novels

Top Ten Tuesday

Thanks again to The Broke and the Bookish blog for all of these Top Ten Tuesday topics!

Top Ten TuesdayFebruary 3: Top Ten Books I Can’t Believe I Haven’t/Want To Read From X Genre (for example I feel like I’m pretty well read in contemporary YA but there are some STAPLES I can’t believe I haven’t read. Or if you just want to books you WANT to read in a particular genre..not necessarily long overdue)

This is a hard one because there are so many I have been meaning to read and just haven’t gotten around to yet, but here we go.

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen – Gah! The only remaining Austen book that I haven’t read! I have the entire collection in one solid B&N collectible book but this is still the one that lingers on, waiting to be enjoyed.

The Princess Bride by William Goldman – Seen the movie, love the movie, have had this book recommended several times to me and so I really need to read it now.

The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – Seen the show, love the show, and I’ve been told that it’s not too far off from the books…except that it is more modern, so I own them, now I just have to read them.

1984 by George Orwell – Yup, this one is still waiting on my bookshelf. It beckoned me over winter break but alas, I was distracted easily by Friends and Dr. Who.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien – Also still waiting. I wanted to read it before I saw the last movie but unfortunately, that did not happen. Now, it is silently abandoned…and probably judging me.

The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov – Recommended by a friend, apparently it is a devilishly good time, involving Russians, vodka, a black cat, and Pontius Pilate, must read soon!

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde – One of the few books I wasn’t required to read in high school and has been sitting on this list every since I went to Ireland and learned more about Wilde himself. If I come across a copy, I will buy it and eventually read it.

The Iliad and The Odyssey by Homer – Classics that beckon, myth and man combined, this has been at the top of my list for awhile and I own both but somehow haven’t gotten around to them.

The Gospel of Wealth by Andrew Carnegie – I actually just learned of this book and cannot wait to pick it up. Astounded that I’ve never heard of it before. All about rich and poor and philanthropy, yes please.

Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler – I find Hitler to be a fascinating man of history so to read the story of his life from his perspective sounds amazing. Known about it for awhile and it just resurfaces so it’s slowly moving closer to the top of the queue.

To Publish Or To Self-Publish, That Is The Question

A hot button topic for a lot of writers these days is whether the proper thing to do is to find an agent and/or publisher and have them edit (i.e. rewrite) and push your book into the market or to go it alone and self-publish.

There are many literary agents (possibly) out there and lots of publishers (outside the top 5) but there are also several options for self-publishing that are far easier and in some ways, much simpler to accomplish. And in light of the Amazon/Hachette debacle, it seems as though find a way to reach the masses on your own might be your best bet.

There are pros and cons to both sides, not the least of which is marketing (because, let’s face it, publishing firms are already set up to take your book to the public). And it’s actually one of the most stressful parts of being a writer. Writing the novel or series of short stories (on a good day) is easy in comparison to figuring out how to get people to actually read it.

It never ceases to amaze me how lost art can get in business. And make no bones about it, whether you are self-publishing or dealing with an agent, the bottom line is well, the bottom line. They might love your book but the reasons why might surprise you. Often times, books that will attract high levels of readership are the ones that get published, not necessarily the ones worth reading.

And while it may sound high and mighty of me to say that, I believe that lots of things in today’s society are done to the best benefit of the lowest common denominator. “Fifty Shades of Grey” for example is not very well written but the fact that it is societal accepted erotica and fan fiction in one makes for a very compelling sell. And even though it began life as a self-published work, James was picked up by a publisher and became a global phenomenon.

But the business model of self-publishing just makes sense for a lot of writers who simply want to be heard or see their name in print. Especially if the chances of getting caught between a rock and a hard place (like Amazon and Hachette) and having your work held hostage might be the price you pay for following the traditional route.