Okay – so my unofficial book club is starting! We will be reading Jim Butcher’s Storm Front, the first in his Dresden Files books. So far the goal is to read the book by 7/30 and meet back here… but its a really light read. Edible I might say. So we might end up finishing up sooner. Time will tell. I will post questions in the threads down below for us to consider. Don’t read them until you’re done with the book, as they usually contain spoilers. At the rate I’m going I should have them posted before the end of June. Happy Reading!
Its been awhile! I’ve been stuck in my head writing and editing SO MUCH. Its all good, but when I sit down to talk to people my head is so full with the STUFF that its hard to come out the other side. So what do I do?
Dance, I said, dance.
Meanwhile, my favorite song of the moment, for your viewing pleasure. Cake By The Ocean by DNCE.
A little bit of a rant at the end of this blustery weekend. I’m sure you’ve figured out by now that I love books. Love to read them. Love to smell them. Love to write them. Love to roll around naked on them… Kidding. They are pokey and angular. Yet that smell…
There are so many choices too. Great titles. Seducing covers. Billions of stories further supplemented by the influx of self published authors. So why is it so hard to find a good book then?
In a word (or two) I blame self publishing. Wait, wait, I know that’s harsh. Bear with me here.
For me, when I’m looking for a new book, I have a certain superficial process, much like assessing someone for dating. It goes a little like this: Book Cover, Title, Author, Book Description on Back Page, First Few Pages.
But the part that’s killing me now is that a good portion of the self published folks don’t even try to polish their work before they put it out for mass consumption. When I’m at Half Price books looking for a good read, I make it to the back cover of very few books. Same with Amazon, actually. At least at the Barnes and Nobles brick and mortar I feel more confident about my book choices but it’s still not 100% guaranteed I’ll find something. Now with Amazon bringing brick and mortar to the market I feel this is going to get even worse.
There are literally millions of books out there that probably had the potential to be amazing but who ever wrote them decided it was ready NOW. They didn’t take the next steps to make sure it was ready. Would you go on a first date after putting organic mulch out in your garden all day? No, no you wouldn’t. You’d be all stinky and sweaty. Nothing a little showering and grooming won’t fix – but you wouldn’t be ready to meet a potential mate fresh out of the garden. So why would you do that with a book? Put it out in all of its stinky glory for everyone to potentially date?
Now, let’s move on to social media and its role in this dilemma.
Twitter can be a beautiful thing. I love following all of my friends, readers, writers, people I’m fan-girling over, folks from the music and comedy industry, agents, editors and publishers. Its too much fun seeing tweets from some of my favorite political activists who are dead-on my kind of people. But then there’s everyone else.
The re-tweeters. The marketers. The folks trying to sell their novels by inundating me with bad lines and not well thought out covers from their self published pieces.
If you are telling me *every single book* you tweet about is Awesome! Or Amazing! Or a Five star read! How likely am I to believe it’s a good book? Come on folks, someone paid them to say that. Even if it was just in a copy of their book. Don’t get me started on the New York Times Bestseller list and how they’ve messed up the system… So now we have been inundated with books that people are being paid to review and market. How many of those folks hired the necessary editors to bring their little darlings up to par for publication? Put it through its paces first?
What I want, what I NEED as a reader, is a rating system for books. Perhaps an organization for writers of self published books to join. It would have tight rules. Like, they’d have different levels of certification kind of like what WHOLE Foods has for its meat.
Level 1: Has no editing at all, outside of the writer or their loved ones. (I don’t care if you’ve gotten your masters in English. Editing your own writing very rarely works.) Level 2: Has Beta Readers & Critique Partners. Level 3: Same as levels 2 but has been through a developmental edit. Level 4: Same as levels 2 & 3 but has been through a line edit & hired a professional to do the cover. Level 5: Same as levels 2 – 4 but has been traditionally published & is now a free agent.
These numbers would be clearly printed on the cover for all to see. Can you imagine how much easier it would be to find good books? The thought gives me the shivers. That said, I’m not positive the same idea would work for dating. But hey, who am I to make assumptions? Tinder might just be doing it that way and we can’t see it.
I think you can tell from my previous statement that I’d be a Level 3 – 5 kind of gal. Yes, you might call me a snob. But seriously. I’ve spent most of my life reading, years of my life writing, and only a little less time than that editing manuscripts. After a bit, you get to know what makes a good book. It becomes natural. All of those how to write classes and novels help a lot too, but even before then there was instinct.
I’ll end today’s soap box rant with a thought for the entrepreneur out there who wants to take on the above mentioned idea and run with it:
Please, for the love of all that’s sacred, please do this? Take my idea, it’s yours. For free. Just tell me you’ve done it so I can see my idea baby grow.
I need this. WE need this.
And hope you had a great weekend!
The other day on a whim The Husband, Bunny Wabbit and I went to Barnes and Noble. I was overwhelmed, as I always am, with all of that paper deliciousness around me. The urge to shove the piles of books on the floor and roll on them was great.
There were a few dilemmas that night. One was which genre do I delve into? My Goodreads list is quite long and mostly horror and thriller, with a science fiction thrown in for grins. No significance there, just what folks are recommending to me. That said I wasn’t in the mood for any of the books on my list that night. Looking back I think I wanted what they deem Upmarket Fiction, or Book Club Fiction. Books about the human condition and/or soul searching (sometimes crushing) stories that either inspire or drag you down to the deepest darkest places in your mind. Light stuff, you know?
When I couldn’t find what I was craving from my list of To Read, I decided on GIRL ON A TRAIN. There lay problem two: Do I buy a hardcover knowing it’s bound to come out in paperback sometime in the future, or do I scour every single shelf to find a paperback worth reading? I started with the latter. Of course, this is one of my favorite things to do, so no pain there.
My problem with hardcovers in this scenario is that for the price they were charging I felt like I was married to the book. I have to read it no matter how good it is. With paperback and digital it’s always easier to set it down.
After a twenty minute search I chose the hardcover. As it turns out Barnes and Noble gave me an amazing discount and the price wasn’t that bad. So there’s that. I’ll let you know what I think of the book after I finish up AT THE WATER’S EDGE. Incidentally one of my friends gave me WATER’S EDGE as a recommendation, and another friend is listening to it on audiobook. It’s kinda fun, reading books with friends; a nod to our old book club. Miss that part of my life.
The fam and I finished up our bookstore adventure with frozen yogurt. Mine was watermelon sorbet with marshmallow cream, and lots of boba. Mmm. Can’t think of a better way to spend an evening.
Now I’m off to the hairdresser to turn my hair cotton candy pink. While reading ofcourse. ‘Cause sometimes you have to get in touch with your inner Bubble Gum Goddess.
You’re going to think I’m crazy for saying this. I’m totally excited for what comes next, whatever it is. I’m one of those annoying people. Even with all of the things that are dragging me down. Even with the presidential debates going on. Even then.
Bunny Wabbit texted me from the gender neutral bathroom at his college. They repainted the bathroom to cover up the anti-trans and antigay slurs written on the walls all over campus. That statement in itself gives me the shivers. There are still young adults in this day in age who feel inclined to debase public property to hurt others? Come on parents. Step up and do a better job raising your children.
Sorry. Soap box moment. Kinda like Tourettes. Happens every now and again.
Oh wait… it’s not over.
We live in Washington, where we’re supportive of our LGBTQ community. Until we’re not. It seems some of our Representatives and a smattering of Assholes out there are pushing them away. The Representatives are choosing to make it their business to say no to our trans friends when it comes to going to the bathroom in a safe environment, one that aligns to the gender they associate with. How is that okay?
Going to the bathroom isn’t generally something you “choose” to do. Have you ever thought, I could go to the bathroom right now, but, its ONLY ten hours from now until I get home, that would work too. Decisions decisions. No. You haven’t. Usually, it’s more along the lines of, I have to go right now or else. It’s a part of how our bodies’ function, and we have to do it whether we want to or not.
Can’t we just make it a safe thing to do for everybody? Why is that hard for folks to wrap their brains around? I mean seriously. Meanwhile the Assholes think it’s okay to harass our friends and loved ones, defacing public (and probably private) property to get their hate agenda across. Oh how I want to give their parents a talk’n to.
A quick break for a Ted Talk on the topic:
NOW I’ll crawl off of that soap box that was really pretty tall this time.
So yeah, despite all of this bullshit, I’m a happy person. Excited for what tomorrow brings. Gawds know why. So when Bunny Wabbit sent me this picture of the only graffiti that they didn’t paint over in the gender neutral bathroom, I was thoroughly pleased.
Now that is graffiti I can get behind. He he.
I’m also excited that Little Bear made me homemade cookies with icing and pink sprinkles. ‘Cause you know, SPRINKLES!! They fix everything.