QUIBBLES & BITS

Deni Dietz

I was going to sub-title this week’s Quibbles & Bits: "Do Blogs Sell Books?" But I think I’ll write that one next week and, instead, talk about a recent newspaper survey.

My local Canadian newspaper, The Times Columnist [based in Victoria, B.C.], has never reviewed my books. That’s probably because my books aren’t International bestsellers, nor lit’ry enough, nor are they written by someone named Dan Brown (note to self: use the pseudonym "Dani Brown" for future books).

A few weeks ago the paper had an article called "Sexes divided on literary loves." The article included a survey of 3000 Canadians. That’s a lot of Canadians, folks—trust me. [Unless, of course, you’re counting calls/votes for Canadian Idol; then it goes up to around 3 million.]

Asked by Indigo Books to name their favorite books, male readers strongly preferred action-packed titles.

And this is news because…?

The majority of males chose J.R.R. Tolkein, Dan Brown [sigh] and Chuck Palahniuk. [Note to self: Change name to non-gender-specific Denny Dietz; change title of half-written "Toe of Frog" to THE DA VINCI TOAD.]

Sonya Gaulin, a spokeswoman for Indigo, said, "The books that women chose are more sentimental, whereas the ones men chose tend to be a bit more in the fantasy, adventure and mystery-thriller genre."

Well, duh!

The top seven books chosen by men in order of preference were: Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein, The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk, How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie (for some reason, that one made me laugh for approx five minutes straight), and Angels and Demons by Dan Brown [sigh].

Women chose Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin, He’s Not That Into you by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo [Is that a new erotica?], Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, Confessions of a Shopaholic [great title!] by Sophie Kinsella, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood and Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.

I’ve actually read those last two, and, a long time ago, P and P [I didn’t like it, so sue me].

According to the survey, only 8 titles overlapped as favorites of men and women alike: Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus by John Gray, The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown [sigh], Tuesdays With Morey by Mitch Albon, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albon, A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry, and I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb.

Notice the lack of crime fiction. And of the 8 titles listed, I’ve read TDC [I didn’t like it, so sue me] and Mockingbird.

How many have you read? And, for that matter, what books would YOU have chosen? Top three will do; 8 is a bit much.

Last Sunday’s Times Columnist had an interview with Lee Child, cribbed from an Associated Press article. When talking about how he named his protagonist Jack Reacher, Lee said, "Every time I go to the supermarket — without exception, every time — because I’m tall and look approachable, a little old lady comes up to me and says, ‘You’re a nice tall gentleman. Will you reach and get me that can?’ So my wife said, ‘If this novelist thing doesn’t work out, you can get a job as a reacher in a supermarket.’ And I said, ‘Good name!’ So that’s where it came from."

So now I’m curious, Lee. Where did the name "Jack" come from?

In conclusion…

Notes to self:
1 – Change Denise Dietz to the non-gender-specific Denny Dietz, or even
better, Dani Brown or Denny Brown.

2 – Change titles of "diet club" mysteries THROW DARTS AT A CHEESECAKE, BEAT UP A COOKIE, and CHAIN A LAMB CHOP TO THE BED to:

THE MICHELANGELO MANIFESTO [after all, the Weight Winners diet club meetings take place in a church!]
IN SEARCH OF ALAN ALDA
INTENSITY [one-word titles seem to do well]

3 – I’m 5’2" and no one would ever ask me to reach for anything, but I am a free-lance editor, so name next protagonist "Freelance [Lance] Editor."

Over and Out,
Deni/Dani/Denny
author of the new Lance Editor mystery series, co-starring a vicious killer cat named Grateful Dead

10 thoughts on “QUIBBLES & BITS

  1. Pari

    Hey, Lance,Great post. I think you’ve got something with the titles. Of course, this is coming from someone whose titles no one seems to know how to pronounce.

    BTW, I love P & P (but won’t sue you) because of the language . . . but, then, I’m a sucker for English well used. (I’m reading Anne of Green Gables with one of my daughters right now and am flabbergasted at how wonderful it is.)

    Hum, best books? My top three are:TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRDAnything but the Mormon historical novel by Orson Scott CardWHAT’S THE WORST THAT CAN HAPPEN (Westlake)

    Okay, I guess I don’t just have three. How about our top 100?

    Reply
  2. Beatrice Brooks

    Oooh, Pari. Your daughter is in for the ride of her life. IIRC, there are 4 “Anne” books. I practically memorized Anne of Green Gables when I was a kid (along with Jane Eyre and The Black Stallion).

    Like you, I’d have a hundred favorite books (at least). They’d include Stephen King’s THE STAND, Dean Koontz’s THE WATCHERS and anything by Anya Seton and Celeste De Blasis (talk about cheating! – grin).

    Hugs,Dani Brown, author of “The Picasso Cryptogram”AKA Deni

    Reply
  3. JT Ellison

    I find the conclusions of the survey interesting, because despite being a woman, I’m drawn to the darker books. So that’s what I write. Makes sense.My top three? Yeah, top 100 would be more like it.Vladimir Nabokov — LOLITAJohn Connolly — EVERY DEAD THINGAyn Rand — ATLAS SHRUGGEDLest I start looking literary, all the Harry Potter books are entrancing.

    Reply
  4. Bill Cameron

    Make it Lance Edithor! (With the exclamation point!)

    Then it will sound even more dramatic. I mean, it will have Thor in it.

    Coming soon, Lance Edithor! drops the hammer on crime!

    I’m a weirdo man I suppose. 15 of the last 25 books I’ve read were by women. Damned good books too.

    Reply
  5. Barbara W. Klaser

    Pari mentioned one of my favorites of all time, Anne of Green Gables.

    I’m a girl (okay, woman, but when you get to be nearly 50, “girl” sounds so . . . young), but I’d have to list Lord of the Rings and Dune as favorites, along with Pride and Prejudice. (I won’t sue you either.) P&P is pretty darned tame reading. You have to love the language or you’re just not going to read it. But it has its other equally subtle attractions. I’d also list Jane Eyre, which I doubt few men would.

    Thanks for the laughs re Jack Reacher. πŸ˜€

    Reply
  6. Beatrice Brooks

    Lance Edithor! I like it! Thanks, Bill, even though you have to admit that it’s a challenge for someone to pronounce if he or she lisps.

    Atlas Shrugged. Yeah, JT! Even if Ayn Rand was a bit of a facist. But, oh my, how I loved John(hero). Years later, when I had a choice of where I wanted to live, thanks to Atlas Shrugged I chose Colorado.

    Hugs,Denny Brown, author of “The Cezanne Conspiracy”AKA Deni

    Reply
  7. JT Ellison

    Funny, my parents had just moved me from Colorado to DC when I read it, and I think that was part of the attraction… I was so lonely for my old life, and it really struck a chord.

    Reply
  8. Sandra Ruttan

    I’ve read The Lord of the Rings, The Catcher in the Rye… no Dan Brown at all, no Dale Carnegie (which makes me laugh as well).

    I like Pride & Prejudice and Memoirs of a Geisha.

    I haven’t read any of the cross-over titles.

    When I lived in Duncan, everyone called the paper the Times Communist. Likely not popular with Victorians…

    Reply
  9. Julia Buckley

    I’m 5’2 also, Deni, and somehow it doesn’t have the same glamour of a 6 foot something British man. Also, even though I often munch chocolate, I don’t think “Eater” would be a good name for one of my characters . . .

    Reply
  10. Beatrice Brooks

    LOL Julia. I like “Eater.” I called two of my dieters Tubby and Little Lulu (in Throw Darts at a Cheesecake) and everybody jumped on me. Too derogatory. Too bad.

    They cheated on the diet!

    Hugs,Blueberry Muffin Dietz

    Reply

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