Category Archives: Books
In which Liz tells Frank about literature.
So my history with romance novels is long, complicated and surprisingly personal — but it began at summer camp. The year I was 12 or 13, one of the girls in my cabin at camp received a care package from a friend containing a half-dozen paperback romances, and they were passed around during hushed nights outside or in, the books falling open easily to the naughtiest bits.
It was exciting and fun — I found sex on the page to be far less scary than the prospect of real sex with a human being — and even when I stopped reading them, I never lost a residual fondness for the genre.
Since those smoky camp days, the romance novel industry has undergone some major shifts, but none so big as the advent of self-publishing, which has allowed writers with followings to make more money from their books than they might with a traditional publisher — it’s such a huge shift in the business that it’s led me to explore self-publishing myself (I make significantly less from sales than most romance novelists, alas).
But one of the things self-publishing rewards is specification — which is why, when I heard about author Virginia Wade, who makes $30,000 a month from her self-published Bigfoot erotica on Amazon, I wasn’t terribly shocked. Amused, sure, but not shocked. Especially when I saw that she employs one of the self-published ebook author’s most common strategies — make the first taste free, have them coming back for more.
This strategy also made it possible for me to read Moan for Bigfoot, the story that kicks off Wade’s epic Sasquatch romance series, for absolutely no money. Given that “absolutely no money” was the price I was willing to spend on it, Frank, it worked out really well!
So, how does Bigfoot erotica actually play out? I sat down to find out! Bigfoot erotica! WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG. Read the rest of this entry
Are you sitting down? You’re not walking anywhere, right, setting yourself up for some amazing pratfall once I conclude this vaguely cliche beginning and tell you something utterly ridiculous? Maybe take a seat, relax, though not too much. BE ON YOUR GUARD, Frank, because I have SHOCKING NEWS…
…We now live in a world where the man who directed Constantine made a better Hunger Games movie than the man who directed Pleasantville. Yes, I’m saying that the man who thought Shia LaBeouf would be a believable street tough has out-performed the man who gave us one of the more unappreciated and beautiful films of the 1990s.
(I mean, sure, Gary Ross’s use of the word “colored” ends up being pretty heavy-handed, but I adore the scene where Reese Witherspoon learns to love books, so shut up, Pleasantville haters.)
(And yes, also, sure, Francis Lawrence did make one of the best casting moves ever by signing up Tilda Swinton as the angel Gabriel but WHATEVER.)
Anyways, Frank, the point is that Catching Fire? It is really good! It is, in fact, arguably better than the film which came before it! I was told this in advance, but was very doubtful (see above). And yet, totally true.
The reasons for why, though, are pretty simple… Read the rest of this entry
There’s nothing like a good thrilling yarn, is there? So rarely, it seems, do I have time to curl up on the couch with a book that just grabs me by the neck and demands my attention — even if I know that I’m never going to read the book again, even if I don’t think the book is all that good, I still find that getting sucked into a story is one of modern life’s most potent pleasures.
Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, the hot book everyone was talking about a few months ago, was like that for me. I’m not genuinely sure I LOVED it (except for a few bits, which we’ll get to) but it was compelling as fuck, using its first-person POV narrative to carefully dole out secrets and surprises to the audience. And as news continues regarding the upcoming film adaptation, I find myself getting more and more excited to see it on the big screen.
What is it about the mysteries of Gone Girl that makes it work so well? I’ll tell you, Frank, but with this caveat — it really is a great read, especially if you like taudry scandals and gender roles commentary. If you (or anyone reading this) ain’t in the mood, I totally don’t blame you. If only because that validates the entire existence of this blog!
So, Gone Girl starts… Read the rest of this entry
In case you missed it, a couple of days ago your friend and mine, John Ross, stopped by to tell me what happened in the recent young adult adaptation The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. Aside from delighting us all with tales of Lena Headey kicking the shit out of things and maybe-incest, he reminded me that I’ve never gotten around to telling you what happens in the young adult novel/soon-to-be major motion picture Divergent.
Divergent, let’s be clear, is very much of the post-Hunger Games publishing craze — which is to say that without Katniss Everdeen, there is no Tris Prior, and without Suzanne Collins, there is no Veronica Roth on my Kindle.
But to Divergent‘s credit, it was a relatively early entry in said craze, making it almost not feel like pure bandwagon-hopping. And given the recent release of a teaser trailer, and the fact that Kate Winslet (!!!!!) is in it, Divergent seems like something you should at least have a passing familiarity with. Especially because this book be WEIRD, yo. Read the rest of this entry
So the first time I read Transmetropolitan, I was visiting Whitney, one of my oldest friends, in New Jersey. It was 2005, I was on a very random cross-country trip, and Whitney had a day job, and so spending the better part of 48 hours reading her trade paperbacks made sense.
Then, Transmetropolitan BROKE MY BRAIN.
By which I mean I loved it. Even though it BROKE MY BRAIN. And gave me nightmares. And did…
It did some other things, Frank. They mostly involve shouting. I shall explain.
Transmet, as it’s conventionally know, is writer Warren Ellis and artist Darick Robertson’s magnum opus for Vertigo Comics, a five year odyssey through an imagined future where genetics are easily manipulated, technology is something you swallow as pills, and we just call New York City “The City.”
If you read it in less than two days on a futon in New Jersey, it’s really intense. If you reread it in two weeks on an actual bed in Los Angeles… Actually still really intense. Read the rest of this entry
As you’re a man who enjoys cross-platform approaches to narrative, I think you’ll appreciate this. Buffy Season 8 is different from other Buffy comics that have been released by Dark Horse over the years because of the words “Season 8″ — unlike other comics, this is no stand-alone side adventure. This is what Joss Whedon and his team genuinely consider to be the continuation of the Buffy story, following that whole Buffy-shared-the-slayer-power-with-everyone-and-oh-yeah-Sunnydale-collapsed-into-the-earth thing you might remember from the TV show’s series finale.
And freed from budget constraints by the magic of sequential art, let’s just say that some imaginations get a massive fucking workout. Frank, every once in a while I am genuinely concerned that I will not be able to capture the batshit insanity of something I am telling you about. Today is one of those days.
By the way, when I say batshit insanity, I do mean that in a good way. Mostly.
What happens in it, Frank? Oh, my god, so much stuff. But I’ll try and keep things simple. Read the rest of this entry