Is There Life After Grip-Lit? If So, What’s Next?

Is There Life After Grip-Lit? If So, What's Next?

You won’t believe this, but once upon a time, Before I Go To Sleep and Gone Girl were unheard of. The idea of a girl on a train would have been met with shrugs, apathy, and mutterings of “sounds boring. And what’s with this ‘girl’ thing? Aren’t you supposed to say ‘woman’ nowadays?” Not every single plot on the planet had to have a twist. Not every ending was the shock of the century. And James Patterson wrote his own books.

There was more than one genre to talk about. Okay, there was a lot of crime – mainly alcohol-soaked police procedurals with serial killers who killed women in endlessly creative ways – and chick-lit, featuring ditzy heroines who fell over a lot in designer heels in front of *spoiler alert* men who loved them ALL ALONG. But cops and shoes weren’t everything.

This was a time when the misery memoir was front and centre on the shop shelf; strictly heterosexual Mills & Boons were smuggled out of supermarkets underneath the potatoes; Dan Brown was considered to be an author, and crossover fiction was something with a bright pink bra on the cover.

That was then. But this, you may gather, is now.

Books have turned trendy, but sadly, this does not mean more of them are selling. As I’ve been bleating on about now for weeks, it’s more that books are being hammered into pre-existing trends, and nobody’s coming out with anything new. The Industry – a giant motorised metal behemoth not dissimilar to a meat grinder, sucking in fresh-faced authors on one end, and cranking out ‘pacey’ ‘psychological thrillers’ with a ‘never-before-seen twist’ on the other – has decided that everything new must be in Le Genre Du Moment, and that’s the end of that.

Is There Life After Grip-Lit? If So, What's Next?

I’m as susceptible as the next cynic. I read Grip-Lit, and by choice, too. I know I’ve given out about the genre in the past, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been enjoying the best of it. I just finished a couple of polarising crackers. I loved them. Other people didn’t. Still, there was enough buzz about them to get me interested, or have them recommended to me, and then I myself enjoyed them. But I’m sated now. I’m ready to move on.

WARNING: Tenuous Analogy Alert

I like Italian food. I also like Chinese, Indian, and casseroles; vegetables, bread, and cake. But I don’t want any of them more than twice in a row.

Two days of Chinese food and I’m ready to inhale a vinaigrette-sprinkled salad like I was born two stone lighter. A half-day of sugar-laden indulgence and I’m ready to beat myself over the head with a strong broth. (And before you ask, no, I don’t know how I’d do that. Stop poking holes in my argument.)

My point is, I don’t want any one thing all of the time. I don’t care how good it is. Two twisty thrillers in a row is my absolute limit. I need several palate cleansers after it, and those palate cleansers are a far bigger market than the grip-lit which preceded it.

Whether that cleanser needs to be heavy or frothy depends on the depth of what I’ve just been reading. If it was a pacey pulp effort, I might want a good dosage of literary posturing. If it was harrowing, I might want a satirical romp in a cheese shop. (I’m not kidding. Edward Trencom’s Nose actually exists.) Alternatively, I might need a good historical feud, some epic violence, or forbidden love to recalibrate my tastebuds.

But instead, what am I offered? More Grip-Lit. That’s all. Because The Industry has decided that Grip-Lit is all that’s selling at the moment, and therefore, all they’re prepared to market.

Where would Ken Follett be if The Industry had told him “nobody will ever want to buy a 1,000-page book about the building of a 12th century cathedral. Even if you do put sex in it”? What would have happened if Stephenie Meyer’s publisher had thought “vampire romance pretty much ended when it began with Bram Stoker, and Anne Rice just got lucky”?

Is There Life After Grip-Lit? If So, What's Next?

Time To Stand Up For Our Writes

So my question to you is: as readers, as book lovers, as people constantly on the lookout for your next big dirty dose of Book Heroin – what do you WANT?

Pretend I’m a walking wish-list which is about to be delivered to a publisher on a silver platter. With a bribe. Pretend that this pathetic little blog is a direct telephone line to the most powerful heads in the business.

You see, right now this minute, the Big Hair are all at the London Book Fair, feverishly scouting for The Next Big Thing. I bet you they won’t find it. I bet you they’re going to come home with more Grip-Lit instead. I’d rather they didn’t.

So, do tell your Auntie Tara. What do you want to read next? What did you once love but can’t now find? What sort of book used to keep you awake at night, but is now living in an artisanal cottage somewhere on a witness protection programme? What used to be your favourite fictional fodder, but is now considered uncool or unpublishable?

What about good old-fashioned Horror? Spy thrillers? True crime? Bonkbusters with actual storylines? Literary wonders composed entirely of adjectives and the word “hatstand”? Epic family sagas about people who once owned a coal mine but then owned Hollywood? What?

I really want to know. Because something’s telling me that unless we start shouting about our own bottom line – the fulfilment of our reading needs and desires – we’re going to be swimming in increasingly watery plot ”twists’ for another eighteen months (to ten years).

Talk to me. Tell me.

  84 comments for “Is There Life After Grip-Lit? If So, What’s Next?

  1. Liberty On the Lighter Side
    March 14, 2017 at 8:04 am

    So disappointed that cops and shoes aren’t everything. I’m going to have to rewrite the novel I’ve only just started. I’d just love anything beautifully and thoughtfully written, a modern day GK Chesterton perhaps. Thanks for the great read, again!
    Ps You to always use the pan the broth was boiled in.

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 14, 2017 at 9:21 am

      I bow down before your superior broth-wielding skills, Liberty, but you snared me with the Chesterton idea. I wonder what he would have said about today’s politics. Probably much the same as he said at the turn of the last century I imagine.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Liberty On the Lighter Side
        March 14, 2017 at 9:24 am

        Yes indeed, there is nothing new under the sun.

        Liked by 1 person

      • February 6, 2022 at 12:12 am

        My favorite genres are epic fantasy and military science fiction, although I discovered LitRPG a few years ago.

        I grew up reading Harry Potter and Deltora Quest. I grew up reading Eragon and Ender’s Game.

        Rarely do I find good books like that.

        As a reader, I like new ideas. I liked Chronicles of an Imperial Legionary Officer because it combined elves and orcs with the descendants of the lost 13th Roman Legion.

        I liked The Expanse tv show (haven’t read the books yet) because it was creative, and showed the tension between Earth, Mars, and The Belt very nicely, not to mention there were very interesting creatures that weren’t quite sentient in the show.

        I liked All of Us are Dead, the show, because it showed a unique setting, zombies in high school, and threw in Covid references in there.

        I liked Legacies because it wasn’t just a show about vampires, witches, and werewolves. There were dozens of different types of creatures in there, and I never knew what to expect.

        I like reading about zombies, fantasy races, aliens, and more. I don’t like the same old ideas being rehashed.

        I want authors to try new things. If they don’t come up with new races or languages, that’s fine. They can combine ideas that we never thought possible, like Roman legions and orcs, and it makes for fun reading.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. March 14, 2017 at 8:59 am

    Recently I’ve bought a few books in the ‘very popular, must read’ genre and I’m weary. I never used to be led by others or fomo.
    Your post has lifted the fog. I’m going back to bookshops and browsing ignoring the ‘highly recommended’ or ‘bestsellers’. I’ve always been a little different in my reading, time to get back to what I love and most don’t know.

    Liked by 2 people

    • March 14, 2017 at 9:23 am

      Viva la revolución Tric! I’d love to go on an anarchist’s book binge with you. We could go full rebel and turn all the celebrity books upside down while we were at it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • March 16, 2017 at 11:28 pm

        I’m returning to the cobwebbed corners of bookshops near the toilets where the books I suspect I’ll most enjoy are kept. Might need google maps and activate ‘avoid bestsellers and celebrities’ . I think you’d make a great sidekick if you want to join me.

        Liked by 1 person

        • March 17, 2017 at 12:52 pm

          I’ll keep watch on the toilets if you keep me out of Garda custody, Tric. It’s a deal.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. March 14, 2017 at 9:15 am

    I seem to be stuck with latte literature just now – you know the sort of book that looks attractive if a little frothy and yet which requires two shots of thick espresso to keep you awake. My bottom line is a sort of curvy wave around the cheeks that leads me back to crime and humour but rarely together. And humour has my metropolitan liberal sensitivities all of a twango because I wonder if I’m laughing at or with the MC. Crime makes me think it’s probably a little bit like climate change; the more we put out there the more we damage the planet. So I default to Trollope which my mother told me I would if I didn’t change my taste in women…

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 14, 2017 at 9:25 am

      You seem to have it fairly sorted though Geoff. I think that sounds like a well-rounded diet. I like your bottom line. I used to have one like that before it sagged. It’s from all the laughing, I think.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. March 14, 2017 at 9:16 am

    You added to my vocabulary today – I’d never heard the term grip-lit before. I’m with you in wishing publishers didn’t treat readers like sheep who blindly follow from one “must read” to another, who need our hands held with titles thst resemble the last best seller (if it didn’t have the word girl in the title then we would be totally at sea) and who salivate at the thought of a book by a celebrity who’s been around for all of 10 minutes. Humpf! What I do want is intelligent fiction – not posturing erudition stuff – but thoughtful prose of the kind you get in the nineteenth century classics. And I want it to come from a wider range of countries – the western world doesn’t have a. monopoly on good writing despite what the publishers and booksellers would have us think.

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 14, 2017 at 9:38 am

      I wish I’d added to your vocabulary with something either prettier or loftier! I think publishers are chasing the outliers so much – the one title everyone will talk about, the celebrity fluff, the soon-to-be blockbuster movie – they forget that we need other sustenance too, the sort of thing which always sells, no matter the fad, the bottom of the food pyramid. Then they waste all their money on something which doesn’t take off, and steady, reliable fiction suffers.

      You’re very right about the diversity issue. Readers want diversity. Publishers seem to be afraid of it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • March 17, 2017 at 1:51 pm

        It would be interesting to go back a few years to the books that were ‘hot’ at the time and see how many of them are still selling

        Liked by 1 person

        • March 18, 2017 at 12:48 pm

          I suppose it’s hard to keep front and centre once the marketing campaign is over. But genre trends can probably be measured.


  5. March 14, 2017 at 11:18 am

    Is it just me, or is it mostly female authors who seem to be ‘shoe-horned’ into the latest fad? Men still seem to write whatever the hell they want, but it looks like publishers treat women as more malleable when it comes to genre fiction. Just sayin. Not angry at all 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • March 14, 2017 at 11:42 am

      I think it might be coincidence in this instance, Evie, because psychological thrillers seem to be disproportionately written by women, and it’s also the genre people are being shoehorned into most. The last big trend, erotica, was also female-centred. If anything, I think more women are being published than ever before, and regardless of the means or motive, I’m glad for it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • March 14, 2017 at 12:30 pm

        True and I suppose authors realise now that publishers only want what they know will sell. What I find particularly amusing though is the constant rhetoric from industry professionals who say that authors should never follow trends (wah, wah, waaaaah!) Great post again, very… um… gripping?! I’m here all week 😀

        Liked by 2 people

  6. March 14, 2017 at 11:26 am

    I won’t know what I’m looking for until I find it, and the chances are that it will be nothing like what I was looking for in the first place.

    The only thing I know is that the next great book I find will be nothing like the last great one I read.

    And that is what keeps me looking.

    And reading.

    Liked by 6 people

    • March 14, 2017 at 11:43 am

      That’s a great point, David, but it doesn’t help my argument, so I’m going to have to callously dismiss it, and respect it in private. If that’s okay with you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • March 14, 2017 at 1:22 pm

        That’s fine.It’s only one opinion, I’ve got loads more. But most of them are about cheese or beer. So not many of them would be of any use either.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. March 14, 2017 at 11:30 am

    I don’t know what I want but I think I have an idea for the Next Big Thing (and feel free to pay me a 70% Premium once you sell this to the Big Hairs in the City this week). Picture this:
    Mysteriously Virgin Adult Woman on a Train In Second-Hand-Shop High Heels and Secret Pink Bra on Train Sees Billionaire With Woman on a Leash. Decides She’d Like That Life, But Misses the Next Stop Due to High Heel Tragedy Involving the Gap and Departing Train. Her Ghost Haunts Billionaire Until He Goes Bonkers and Starts Killing Rando Virgins with Designer Stilettos on Trains in Between Spankings and Leads London Cops on Merry Chase to The Bitter End.

    You may write me my cheque now, thanks.
    (p.s. I’m lately into fiction based on fact that’s been enlightening. And no, I do not mean the current American political landscape. I finished Georgia by Dawn Trip and am now devouring Z. A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Ann Fowler.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 14, 2017 at 11:45 am

      Oh, my Blog, Liz. This is GENIUS. When is it coming out? I’ll take a full crate. They’ll feed my stereotype-centric posts for months. Can I say I saw you first?


  8. March 14, 2017 at 11:33 am

    Oh, I couldn’t really agree more. Every time I stand in Waterstones looking at the new releases I can’t help but think they all look exactly the same. It takes a lot (and I mean A LOT) to convince me to shell out the bucks for a new novel that’s supposedly “strikingly original with a twist you won’t see coming”. I much prefer to browse recommendations online and opt for things that have had a few years to simmer in the market (which, of course, is a practice I don’t recommend people follow when my first novel hits shelves…).

    And I genuinely think publishers are forcing new authors into changing the title to “The Girl” with something or other. It’s everywhere.

    Liked by 2 people

    • March 14, 2017 at 11:48 am

      If it’s a viable option, Eddy, I wonder if it’s worth ditching Waterstones and heading for an independent bookseller. Their displays are often not so faddy and based on genuine recommendations from staff. That still doesn’t help us online, though, and I do a lot of browsing there myself.

      And yes – if there’s one tired, overused, completely irritating book quote which sums up everything wrong in 2016/7 for me – it’s “strikingly original with a twist you won’t see coming”. Every time I see that quote coming, I see red.

      Liked by 2 people

      • March 14, 2017 at 12:04 pm

        I reckon so. I do try wherever possible to seek out the independent places if I’m not buying online. Waterstones is often just a go-to because there’s a big one in the city centre, but I rarely buy anything.

        Liked by 1 person

        • March 14, 2017 at 1:33 pm

          I’m a culprit too. I keep finding myself inside the big chains, without seemingly knowing how I got there…


  9. March 14, 2017 at 11:34 am

    So full disclosure, you brought me just now, today, the term grip-lit, which I always sensed was there but never knew could be named (like a variant of the flu). Not that I’ve read any of it, but thanks for the warning, now if I did decide to pick one you’re assuring me a great chance of getting into a second-rate knock-off. Thus, I won’t.

    Wish list? I wish I had frickin’ time to finish this here galldurn novel of my own devising, and then I’d damnity-well be reading THAT, top of the list. I really want to know how it all turns out. Selfish. But if truth be told (and I’ve already started), I don’t pick new reading anymore. I’m completely out of the bookstore and 100% online now, which means my reading decision goes like this: “oh, they’ve been so kind/supportive/cool to me, I need to pick up one of theirs and leave a review”. Personal obligation currently trumps genre, price, and pretty much every other consideration.

    If I ever found myself in an actual-factual bookstore again, with time to kill or some delightful command to buy from my lovely wife (I know, fantasy author, guilty on both counts), there is no question in my mind that when the smoke cleared I’d be holding something that showed a handsome/beautiful Everyperson in the foreground, a famous figure a few feet back, and the stunning panorama of a great moment in history unspooling in the distance. Historical fiction, I cannot have enough. Because when it’s well done I know I’m getting to a great human truth wrapped in all that accurate detail, like my full daily dose of undetectable vitamins in the center of a banana split. Someone takes me back fourteen centuries to look at how people then were facing choices I could understand through the magic of their prose, and I nod my head as I read agreeing that I’d have had to do the same.

    Sure, I’ll have time to do that again, you bet. And there really are vitamins in the split too…

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 14, 2017 at 2:05 pm

      If you really want to know how your own novel turns out, Will, that’s half the battle. I don’t think a writer can expect anyone to be interested in their story, if they aren’t. I’ve had moments when I’m not. Obviously I will never admit this ever.

      I second your love for historical fiction. I can’t get enough of it. I don’t have a favourite genre but sometimes historical fiction gets all intimate and demands my undying love. It’s fantasy for people who don’t like fantasy. And when it’s done right, I leave my body behind.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. March 14, 2017 at 12:13 pm

    Ah, variety being that most handy of life spices, I tend to run with at least 2 books on the go at any one time, which means that a) it takes me longer to finish the buggers & b) I get my fix of different styles on a regular basis. Much like having a nice fluffy sticky toffee sponge whilst also munching on a sensible roast dinner. Not on the same plate of course, that would be mental.
    My wife reads a lot of this new-fangled grip-lit and sometimes she likes them but sometimes she finds them annoying, tedious, far-fetched etc.
    My default authors were always Pratchett & Iain Banks (alas no more) for clever satire & sci-fi & fiction. I really enjoyed stuff that Christopher Brookmyre used to write – action-packed thrillers with a subtly placed tongue in cheek (I didn’t notice it in the first one I read until I got to a hilarious decapitation scene). I heard that he changed his publishing name to Chris Brookmyre and the novels were a bit more serious crime stories – meh, I like the crazy stuff. Such brilliant titles too: “A Big Boy Did It And Ran Away”, “All Fun & Games Until Someone Loses An Eye”. Just brill.
    So basically, I like stuff that doesn’t take itself too seriously but is NOT ‘zany’. Do this in any genre & I will read it. Off you go…

    Liked by 2 people

    • March 14, 2017 at 2:10 pm

      No problem, Babbitman, I’m all over it. I’ve removed ‘zany’ from the dictionary, have three stories exactly as you want them lined up, and am on my way over to London to beat the Big Hair over the head with them. Also, I like your reading strategy, it’s very satisfying. Back soon.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. carolannwrites
    March 14, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    Having read a few FICTION books lately where the author has been so keen to tell me all about the NON FICTION research that took them years to read up on… I just want someone to tell me a good story. Beautiful writing, with comedy and tragedy and interesting characters and stories that fill me with emotion and… I know, I know… I should go and live on Mars! 😉
    Speaking of beautiful writing that makes me laugh and cry… Tara’s Blog! A book called ‘Tara’s Blog’.

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 14, 2017 at 2:19 pm

      I agree, Carolann, there’s nothing worse than writing which screams “JUST LOOK AT ALL THE RESEARCH I DID!!!”. I hate it most in police procedurals where you read stuff like “he filled in form D-28392, the form for reporting coffee spillages in the break room, and scratched the knee of his regulation-issue 215 thread count trousers, made in a factory in Wales once visited by royalty. Looking up, he saw Half-Super Lieutenant Detective Spellunking walk in, smirking under all of his 3.2 higher ranks and despite his two fewer years.”

      Ugh. On the other hand, thanks for the lovely compliment. I’ll cut and paste away here and see what I come up with. Let there be no crying. None of that.


  12. March 14, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    I’ll riff off Carolann above: Tell me a damned good story. Don’t use gimmicks (like breaking viewpoint rules or the unreliable narrator.) Just tell me a damned good story.
    It’s pretty easy to tell what I’d like to read next. I write the books I wish someone else would write so that I could read them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 14, 2017 at 2:21 pm

      No plot twists for you then, Melodie, eh? You’ll never catch yourself out with red herrings that way…


  13. March 14, 2017 at 2:41 pm

    As I was reading the first part of your post, Tara, it occurred to me that there is, at least, one positive result of the fact that most of us won’t make a living from our writing. We are not bound by “what’s hot” and have the freedom to be creative and different.There’s no dire need to conform to the latest fad. Dinner isn’t depending on it. I get tired of reading the same types of books over and over again too. What do I want? Genre almost doesn’t matter as long a the books are well written. I want rich human characters that suck me in and give me a hangover when I finish the book. I want books that I can’t get out of my head; writing that I remember years later.

    Liked by 2 people

    • March 14, 2017 at 3:01 pm

      I think therein lies the problem, Diana. People are in such a rush to get out whatever’s Big Right Now, they’re, well, rushing it. Then we end up with a pile of sub-standard crap in that genre, because everyone’s hopping on the bandwagon at such speed, putting memorable writing and rich human characters on the endangered species list. Meanwhile, unfashionable stuff isn’t getting the attention it deserves, either in production or reading, and the fashionable stuff isn’t being properly or thoughtfully produced. It’s a vicious circle…

      Liked by 1 person

  14. March 14, 2017 at 4:06 pm

    I’m loving these comments. Great insight! As to what I like to read, at the risk of sounding like the kind of literary agent I hate, I just want something well-written. Okay, and just like the claims of all of those pretentious, nonspecific literary agents who in the same sentence will tell authors to only send something that fits their precise (vague) interests, that’s not exactly true. I would prefer a good historical fiction (without excessive info dumping and exhausting world-building), or a good dystopian novel (preferably without an unbelievably spunky and uniquely gifted teenage hero), or maybe even a thoughtful literary novel that isn’t so literary I might as well be reading poetry (which, I definitely do not want). But, honestly, I would settle for well-written and at least mostly well-edited.

    Liked by 4 people

    • March 14, 2017 at 9:15 pm

      I’d like to read a dystopian novel with an adult protagonist too, Sarah. Why is that so hard to find?! But yes, I yearn for the well-written too. It’s a dying breed.

      Liked by 2 people

  15. March 14, 2017 at 8:55 pm

    I want LeCarre’s spooks, Ellroy’s cops, and McCarthy’s cowboys roaming the plains. Steely, muscular writing from the front line of reality about all the things we dare not look at too closely. A little bit of Heller’s frustrating logic and absurdity, all set in Donald Trump’s three White House locations–New York, DC, Florida.

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 14, 2017 at 10:12 pm

      All in the one book, Ben? Is that not a bit….full?

      Actually, it’s brilliant. Somebody should do this immediately.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. March 15, 2017 at 2:35 am

    Random thoughts rolling around in the brain after reading this great post and eloquent comments (you can judge a blog by the quality of comments it attracts): Another title trend that may be on its way out but maybe not is The [some profession’s] daughter [or wife]. E.g. The Bartender’s Daughter, The Rubbish Collector’s Wife, The Plumber’s Brother’s Sister-in-Law. Etc. And every time I read a plea for well-written but obscure books, I had to slap down a little voice (can you slap a voice?) shrilling “Your books! They’re just like that!” And I’d say, “Yes, dear, but I can’t say that.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • March 15, 2017 at 11:40 am

      On behalf of all the too-clever commenters on this blog, thank you, Audrey. I do try to keep their genius in check but they keep on typing. I may punish them with some badly written romance some day soon. Possibly with a trendy title. I’ll be back to you for naming rights 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  17. March 15, 2017 at 7:50 am

    I want a big story – I don’t mean long, but something with space and vision, inhabited by people I care about, where the language makes me melt. Kim springs to mind again, The Poisonwood Bible is in there. Richard Powers, The Time of our Singing, books by Mohsin Hamid too. Quirky or funny (The Rosie Project, The Morville Hours, The Hundred Year Old Man who Climbed out of the Window…). I like to read about ordinary people who do, or cope with, extraordinary things. I wan’t something I can’t put down because I care about the protagonists and the writing, and NOT because everyone is about to walk into an open trap due to their own stupidity/malevolence/irritating habits/careless parenting etc. You asked.

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 15, 2017 at 11:48 am

      Yes, more quirk and less twist would also be my preference, Hilary, especially when trendy twists are often watery and lame. Space and vision always struck me in novels which properly explore different cultures such as the ones you mention along with Amy Tan, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Zadie Smith… but equally and often ones set in New York or Scotland featuring well-drawn communities. Just something more ambitious than a plot-by-numbers.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. March 15, 2017 at 7:52 am

    I mean to say, great post! Instead I went straight into the ‘I want’ bit. My mother said (ad nauseam) ‘I want never gets’.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Ali Isaac
    March 15, 2017 at 12:30 pm

    Another great post, Tara, and you got me thinking, what DO I actually want to read? I need escapism, so lit-fic is out for me, I’m afraid. So is grip-lit… too cliche. Epic fantasy, done to death. I need fantasy, but it needs to be real. Something like 1Q84, the trilogy by Haruki Murakami… more magical realism than fantasy, I guess, but intriguing. In fact, I think maybe I’ll just have to read it again! But kindle version… Those books are big and heavy, I’m not used to it anymore… wrists aren’t strong enough! 😂😂😂

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 15, 2017 at 5:01 pm

      I’m torn about Murakami, Ali. His books either gripped me so hard they cut off my air supply or they failed to even give me a wet fish handshake. But now you’ve reminded me to go back to him so for this I thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ali Isaac
        March 15, 2017 at 8:24 pm

        Haha! Well, that trilogy is the only writing of his that I’ve read, and I loved it… intelligent almost literary magical realism that certainly felt possible. But cant comment on his other stuff, so I take your word for it. I’ve read some good stories lately but the gimmicks put me off… the Book Thief and Miss Whatsernames School for peculiar Children… one almost gets the impression that pubs don’t think we can actually read, at least not a whole page without a picture, some fancy text and a summary of what we’re about to read…


        • March 15, 2017 at 8:55 pm

          Well, I absolutely loved Kafka On The Shore, but have heard quite a few people say they didn’t. I was also a big fan of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. Norwegian Wood is the one which went into mad cult status in Japan, but it’s not magical realism so I’d try the others first if that’s your bent. It was The Hard-Boiled Wonderland And The End Of The World which defeated me but I’m not sure I was in the right mood for it. I’m going to try it again. And here endeth my Murakami confession!!

          I know what you mean about The Book Thief, it left me cold. In terms of gimmicks though I was mental about Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer, and that was FULL of them.


          • Ali Isaac
            March 15, 2017 at 9:26 pm

            Effing hell, Miss Tara! Are you laying down the gauntlet? Cos I feel I now have to go and read these books so I can agree/ disagree with you. And here’s the thing… is this just me? I feel guilty if I read a trad pubbed book these days, as I have so many Indie books in my Kindle, many by lovely people I know and respect, needing to be read and reviewed and discussed far more than any trad pubbed author. Btw Im not surprised any book entitled The Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World left you high and dry… not exactly catchy, huh? Maybe trying a bit too hard and coming across all self conscious and a tad superior?

            Liked by 1 person

            • March 15, 2017 at 10:02 pm

              Honestly I don’t know. I remember something about a lift (elevator). Lots about a lift actually. And there was too much of it, and I gave up. I don’t think Murakami does try-hard. He’s not really of this earth! As for indie vs traditional, I think moderation in all things (including moderation). There needs to be a good balance between genres and publishing types perhaps?


  20. March 15, 2017 at 4:49 pm

    I love the likes of Orwell and Huxley. I think the last modern book that had an effect upon me was The Hundred Year Old Man That Climbed Out of a Window and Disappeared…
    Give me a classic full of depth and ideas or an adventure story, but I will probably give the grip-lit a miss unless I am in a very particular kind of mood.

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 15, 2017 at 5:04 pm

      It’s hard to find one of those books nowadays which is unclassifiable but well-loved, Philip, like The Hundred Year Old Man. A Man Called Ove, perhaps, but there was a long wait before he came along.Perhaps we should be looking more at works to translate from other countries. The English-speaking ones seem to be in a rut.


  21. March 16, 2017 at 10:37 am

    By the hue of the sky and the plaintive cry of her employer running out of gin, again, Morag knew it was time to seriously contemplate fleeing.

    *chews pen*

    By the..


    *scrunches up paper*

    Liked by 1 person

  22. March 17, 2017 at 9:19 pm

    You’ve really got the bit between the teeth on this issue, haven’t you, Tara? I know you’ve been after some Book Heroin for some time now, but the dealers seem to be in short supply. And I was at LBF this week and didn’t notice any signs of a sudden surge towards a whole new genre. Although M. Le Pard was there, and I did see a bit of a surge coming from him. On reflection, the least said about that the better.

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 18, 2017 at 12:50 pm

      Wow, Graeme… I can imagine the havoc wreaked upon the unsuspecting industry heads with you too teamed up in the room! You didn’t happen to film it, did you?!

      Liked by 1 person

      • March 18, 2017 at 1:06 pm

        No film, I’m afraid, though there is a photo of me with Geoff lurking in the background. There were another three there with us, and we didn’t stay together for the whole event. Somehow that force of personalities would have disrupted things too much. I feel a blog post coming on…

        Liked by 1 person

  23. Sue Bridgwater
    March 20, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    Reblogged this on Skorn.


  24. March 20, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    Thank you for your post! Now I go back and get some books in my favorite bookstore …!

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 20, 2017 at 11:01 pm

      Result! Next stop, world domination 🙂 Thanks Cecilia!


  25. April 16, 2017 at 10:06 pm

    I’ve read almost 50 books this year – I have marked 5 of them as books that grabbed me, you know the sort, ignore the unmade bed, the dishes in the sink the whining dog with all 4 legs crossed and read and read and read to the end. OK so I read a lot for reviews but if I’m going to have any success as an author
    I need to stop writing action/adventure books and concentrate on a story with no conclusion, staring LGBT characters who are into SMBD who drink blood and dance naked in the village square every full moon before partying in their coffins during the day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • April 18, 2017 at 4:52 pm

      There does seem to be a lot of writing to form, Lucinda, and by form, I mean template. I think some authors are lucky that they hit the trend right on the curve, but by the time we know it’s popular, it’s usually too late! And for what it’s worth, I’ve read really well-written books featuring some of the elements you mention which aren’t a quarter as popular as poorly-written/-plotted books with the same tropes. Even within fads, there are lucky and unlucky ones.


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