Yay! It's Friday and I have another author who has stepped up to the creativity plate to provide a little fun to start the weekend. Today, author J. C. Andrijeski joins us to talk about books that made it big, but left you scratching your head as to why, as well as, a few books she thinks should have made it big, but didn't. J. C. has published novels, novellas, serials, graphic novels and short stories, as well as nonfiction essays and articles, including the Allie’s War series and The Slave Girl Chronicles. Her short fiction runs from humorous to apocalyptic, and her nonfiction articles cover subjects from graffiti art, meditation, psychology, journalism, politics and history. JC currently lives and writes full time at the foot of the Himalayas in India, a location she drew on a fair bit in writing the Allie's War books. Please visit JC's blog at http://jcandrijeski.blogspot.com
Why is that book so popular?
So after reading something like the thirtieth blog post today about the 50 Shades trilogy debating whether or not it "deserves" the attention it's getting, I found myself thinking about the oft-repeated myth that the best books written usually go unacknowledged, whereas the bad books get a lot of underserved praise. I don't know about most people on here, but I think I've been hearing some form of this "popular = bad" myth since I was a kid, whether it was relating to books, movies, music, painting/drawing or whatever else.
Just for the heck of it, I tried to think of a book that, in my mind, didn't "deserve" its popularity, including those I may not have, personally, liked. I haven't read the 50 Shades trilogy yet, so I can't comment on that one, but I have to say, the other books that popped into my mind didn't strike me as particularly undeserving.
Some of those books, I didn't like particularly. For example, The DaVinci Code, which had a writing style that irritated me and which I found pretty boring. But a lot of this had nothing to do with the book and everything to do with my taste...further, the big, controversial story around it wasn't really a new theory for me, since I read some of the nonfiction research it had been based on prior to reading the book. I'd also liked Katharine Neville's version better, personally, which I believe was called The Magic Circle. But I have to say, my personal tastes aside, I can't with any honesty say that The DaVinci Code didn't deserve all of the attention it got. It obviously hit a pretty big chord in people, and it was a little less complex than the Katharine Neville version, so more people got caught up in the story and followed along with the discovery process.
Not a big fan of John Grisham, either, although a few of the movies they've made out of his books were okay. Still, I really get why so many people do like him, and I don't really feel he falls into the "undeserving" camp either, in that the whole conspiracy theory, anti-lawyer thing somehow strikes me as kind of tailor-made for a large chunk of the American psyche and reading public.
Loved Harry Potter. Liked Twilight...and definitely got why it was such a big deal, in terms of the archetype of the story itself and the appeal to women in particular. I love Stephen King even if I haven't loved every single one of his books, and Neal Stephenson and Cormac McCarthy and Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games.
I guess my point is, in the span of my life so far, where I've often heard these "only the bad writers get rich" complaints, I couldn't think of a single book I've read that fit that category, at least not in a way that I felt confident wasn't a matter of personal taste. But hey, my tastes in reading might be off the norm...I've never read any James Patterson for example, and maybe only one Nora Roberts, so I know there are huge, massive genres out there that I have no clue about.
Your Turn: So what about you? What books can you think of that either go unnoticed and SHOULD have become the next big thing, or DID become the next big thing and really shouldn't have?
I thought I would offer the best answer in the comments an ebook copy of any one book in either my Allie's War series or The Slave Girl Chronicles (winner's choice). Of course, I'll have to judge it, and it'll be subjective, so apologies for that in advance, but I'm really looking forward to what people have to say...!
Learn about all of J. C. Andrijeski's books at Goodreads.
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