I'm listening to The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake and enjoying it, but I enjoyed it more before I looked up the author and discovered all the prizes and whatnot she got.

Maybe it's a case of being left out of the party, but I frequently get a sense of "what am I missing here?" when I discover that an author is hailed as somehow super-uber-author. Same thing happened with the Olive Kitteridge book. I don't get what sets that writing apart. The word choices? The book structure? The sense of despair? How readers respond to the whole package of writing/plot/characterization? Yo, in case I haven't made my POV clear, the books don't shift my view of the universe, or make me see life in a transformed way. They're good, but I wouldn't call them Holy Fuck, that's Some Literature for The Ages good.

Maybe I should take more classes in this writing gig--by the time I was done with art school, when it came to paintings, I no longer knew what I liked but I knew what was art. That supernatural talent didn't stick with me, dammmation.

Speaking of awesome skillz, this enhanced-reality-inside-our-reality thing is all the rage, isn't it. American Music had the same theme (although they weren't freaked out about the stories that rose up from the massages she gave) I guess supernatural talent-- that isn't worth spit on the save civilization market-- comes to quiet young women who are not particularly talented or ambitious in other ways.


  1. I have no idea, but if it's any consolation, I never heard of any of those books, despite the prizes.

    I'm still puzzling over the Swedish novels that were all the rage this summer, the Millenium Trilogy or whatever it's called. Couldn't put them down (except for the first, which I never finished) but the writing was pretty piss poor horrible.

    Makes me more and more sure I'm just not cut out to be a writer of best selling fiction.

  2. Yeah, the popularity of those books surprised a lot of people.

    I'm looking forward to seeing all the copy-cat wannabe books try to jump on the Girl Who gravy train. What will people pick out as the reason those books were so popular?

    I'm guessing a bunch more plots containing damaged sullen females with technical skills are going to be on the market soon.

  3. I totally relate on this. I remember enjoying THE WHITE TIGER but not feeling like it "redefined" anything about my life or the book experience as one blurb/review claimed. In fact, had I not been exposed to all the hype I think I would have enjoyed it more.

    What is an author to make of that? Hype = sales but then hype = loss of fans through false expectations?

  4. Sometimes I think it is a bandwagon-jumping thing, where I obviously missed the jump. Remember when A Million Little Pieces was all anyone was reading? I couldn't even finish it, and that was BEFORE the whole controversy. People become afraid to admit - I hated that book - because everyone else is rhapsodizing about it. Kate - the books I have read of yours, I truly enjoy.

  5. awww, thanks Lucy.

    Good point about disappointed fans, Rachel. Expectations are a buggaboo. I notice a lot of reviewers can judge each book as if it hadn't been written by an author whose work they'd loved in the past.

    I can't seem to do that. When I know I loved someone's work, I'm going to be biased in favor of their books/voice. And if the next book is a real disappointment then it's a big BIG loss.

    Kinda like Greek tragedy--it's the downfall of the big noises that count as truly heartbreaking.

    heh. my verification word is fatcat. Yup.

  6. I also have that problem with new offerings not being as good as my expectations of an author. As I read I'm thinking, I know you can do better! What I have found is that my second read of the "lesser" offering is usually better. I know to re-align my expectations and so can appreciate what is good about the book rather than constantly comparing it to other works. Of course, it does actually have to achieve a minimum of goodness to warrant the re-read. :)


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