Author Fonda Lee took to Twitter recently, lamenting the lack of shelf space in her local Barnes and Nobel for new fantasy authors. In the post, Lee points out that J.R.R. Tolkien had “3.5 shelves worth of space” and Robert Jordan had “2.5 shelves.”
Putting aside that 2.5 shelves of space for Jordan probably adds up to a total of four books (cause man, that guy wrote some huge tomes!), I find Lee’s comments interesting. I understand her point about new authors trying to find a way to break into the publishing ranks and even her point that it was difficult to find novels that had either been recently nominated for or won genre awards.
When Barnes and Nobel opened a store that was convenient to where I shopped and did my errands, I was excited. I frequented the store regularly and enjoyed browsing the aisles to find something new that may not have necessarily been on my radar at the time. These days, it’s been months since I darkened the door of that local Barnes and Nobel. And a large part of it ties into Lee’s lament.
In the past five years, I’ve noticed that more of the floor space of Barnes and Nobel has been given over to items that may or may not necessarily be related to the reading experience. Everything from toys and games to collectible figures to things associated with reading. I’ve also noticed that the amount of room for actual books has decreased dramatically. At first, it was a shrinking of the shelf-space for new releases, then slowly the aisles for each genre seemed to become smaller. What was first two and a half aisles for sci-fi and fantasy has become one and a half. Same thing for mystery novels. And while we get a bit of space given over to new releases, I find that what whoever deems a book worthy of such a spotlight has very different tastes than I do.
Insert rant about how much shelf space in the SF/F aisle paranormal romance gets these days here.
I understand what Lee is saying about the limited shelf space being given to older books by authors who may or may not necessarily be still around. And while I share her concerns, I feel certain if we asked the buyers at Barnes and Nobel why this was, it would go back to the old adage that things like Tolkien and Jordan move product.
Look, I’m all for the classics getting shelf space. Certainly, they’ve a proven track record and that fact that they keep finding Tolkien to publish (I expect his grocery lists to be published at some point) means he and other authors are always going to take up some shelf space. I just wish that the experience of going to Barnes and Nobel was closer to what it was when my local store first opened and not what it is today. I feel like the stores have become more about book adjacent items and less about the books themselves.
And that’s a shame.
Listening to the essays that make-up Luke Skywalker Can’t Read: And Other Geeky Truths, I feel like Ryan Britt and I would be good friends if we ever met in the real world.
Covering things from why reboots happen and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing to the sad truth that Luke Skywalker and company don’t place a high value on literacy to the admission that he grew up listening more to Star Trek soundtracks that he did the popular music of the day (boy, did that one resonate with this guy, who can tell you pretty much were most musical cues from the original series featured first but couldn’t tell you much about the popular music of my teenage years), Britt keeps things entertaining, humorous, and compelling throughout.
Pointing out how the Back to the Future is every genre of film in one trilogy and then proceeding to deconstruct the time travel paradoxes within the film, Britt had me nodding in agreement at multiple points and considering some of my favorite genres and some of their most popular entries in a new light. And his final essay finds me wanting to visit Issac Asimov’s I, Robot again to see how it differs from most of the other robots in pop culture since the mechanical creatures don’t want to rise up and exterminate us all.
And while I agree with what Britt says in most of the essays, I differ greatly with him in his analysis of modern Doctor Who (but then again, I differ from a lot of fandom in my assessment and enjoyment of the revived series, especially the esteem to which a certain Doctor is held (ahem..David Tennant…ahem)). But that’s why I say I feel like Britt and I could be friends – because you don’t want to agree with your friends on everything….
Happy first day of Spring!
To celebrate, this week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl) asks what books are on the Spring To-Be-Read list. I’ve got a couple of books I’m looking forward to reading this spring and there are probably some from my Winter TBR list that I haven’t read yet but need to get around to reading!
- Sunburn by Laura Lippman
- Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
- Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews
- The Outsider by Stephen King
- Pretty Girls Dancing by Kylie Brant
- Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach by Kelly Robson
=Back to the Future is one of those movies I’ve seen so many times, I could probably recite the dialogue from start to finish. And yet any time I surf past it on cable, I’m inclined to stop and watch from wherever I’ve jumped in until the end.
So when I heard that there was a new series of comic books that filled in a few untold tales from the popular trilogy, I immediately decided to give it a try. Thankfully, the collection includes original movie author Bob Gale as a contributor. And while none of what we get in the collection would necessarily be canon, there are still some fun tales here.
Collecting five issues of stories, this collection has something for everyone. Whether it’s the story of Biff going back in time to the age of dinosaurs or the circumstances of Marty’s first meeting with Doc Brown, there are several winners in the collection. And unlike other media tie-in comics, it’s easy to recognize the characters we’ve come to know and love over the course of three movies. (It’s a pet peeve of mine when the art becomes so abstract that it’s hard to tell who is being depicted in a tie-in comic book).
If you’re a fan of Back to the Future, this is a fun collection that will remind you of just why you fell in love with the original movie to begin with. And if you’re like me, it may even tempt you to dust off the movies and spend some time with a few old friends again.
After the runaway success of The Martian, it would have been easy for Andy Weir to publish his grocery list and have it race to the top of the bestseller list.
Instead, Weir made fans wait what seemed like an eternity for his sophomore effort, Artemis. Good things come to those who wait.
While not as immediately engaging as The Martian, Weir’s Artemis avoids a sophomore slump by delivering an entirely new narrator and story. Set in the near future, Artemis introduces us to Jazz, a citizen of the lunar colony Artemis. Jazz wants to help guide tours of the lunar surface, but while she trains for that role, she makes ends meet by running the lunar black market. This leads her to a complicated plot to pull off what should be a perfect crime and earn a reward that will see her set for life. Continue reading
I’m privileged to participate in the blog tour for Romily Bernard’s new novel, Never Apart.
I’ve read it and it’s a great novel. I highly recommend picking it up!
How many times would you die for love?
What if you had to relive the same five days over and over?
And what if at the end of it, your boyfriend is killed…
And you have to watch. Every time.
You don’t know why you’re stuck in this nightmare.
But you do know that these are the rules you now live by:
Now, the only way to escape this loop is to attempt something crazy. Something dangerous. Something completely unexpected. This time…you’re not going to run.
Combining heart-pounding romance and a thrilling mystery Never Apart is a stunning story you won’t soon forget.
Amazon | Amazon Australia | Amazon UK | Amazon Canada | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Entangled
Romily Bernard graduated from Georgia State University with a literature degree. Since then, she’s worked as a riding instructor, cell-phone salesperson, personal assistant, horse groomer and exercise rider, accounting assistant, and, during a very dark time, customer service representative. . . . She’s also, of course, now a YA novelist. So don’t let anyone tell you a BA degree will keep you unemployed. Romily currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia. Her debut novel, Find Me, won the Golden Heart Award for YA Romance from the Romance Writers of America in 2012.
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
September 19th is Talking Like a Pirate Day. In honor of that, let me present the classic Ray Stevens song, “The Pirate Song.”
In bad news for my taste buds but good news for my waistline, Krispy Kream has done away with the free donut for talking like a pirate.
I say they make the scurvy knave who came up with that idea walk the plank!