No Brainers

Some books just scream for us to judge them by their covers. Take the following cover, found by intrepid judger-in-the-field, Snow. As Snow points out, it's like Baen is doing this just to fuck with us. They're trying to see just how bad their covers could possibly be. Is Jim Baen's taste that bad? Apparently!

Y'know, as someone who's married to someone who's last name is slang for testicles, I feel for people with unfortunate names. But that's the nice thing about being an author. There's a handy little thing called a pseudonym that one can use if one wants to write, say, romance novels, and one's name is synonymous with sex! Y'know, if one didn't want to be, oh, I don't know, made fun of on a blog. Nina, you're the joy of fifteen year old boys, and bane of librarians, everywhere.

And what is going on with that woman, anyway? Is that some sort of chitinous shell? Are we morphing from a cockroach? Heh heh. COCKroach. BANGS. One BITE Stand. Heh heh heh.

And finally, a book that faithful reader Michael points out, "should be judged solely on typography:"


Post #100!

Wow, post #100 came out of the blue, huh? I've got a special treat for you today which is, of course, not really book related.

It's funny how the internet works, isn't it? A couple of librarians sit around and make fun of James Patterson. One of them has the genius idea to write down the last like from all the chapters (which would be a herculean effort if the. chapters. weren't. written. like this.) and she posts the list on her blog. Another librarian in the system hears about it, finds it hilarious, and posts it on her own blog. Wham, bam, thank you librarian ma'am, and so it goes.

Ladies and gentlebeings, I have the great pleasure to present to you today the first nine chapters in the soon-to-be hit series, You've Been Warned the One Panel Comic Strip. Brought to you by http://www.aperfectworld.org/. And they said it couldn't be done...


Think Like a Cat and Other Useless Wastes of Time

That cat is thinking:

Oooh! Shiny! Creepy woman, staring at me! Fluffy hair. Want to scratch. Is that a bug?!? Must kill! Itch!!! Feline behaviorist, my ass! Wall...mmmmm...fascinating wall. Red and yellow are NOT good colors to be dancing above my head. Creepy woman still staring at me!! She twists whiskers! Get away!! Shiny camera, must topple. Destruction! Mmmmm, bug.

In other news, this blog has been named as one of the Ten Blogs to Read in 2008 by LISNews (I voted for the effing librarian, myself...sorry, eff!). I must say I am unbelievably chuffed, and promise to only use my powers for good. Ooooh, shiny! Destruction!

So, what do YOU think the cat is thinking?


You've Been Warned!

Could this cover get any worse?

Why yes, Virginia, this cover could get a whole lot worse...check it out:

On another note, I love working in libraries. Not 'cause of the stinky patrons or the moldy books (okay, I love them, too), but because other librarians are such freaky cool people! A colleague of mine recently took time out of her day to compile a list that I think should be shared. I'll let her tell you herself (stolen directly from her own blog):

YOU'VE BEEN WARNED (no, really, you have)

James Patterson's You've Been Warned is the current best-seller on The New York Times hardcover fiction list.

Number One.

Can I tell you how scary this is?

My coworker, Lauren, and I were flipping through it this morning, and we were in hysterics as we read various passages aloud. We could turn to any page and find at least a dozen ridiculous one-liners. It's the kind of book that makes one yearn for the witty, polished prose of a Danielle Steel or a V.C. Andrews.

Then we began reading just the last sentence of every chapter. They were all very--cue scary music--DUN DUN DUNNN!! And the more we read, the funnier they got.

Naturally, we decided that they needed to be collected.So I typed up a list of the last line of every chapter in the book. And the amazing thing was that the story actually made sense this way. Lauren pointed out that it's like that speed reading technique they teach you in high school, where you only read the first and last sentence of each paragraph and, supposedly, that gives you the gist of it. So this is like speed reading on speed.

Now, I am not claiming to have the World's Best Taste in literature. In fact, I'm pretty easy to please. I can usually find something redeeming about whatever it is I'm reading. I like Faulkner just as much as I like the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. In fact, I probably like the Sisterhood more, because I've actually read them all.

I'd also like to point out that I actually HAVE read a full James Patterson novel. A few of them, in fact. I found the first two Alex Cross books, Along Came a Spider and Kiss the Girls, entertaining (I liked the movies, too). But then he started kidnapping every member of the Cross family. Bringing back serial killers from the dead. Chasing his hero with tigers AND vampires--in the same novel. And not cute teen boy vampires like Edward Cullen either. I mean, what the heck?

Then he began publishing every novel with another author, like he can't even be bothered to write his own books anymore. He has a new release nearly every month, and I have trouble trusting a writer who must spend like two weeks, max, working on a book.

I'm sorry for being snarky here, but I'd like to point out that on Amazon, as of this minute, Warned has 93 customer reviews, and a whopping 62 of them gave it one star. Some choice quotes:

Noirgirl:"All the paragraphs.Are written.Like THIS!BOO!"

Karen Honeycutt: "I am very pissed off that I wasted money on this."

Robert Stovall: "Weird and boring"Nuff Said: "Holy Moly ! This is so not a good book!"

Cricket: "This is by far the most disappointing book I've read in years."

BOOKLOVER: "James Patterson should be ashamed of himself."

deeper waters: "A waste of time and an insult to one's intelligence. There is nothing redeeming about it....not the plot, writing or the characters."

Ronald E. Pagels: "This is probably the worst book I have ever read."

goldencz: "It was HORRIBLE!!!!"

N.R. Cronce: "James Patterson Schlock Doctor"

J. Crace: "James, buddy, you're getting too far out there--even your devoted fans hate it!!"

H. Gore: " YUK!! I can't believe I read the whole thing!!! "

Anyway, here it is. The last line of every chapter in James Patterson & Howard Roughan's You've Been Warned (Little, Brown and Company, 2007). All italics and punctuation are theirs.

I'd like to think there are a lot of good creative writing exercises here. Rearranging the sentences so that they form paragraphs and a new story. Turning it into a poem. I think the coolest thing would be You've Been Warned, Last Sentences: The Graphic Novel. I'd totally do it if I could draw. And I loved Lauren's idea of a page-a-day calendar. (Hmm, what's my inspiration for today? Flip. Oh, "And I think that burning smell is back too." Excellent!)

Note: If you were planning on reading this book, please go no further. Need I say there are spoilers?

You’ve Been Warned (“Fear is just the beginning”)

James Patterson & Howard Roughan

I raise my camera again, and—
The music is inside my head.
“Lord knows you don’t want to piss off that boss of yours.”
I scream at the top of my lungs.
And that’s when someone does.
And he loves it even more when I join him there.
So innocent.
See? I’m back in control.
It’s time to hit the darkroom.
And I think that burning smell is back too.
And I know just where to go.
It’s the maĆ®tre d’ again.
But when he finishes, everyone reaches for a pen.
This is no dream.
“Don’t wear it to work.”
“Good answer,” I say.
The camera slips from my grasp, falling to the pavement.
“Detective, remember? Homicide.”
Gee, I can’t wait.
“Want to join the Maytag club?”
“I’m coming!”
“Don’t look now,” says Beth with an elbow to my ribs, “but I think that guy is checking you out.”
“Let’s dance,” I say to the girls. “It’s my night.”
“I’m not kidding around. You’ve been warned.”
I guess Kristin Burns doesn’t want to talk to me after all.
But what I’m looking at sure is.
He wasn’t letting me win now, though. Obviously not now.
My father’s been dead for twelve years.
This is no time to be alone.

Actually, this should have been my first call.
“I still want to know what happened to you at the Falcon Hotel. Kristin? Kristin?”
What’s up with that?
I’ve got somewhere to go after all.
Pictures lie.
That just isn’t possible, but there he is.
He’s opening the door!
“Can you keep a secret?” he whispers.
We’ll be fine.
He puts his shades back on, nods, and then turns away.
Utter. Freakin’. Amazement.
And then I’m screaming at the top of my lungs.
“Do you think I can borrow some clothes?”
“Speak of the devil,” she says.
“Because you do now.”
“No,” he says, leaning in close. “That’d be your soul.”
“No one’s ever forced to dance, are they?”
If only Penley weren’t in the picture.
It’s called breaking and entering.
To Michael and Penley’s room.
Shoot Michael.
Leaving me and Penley.
Oh, the irony.
It only reads 1.
And he looks dead.
“On how well you know your way around Brooklyn.”
He’s barely had a chance to look at the first one when I realize…we’re not alone.
“She thinks you’re a devil.”
All it takes is the ponytail.
“Allow me,” he says.
“How many times do you have to be warned?”
There are four people… Don’t hurt them.
Everything goes black.
That’s easy. “Dying.”
Before he was murdered in my hometown of Concord, Massachusetts.
The wretched look on his face says it all.
“Help, Michael, you have to save me!”

And unfortunately, that’s not exactly good news.
Right into my darkroom.
“And I know what you did at the Falcon Hotel. Both times you were there.”
And I mean everything else.
“You’re right,” I say. “Only that’s not her husband.”
And I remember who used to say that—my dead father.
At least I think I am.
With a zoom lens.
Otherwise known as Falcon Hotel.
All because of what I hear.
Praise the pencil!

“I could kill the bitch” is his answer.
“You’ll see.”
As I head home to my apartment, I get this awful, gnawing feeling that somehow I already have.
The note’s dated today.
No, just very, very desperate.
And then—what can I say?—I faint.
There was even a photo of his body being carried out in a long black bag.
Just then, I feel a pair of eyes on me and I nearly jump out of my skin.
“It’s okay, Dad. I understand.”
There’s one left.
So—why am I crying uncontrollably? Is that why Michael isn’t at work?
“Where else would he be?”
What’s with the camera?
Who’s Michael talking to?
Then he absolutely blows my mind.
God is in the details.
Then, something does.
The pathetic truth is—anything is possible right now.
Michael has a gun pressed to his forehead.
“You and I have a lot of acting to do, Kristin.”
Make that one dead.
Don’t think, just shoot.
And instantly I realize—that makes three bodies.
Let go of the gun.
“Exactly,” comes a voice I recognize.
“I’m doing all the talking here—and this is your day, Kristin.”
But then—don’t think, just shoot—she takes my picture.
And I’m screaming, screaming, screaming, screaming…
“She’s alive! This woman is alive! She just winked at me.”

Thanks, Stephanie!

So, JaBBiC readers, what's your favorite last line? Mine is, "Don't think, just shoot." Covers just about everything.