There are some books that have shaped my reading over the years, and I made a video to talk about them. Which books would be on your list?
Month: November 2020
Is This a Good Thing?
The consolidation of the publishing world continues. Recently it’s been announced that Penguin Random House, which is owned by a German conglomerate, will buy Simon & Schuster.
One may think, “so what?” Just a few short years ago Penguin and Random House were separate publishing companies, as in within the last decade. And now the behemoth that’s Penguin Random House is buying another large US publisher.
To attempt to answer my own question, I have no idea. There are reports that the new combined publisher would publish a third of all books in the US. That’s one part of it. But another aspect is for the readers and writers. Is a so-called mega publisher actually good for either group? Just being bigger doesn’t inherently mean better. Many times these types of mergers also talk about profitability. Again, profitable doesn’t always mean better.
The other aspect would be the employees. In most merger talks there always seems to be discussion about what happens to the existing workers. Often some guarantee is made, but history tells us these guarantees sometimes do and sometimes don’t work out.
I have no idea if this new merger will be good for publishing, authors, readers, or even shareholders. But it does indicate that the consolidation of the industry continues.
A Promised Land Breaks the Bookstore
I really thought that was a clever title. 😂
I wrote last week about President Obama’s first volume of his new memoir. Everyone knew it would sell well. But in reality, it sold 1.7 million copies its first week in North America. I haven’t seen the numbers in other regions.
I don’t know what the break even point for the publisher is, but the Obamas received a mammoth publishing deal a few years back of $50M+. How long until the two of them have their own imprint somewhere? It wouldn’t even matter if it focused on a specific genre or set of issues. It has to be in the works, right? What do you think? Did you get the book?
Early this morning I finished my 37th book of the year. I expect to reach 40 by the end of this week. But this year’s reading has taught me one thing that’s undeniable. Robert Crais is the best crime novelist writing today.
It was the seventh time this year I’ve read one of his books. That’s an absurd amount for me to read by any single author in a given year. Going back to my college days when I was consistently in the 20-40 range several calendar years in a row, I’d never read that many by a single author. This year has been different. Mostly because I’ve actually gotten some good numbers done. So there’s more opportunity.
I’m really stingy with my ratings for books. For example, after I finished my 30th book of the year the average rating was 2.93 out of 5. That was a slight uptick from the first 25. The average rating for the seven Robert Crais novels I’ve read this year? 4.42 out of 5. I’ve rated more than half of them as 5 star reads. I talk and write a lot about Harry Bosch. Michael Connelly is right there with Crais, but in my eyes he’s just slightly behind. Harry will likely be coming to an end at some point as he’s aged in real-time. Nothing I’ve read indicates Elvis or Joe are going anywhere anytime soon. No complaints from me.
I could say more. Lots more. And I will. But it’s time for bed.
Final Book Haul of 2020
I swear I recorded the video and am writing this post fully believing the title to be true. About 20% of me thinks it’s a lie. 😂
At least it’s just books for me and not like, TVs or something. Anyway, feel free to watch. Or you can tell me what books you’ve recently added to your personal shelves.
Breaking the Rules
For several years I’ve had a rule to not read the same author/series within five books of each other. There isn’t really a reason for it. I just came up with it one day and have largely stayed true.
Not today. I’m running out of time in 2020 and I decided last night to stick with what I know and who I know. I know what to expect when reading Robert Crais. His books usually aren’t too lengthy and never leave me disappointed. So I’m reading three in a row in my dash to the finish line. I still may not reach my goal, but there’s no harm in trying.
Do you have any rules like mine?
A Highly Anticipated New Release
Today former President Obama’s first volume of his presidential memoirs will be released. It’s likely on par with any new release of the last decade.
I didn’t pre-order and likely won’t be buying it soon, but just its release got me thinking about 2018’s Becoming by Michelle Obama. I read recently it has sold more than 10 million copies. Of you can recall, her book tour was a massive success in cities all over the country and crowds filling arenas to see her speak about her experiences and her book.
There will be no such tour for Barack. With Covid-19 cases surging in many parts of the country and restrictions being put in place again, any event would be virtual. No one here feels sorry for him. He’s living his best life. But I do think having a book tour would have given lots of people the chance to hear from him directly up close and personal. I’m sure he’s still going to sell millions of books.
I somehow thought in the last five days that I’d be able to finish three books. Not sure what I was thinking. Today is day 16 of the month and I finally finished my first book of November last night. This leaves me 15 books short of my goal. That’s with 45 days left this year. 😳
I was feeling really confident after two straight months of completing eight books each, but the writing is almost on the wall. I’ll keep going and we’ll see where things end up, but this has still been a nice year for me, no matter if I reach my goal or not. Only nine away from my best year ever, so that personal best is still within reach. We’ll see!
Lee Child Just Did What?
Lee Child is the author of the immensely popular Jack Reacher series. You probably know Tom Cruise was cast as Reacher in two movies, but I hope you also know he doesn’t fit the description of the character.
The series has been ongoing for more than 20 years. It’s high quality writing, but I’ve only read the first two in the series. Reacher never pulled me in like others in the genre.
But the author has jumped ship. He claims he’s done writing. Now Reacher will continue on, but written by the author’s younger brother.
This seems, well, odd. No one says Lee Child hasn’t earned the opportunity to stop writing. Other authors who have written long, popular series typically don’t just stop writing them. There are several recent examples of authors who continued writing until their death. But let’s say Lee Child is the exception. He’s done. Okay.
In mentioning the previous authors it goes without saying that if the series is still being written at the time of their death, then there is no conclusion to it. That’s what I find most annoying about this. If he no longer wants to write the series, why not finish it over a final book or two. Wrap things up nice and tight for the millions of readers he’s amassed? Oh, right. Money.
The other issue I have with this is that the mystery genre seems to be the worst at this very thing. Authors will write a series for decades and never actually finish it. Sometimes they die and sometimes it gets passed along to someone else forever and ever. Young adult series, though often much more popular than mysteries, are always finished. Literary fiction, same. But mystery, nah, let’s keep this thing going for eternity.
I hate when series or characters are continued after the author’s death. It’s never about anything other than money. I imagine the publisher fought tooth and nail to continue the series once it learned of Child’s desire to retire. I know the counter is that the series continues for those readers I mentioned, but it isn’t the same. It’s never the same.
A Second Uh Oh
Last week I wrote about not reading recently. This is day 11 of the month and I haven’t finished a book yet. Welp. If you can recall, I need to read eight this month and next month to reach my goal. I’m nearing the point of no return and running out of time.
There’s really not a reason for it. I’ve been reading the last few days, but not enough to finish my current book. It also hasn’t helped that I’ve been falling asleep uncharacteristically early. I blame the time change. I’m setting a mini goal of trying to finish three books by Sunday. You think I can do it?