Books, Shmooks: Musings on the New York Times Best Seller List
1. FIFTY SHADES OF GREY. What’s the difference between “pornographic” and “erotic”? A mainstream publisher.
2. FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, volume 2. Make like Hollywood. If it sells, put out a sequel ASAP.
3. FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, volume 3. I’d be ashamed to put such schlock on my bookshelf. I’ll get it on Kindle.
4. GONE GIRL. A woman disappears on the day of her anniversary. Is her husband the killer? Or was it the author, killing off a boring character?
5. BARED TO YOU. Two troubled people develop an intense relationship. Wonder what this is about? A debt-ridden shrink and his patient? Mitt Romney and his VP candidate? Two obese people on adjacent seats in the subway?
6. BLOODLINE. Where have I read this before? Oh, it’s on my bookshelf. Has been since 1968. But the 2012 book is by Rollins, and my 1968 copy is by Gaines. Is this another example of the 60s being hot again? Or just an example of recycling titles? Hhm. Should I entitle my next novel CRIME AND PUNISHMENT? Or FIFTY-ONE SHADES OF GREY?
7. SUMMERLAND. The after effects of a deadly automobile crash. I’m waiting for WINTERLAND, the effects of a deadly avalanche. Or FALLLAND – no, too many ells. Make that AUTUMNLAND: Buried under a mound of leaves. SPRINGLAND: Drowning in a sea of mud. Too bad there are only four seasons, or three sequels. What was the publisher thinking of?
8. FIFTY SHADES OF GREY TRILOGY. See 1,2, and 3. And possibly 6.
9. COMING HOME. The Baxters plan a family reunion, but before the big day, the unthinkable happens. Like what? Only three people show up because everyone hates reunions? The catering service they hired folds and leaves them scrambling for a last-minute replacement? Uncle Fred quits smoking?
10. ONCE BURNED. Passion ignites between a vampire and a mortal cursed with dark power. Call 911. A commission will be appointed to determine the cause of the fire. By the time they issue their report, the passion has died down. It turns out it was only a fling.
11. SUMMER NIGHTS. See 7, SUMMERLAND.
12. WICKED BUSINESS. Pastry chef and partner search for a powerful ancient relic. Ancient relic? Is that a euphemism for “left-over”? And what's ancient -- past the best-before date, mouldy, or museum-worthy?
13. ODD INTERLUDE # 3. Now here’s a publisher who understands the business of sequels. The possibilities are endless. When the author dies, they can publish his last, unfinished novel as “Odd Interlude Infinity.”
14. ABRAHAM LINCOLN:VAMPIRE HUNTER. Great potential for sequels. George Washington: Zombie Hunter. Ike Eisenhower: Ghost Hunter. Barack Obama: Vote hunter. Scary business, no?
15. THE MARRIAGE BARGAIN. A billionaire offers a one-year marriage contract to a bookstore owner. Oh, this one has me hooked. Does she or doesn’t she save the book industry? I can already see volume 2: Billionaire offers marriage contract to RIM investor. The tech company makes a miraculous come-back. Volume 3: Billionaire offers marriage contract to boutique owner with maxed-out credit card. She bankrupts the billionaire. Volume 4: Who wants to marry a bankrupt man?