February has come and gone, which means even MORE books! But I’ll be honest. I actually got these in January at the same time as my previous book haul. I even recorded it at the same time because I didn’t want to have a million books in one video.
So let’s just not get all technical with it. We’ll pretend that I didn’t tell you all of that and that these books were actually bought in February. How’s that? Now watch, watch, watch! And tell me which books you brought home this month.
Last night I went to sleep a little late, even for me. Probably around 4:15. Had work at 10:00. But that’s not the crazy part. 4:15 isn’t THAT abnormal. Happens maybe once a week randomly. But I think I actually dreamed about blogging topics. Yikes. But I’m not sure. I might have just woken up multiple times thinking of blogging.
But I couldn’t remember any of the topics I’d “dreamed” of when I finally woke up for good. Welp.
I’m serious, guys. This is weird. It isn’t like I dream of books or something all the time. Or maybe I do and I just forget? Oh geez. Help.
Today’s video discusses two specific cases regarding authors’ freedom of expression. Both cases are current and involve Salman Rushdie and Ahmed Naji. Maybe you know one or both of them, but maybe you don’t. Regardless of what you might think of either one of them as a person or their work, these two men are unfairly being targeted and singled out for their work. I’d rather talk about them and bring a little bit of awareness to their cases than just sit back and say nothing.
Take a few minutes to watch and let me know what you think of authors’ freedom of expression in the 21st century.
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?
I really have no time to read right now. And the reason is not because I work full time. Anyone who says they can’t read solely because of a regular 40 hour work week is probably not trying hard enough to find time. Now obviously things like family responsibilities might cut into one’s reading time, but I no longer take just work as an excuse unless we’re talking major overtime.
Anyway, my reason is different. I’m currently working on getting my real estate license and I devote hours a day to my current class. It isn’t difficult, but very time consuming. So when I’m not at work, at the gym, or working toward finishing my real estate courses, I’m sleeping. Cause I need sleep. Oh well.
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?
Oh geez. I’m on the floor laughing. Let me tell you what’s going on. The race for the White House is quickly dwindling down to a more reasonable number. Which means the candidates still in the race are lobbying for fundraising. Well Marco Rubio’s team has put a different spin on it. They’ve said he’s the equivalent of Harry Potter in his fight against Voldemort (Donald Trump).
Guys, this is a real thing. In a fundraising email sent out to supporters Trump is said to have made several horcruxes just like Voldemort, and the horcruxes are the other candidates in the race not named Rubio.
The last few months of this cycle have been unexpected, but never did I think of Trump as the Dark Lord. Maybe Rubio is on to something. Maybe he is the Dark Lord and that’s how he’s built up a nice following. Or maybe I’m losing it? Ha!
Serious question now. Do you think Donald Trump is Lord Voldemort? I think I’m not sure. I mean, would Voldemort settle for that hair? 😂
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.
Welcome to the second post in my new “This Week in Books” series here on the blog and YouTube channel. Today I’m discussing three interesting topics. Khloe Kardashian. Apple. And a new development about A Birthday Cake for George Washington. I know it’s a pretty random assortment of topics, but that’s what makes it fun! At least I’m doing something different, right? I mean, I could just grab the latest YA bestseller and review it like everyone else seems to do. But that’d be boring and not very original.
Anyway, now watch!
PS: I forgot to wear my hat this time. I’m sorry you have to see my hair. I’m embarrassed.
An American icon died today. And even though today is video day and I have a new video for y’all, I felt that I should write one more post about Harper Lee.
I’ve written extensively over the last year about the Pulitzer Prize winning author. Mostly because she popped up in the news for the first time in years and I finally got around to reading To Kill a Mockingbird. But you know what my first thought was when I learned of her death? Some of you will know it. It was that she wouldn’t be taken advantage of anymore.
I’m not upset or critical of her for only writing one book during her lifetime (I still don’t consider Go Set a Watchman anything more than a draft that was never meant to see the light of day). I don’t fault her for not relishing in the media attention she received as a result of her book. And I don’t blame her for her second book coming out.
Harper Lee did in one book what so many people fail to do in a lifetime. She changed lives. Imagine what it would have been like reading her book for the first time in 1960. Depending on your personal ideology and mindset the book would have been eye-opening or repulsive. But when we read it now it gives a glimpse into the ugly history of the southern United States. We all know that not everyone living during the period was racist or experienced racism in their day-to-day lives, which is why her book is so important. It shows the bad in people during the period, but it also shows how good people really were. There were millions of Atticus Finch’s all over the country, but not everyone was fortunate enough to know one.
I won’t thank Harper Lee for writing a masterpiece. Instead I’ll thank her for doing her part to ensure that a terrible time period in the history of this country is never forgotten. So thank you, Ms. Lee. May you rest in peace.
I’ll leave you with my To Kill a Mockingbird video from last year.