Wednesday, September 9, 2009

around the blogs: shelf life on james patterson

Entertainment Weekly has a fantastic new book blog, Shelf Life. It's fantastic because there is so little book coverage in the magazine itself (space, advertising, timeliness, interest, I get it, but I don't like it).

There's a fantastic post about James Patterson's contract renewal today. I read James Patterson (Women's Murder Club), but I don't think he's a great writer. One could argue he's not even a writer anymore given everything he publishes is co-authored. I've read all eight WMC books, and the last one was an embarrassment. He's clearly a brilliant marketer or was smart enough to hire a brilliant marketer.

I know there are many, many people who not only love his books, but buy all of his books. There are those who would argue he's a good writer. The big question for me is if he is good for publishing. The librarian in me truly believes "as long as they're reading...," but the part-time literary snob in me wants to ensure a future for quality, independent literature as well as lighthearted fare. I want balance in an industry built on mass appeal. I want room in the bestseller lists for the undiscovered literary authors to make a surprise appearance. Is there room for both in modern publishing? Also, if Danielle Steel and Nora Roberts can crank out so many books by themselves, shouldn't Patterson have enough more if he employs others to write the first draft?

I hope Megan McCafferty weighs in on this one. I loved her tongue-in-cheek take on Bethany and her friends discussing Pat Jamison.

1 comment:

  1. Part-time literary snob *snort*....I love that expression! I have friends who read every Patterson novel that is released (let's face it, he's a cash cow for publishers). I admit to taking pleasure in pointing out that what they are reading isn't even a "Patterson"'s an "Anonymous Assistant Who is Underpaid" novel. ;) Nice post.


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