Monday, August 14, 2006

What people will be reading

The CS Monitor asked some book buyers (2 from the big chains, and two major independents) what they are reading now. Nothing all that surprising (1776, James Patterson, Devil Wears Prada, yeah, yeah, yeah) although the Borders guy mentions a book about Mary Magdalene and notes that people who like the Da Vinci Code will like it. This is code for two things. This is the book they hope will make them lots of money and drive lots of traffic at the stores. It will also be the book you cannot escape no matter where you go. I probably will pass at it bears some similarities with one of my all time most hated books.

On my own personal reading front, I disregarded my general advice to toss aside a book that isn't working and I am nearly finished with Cold is the Grave. While it isn't the best book ever, I won't have that post-fast food "Why did I do that" feeling. More a nice meal at the neighborhood place.


Brack said...

"Finish your [novel]."

On a related note, I overcame my initial hesitation and dipped a toe into Neal Asher's "Cowl," which you sent to me a few months ago. I'm about a 100 pages in, and it's actually not half bad . . . despite the liberal use of the phrase "torbeast" on the back cover. I'm picking up a Philip K Dick vibe at this point; we'll see how it plays out.


Tripp said...

Yes there is a Dickian "just what the hell is going on here" vibe throughout. It gets pretty trippy and bizarre as it goes on. I quite liked that one, despite the bizarro cover and back copy.

Steve said...

I wholeheartedly agree about the awfulness of The Magic Circle, which was so bad it even caused me to like The Eight a bit less than I initially did. The only solace is that it killed her career deader than those of all of the 80s brat pack writers put together. And that's dead, man.

Help me think of other books so complete in their awfulness that they scotch a once-promising career.

Tripp said...

Oooo oooo ooo!

I was just thinking along similar lines, but more along analogy in the order of The Eight is to the Magic Circle as REM's Life's Rich Pageant is to Up.

As to career slaying, wouldn't American Psycho fall into it, although that is more controversy than badness.

Brack said...

No no, T, you were dead on with American Psycho (a/k/a Less Than Zero Episode V). Nattering on about clothes, skin care products and butchery of prostitutes is just phoning it in, not scathing social commentary.

Although I have read neither, word is that Donna Tartt (The Secret History followed by The Little Friend) may be in the same boat.

Steve said...

The promising-start-followed-by-career-killer is a tough one to find. The good author sliding into crap is much more common (Stephen King is a good example here, as is just about every decent fantasy author. See also Ken Follett and Larry McMurtry). Donna Tartt is a good call, although I haven't read The Little Friend and am going on hearsay.

I guess Scott Smith won't be added to that list any time soon.

Tripp said...

I was going to say the same about the slow slide to crap such as Kerr, Chrichton, and Michael Connelly.

I have heard similar things about Donna Tartt, but Simon Le Bon really liked it. That might seem an odd recommendation, but judging by his online book reviews, the man has impeccable taste.