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."
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?
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,
author of the new Lance Editor mystery series, co-starring a vicious killer cat named Grateful Dead