Books to the Sky

Archive for September 2008

Did you hear last week that Annie Proulx has said she hates all the Brokeback Mountain fanfic her fans send her?

She said: “They constantly send ghastly manuscripts and pornish rewrites of the story to me, expecting me to reply with praise and applause for ‘fixing’ the story. They certainly don’t get the message that if you can’t fix it, you’ve got to stand it… Brokeback Mountain has had little effect on my writing life, but is the source of constant irritation in my private life.”

Gawker has an example of a “pornish rewrite.”

Dear Author pulled this quote claiming that 33% of content “around” a book is fanfic. Wow! I guess this is more true in some cases than others. One could argue all those romance novels involving Mr. Darcy prove that Jane Austen fanfic is practically a cottage industry. (Indeed, I think we can blame the whole Regency romance genre on Austen. I mean, so to speak.) And we all know how rampant Harry Potter and LOTR fanfic is. But 33%? Really?

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lists

Posted on: September 23, 2008

Jezebel put together a list of 75 books every woman should read.

Of those listed, I have, sadly, only read 17 of them. But! Some of my favorite authors and books are on there, so I feel like it’s a strong list. And I’d add Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich. And The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. And, uh, probably a lot of others.

What would you add to the list? Or, in the interest of being gender neutral, what books do think everyone should read?

This past weekend, I took a bunch of category romances out from the library. I intend to make recaps of same a regular feature on this blog. If you have suggestions for additions to the feature, leave them in the comments. But first, let’s take a moment to break it down.

Definition: Category romances are those 200-page romance novels published by Harlequin and the like, the sorts of books with steamy covers and short shelf lives. Harlequin publishes a bunch of these every month. I don’t mean to denigrate the whole genre—some of my favorite romance authors got their starts writing these—but these are the kinds of books you make fun of your aunt for reading or are ashamed to read on the subway.

I haven’t read many categories, aside from reissues by authors I already liked (Janet Evanovich, Jennifer Crusie, Suzanne Brockmann, Nora Roberts). I would guess these are kind of the cream of the crop; the authors went on to bigger and better things, and I know that, at least in Evanovich’s case, some revisions were made before the books were published again.

So this should be fun. Let’s dive right in to The Tycoon’s Trophy Wife, which I picked because it has a title that’s pretty typical of the genre.

Line, Publication Date: Harlequin Presents, 2005
Cover Steaminess: With 10 being shirtless Fabio and 1 being a plain pink cover, this one’s a 4. Cover features a photo of a bland-looking couple, the man in a tux, the woman in a red cocktail dress. He’s carrying her up some marble stairs and kissing her ear.
Series/Back of Book Description: Wives Wanted! “Reece knew that Alanna would make the perfect trophy wife! Stunning and sophisticated, she wanted nothing more than a marriage of convenience. And that was fine by Reece! But suddenly, their comfortable life together was turned upside down when Reece discovered that his wife had a dark past. But, he realized, he wasn’t prepared to lose Alanna—even if the only thing they shared was passion…”
Flowery Language Quotient: Low. Disappointingly so. Some bad metaphors for girl and boy parts would have made this novel a lot more entertaining.

This is not a good bad book. It’s a bad bad book. It’s like someone wrote all the soap opera cliches she could think of—abusive first husband! secret babies! car accidents! parties! convenient amnesia! sex as a miracle cure!—onto little pieces of paper, put them into a can, and shook it up, then pulled out the ones necessary to put a novel together. Fun, right?

Read the rest of this entry »

Hello. I’m a new recapper, and my beat is “The Chronicles of Gor.” It’s a series of 26 books, written by Professor John Norman, which straddle the line between “so bad they’re good” and “so bad they’re horrible.” This recap is of the first book of the series, Tarnsman of Gor.

The books take place on a “Counter-Earth”– a planet purportedly in our solar system but hidden– and are infamous for egregious abuse of scifi/fantasy tropes and a depiction of women as sexually submissive and enjoying slavery.

Read the rest of this entry »

Dear Author did another one of those “If you like X, you’ll like Y,” where X is such a good writer that there’s no one really comparable. This time they tackle one of my favorite writers, Jennifer Crusie, so if you want a run down on her novels, check it out. (Although my personal favorite Crusie novel, Faking It, is not mentioned at all!)

If you’re not familiar, Crusie is a romance writer, but she writes contemporary romance that’s a hell of a lot of fun to read, with humor and wit and realistic characters. So there’s my gushing for today. Now back to the snark…

I’m adding some new links to the sidebar, sites I’ve found recently. Comment if you can think of related sites you’d like to bring to my attention/want to see linked here. Some of these are TV nostalgia, not book nostalgia, but the same principle applies: you know those shows you loved as a kid? Yeah, they weren’t actually so good.

+ You miss your old familiar friends: a Full House recap blog.
+ My Past in Books: A book blog for people who grew up in the 80s.
+ Like Pike: Christopher Pike recaps.
+ Lifetime, Wow!: Lifetime movie recaps.
+ Big Orange Couch: early 90s Nickelodeon show recaps.

Go forth and waste time!


Books to the ceiling,
Books to the sky,
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them! How I need them!
I'll have a long beard by the time I read them.
--Arnold Lobel

From the moment I picked up your book until I laid it down, I was convulsed with laughter. Some day I intend reading it.
--Groucho Marx

Interested in writing for us?

We're looking for a few more people as devoted to guilty-pleasure reading as we are! Email bookssky (at) fshk (dot) net!