great and the Count is the only character I think of when I think of vampires in literature.

#1 Heathcliff – Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte

Unfortunate that I don’t know this character. No commentary from me on the top spot.

Lastly, the only change that I could justifiably make to this list based on what I’ve actually read would be to have Dracula at number one. For all of the reasons that I listed above. He IS evil. He IS haunting. But as for the other character who I thought would make the list, Lord Voldemort. I was quite surprised that he wasn’t named. I mean, we have seven books to realize how bad he really is, whereas these other characters don’t. Remember the London Olympics opening ceremony in 2012? When HE was one of the featured acts when British literature was on display for the entire world to see? I rest my case.

So these are the most haunting male literary characters according to the British public. Do you agree with the list? Were there some characters missing?

You can read the full article that also lists the most haunting female characters here.

*The image is from the NBC series Dracula that was cancelled after just one season. But Mina, who you see in the image, in the show is seriously perfection. Oh my goodness. Just a thought for you all.