Friday, August 7, 2009

Friday Round-Up

The number of comments on the last post is staggering. I'll have the top genres for you next week, I promise; in the meantime, Laura's back with another link-heavy round-up. Enjoy! — E

Last week I challenged you to write the greatest love story every told. Who knew that Hitler was such a closet romantic? You all did, it seems. I read your entries, laughed, cried, and groaned at some truly terrible puns (you know who you are), and selected a winner.

Brittany Hansen opened her Hitler romance novel with the following lines:
Holding his copy of Mein Kampf, Maurer opened the cover to read the inscription, "Herrn Johann Georg Maurer. In memory of our time together in prison in Landsberg. Cordially dedicated by Adolf Hitler. Christmas 1925." The message was subtle; Maurer closed his eyes, hugged the book to his chest and whispered, "Mein pookie."

This is destined to be a classic. I feel it in my bones. Hitler, I’m sure, would feel it in at least one bone. And now that our disturbing image of the week quota is filled, on to the round up—there’s also a new contest down the line (or just click here to go straight there and ignore my brilliant witticisms. Know that I’m silently judging you).

The Times put out a list of the best 60 books of the past 60 years. Although Ursula Le Guin says there’s no way to choose “bests,” the list covers some serious heavyweights that deserve the adjective “best,” including Nineteen Eighty-Four, To Kill a Mockingbird, Catch 22, The Bell Jar...Twilight? For serious? I'm sorry if there are sudden typos, I think I just burst a blood vessel in my eye.

This list prompted the following G-chat conversation with Eric (note: all vulgarity has been removed and punctuation added, for readability and out of regard for your tender sentiments):
Kill me.
I don't want to live anymore.
: I feel barfy now.
: Please put me out of my misery.
: But you have to put ME out of MY misery!
Are you ****ing kidding me
The Time Traveler's Wife

Are you ****ing kidding me
This planet is totally ****ed.
Kurt was right about everything.

Listen. I read The Time Traveler’s Wife, and I really enjoyed it. But top 60 from the past 60 years? Yikes. If you love time travel, check out this list of the top ten time travel novels (from which The Time Traveler’s Wife is suspiciously absent…).

As to Twilight, that book is the cut inside my mouth I can’t stop poking—I just can’t leave it alone. This is just a preface to say: next post, I swear, will be Twilight free. But not this one!

There's a new Twilight video game coming out, that will be World of Warcraft meets virgin vampires. In the words of the Geekologie writer, "Wow, can you say a bunch of creepy old guys trolling for teen girls in a video game? Because I can. It's pronounced Twilight: The MMORPG."

Luckily, vampires are going back to their catacombs soon, because Neil Gaiman said so, and as a rule I don't argue with Neil. I also don't argue with wizards. (If, as I suspect, Neil is a wizard, I could winnow it down to just one rule.) There has been a big debate about who wizards better (“to wizard” is a verb now): Gandalf or Dumbledore. Answer: false. Merlin. Although I have to say, Gandalf has been doing a wonderful job on Top Chef Masters.

Fabio from last season’s non-masters Top Chef has self-published a cook book (as did the Obama family). Last season’s Top Chef was rough for me, and I'm still pretty bitter about Stefan losing (to Hosea, with that stupid goatee and face, ugh). That painful memory makes me want to drown my sorrows alcoholically with Harry Potter, who is apparently a lush. Those books should really be printed on edible paper, to soak up some of that booze.

Another thing that makes me want to drink: handsome, charming, successful 25 year old novelists whose books are turned into movies. Unless he wants to be my boyfriend, in which case I would go out for drinks in a less binge-y way. Either or.

One more thing driving me to the bottle (what? It's Friday!): Green Apple Books’ videos comparing the Kindle with print books. I was thinking about embedding the best one here, but it turns out they’re all terrible, and I'm sorry, if I wanted to watch terrible acting I could stop by my local middle school musical. Green Apple Books: proving once again that hippies can’t do anything right.

A non-hippie started a company that comes up with titles for books, and I have to be honest here—I think this might just be the greatest racket ever. People. We can DO this. So this week’s contest: prove your title writing chops by renaming a classic (or just something popular) in the comments, without including the original title. The rest of us will try to guess what you renamed. The author of the funniest and most sales worthy title gets a hearty pat on the back, and can be my first employee at Titillating Titles, LLC (plus the feature in next week’s post). The person who guesses the most fake titles correctly earns a permanent spot on my bar trivia team. And I take bar trivia very seriously. Your deadline is next Thursday night—don’t miss it, or your publisher will drop you like you’re hot. Even if you’re famous and important.

If you like the contest, you’ll certainly like these fictional character pick-up lines, some of the best of which came through Twitter. Don’t be Twitter shy, guys—it can be great for book publicity! And Margaret Atwood is doing it. Only sheer laziness keeps PMN from Twitter (also, we tend to run on—140 characters isn’t a lot). But you guys go have fun. (NB: Twitter upsets my stomach. Sad, but true. But don't let it stop you from promoting yourselves—there's nothing better than free publicity. — E)

Speaking of technology helping book sales, there was an interesting post this week about why writers should consider e-publishing as a form of self-publishing, and then a post that will crush all your hopes of being successful after self-publishing. Wait, no, don’t be sad—look, a shiny new pink e-reader! With an old school iPod click wheel! Yea, you feel better. As always, Borders remains on the cutting edge of e-books, this week adding a toy section to their stores. Next: a ball pit and Happy Meals. And then they’ll get rid of those pesky “books.”

Also leaving books behind, Gotham dropped Screech’s tell-all about Saved by the Bell, because it was scandalous and unverifiable. And now he’s not invited to the reunion (neither is Mr. Belding—so clearly they’re just cutting out the cast from SbtB: The New Class). Bookstores are censoring scandalous readings, the British Library is seething with sexual tension, and people are hiding cocaine in the spines of books. All we need are some explosions and this could be a Nicholas Cage movie.

Well, tigers, that’s all for this week. Remember: submit contest entries in the comments to win eternal fame and fortune (minus the “eternal” part. And the “fortune” part. And maybe change the “fame” part to “some recognition on a blog”). Until next week!


  1. Um, you do realize that 'creepy old guys trolling for teen girls' isn't just the -video game-, right? The hero in the novel is a 96-year-old man who not only falls for a 16-year-old girl, but decides for no particularly reason to -repeat High School-.

    WTF? A telepathic immortal who longs for Phys Ed and cafeteria food and reading The Red Badge of Courage one more time. And asking permission to leave the room to potty. Now that is power.

    And you don't get to slam Twilight while praising (in the person of Dumbledore) Harry Potter. Harry Potter is just Twilight for less mature kids.

    My entry: Harry Potter and the Inferiority of Muggles.

  2. Fear and Loathing in Denmark.

  3. *snerk* Happy Friday, Laura and Eric.

    Now that The Gaiman has spoken, I shall bury my two dirty love children vamp novels in the backyard. /nodnod

  4. Alright alright, even if it doesn't deserve to be on the 60 best of the past 60 years, must we really hate on Twilight so? There are MILLIONS of people (including myself) who liked it, warts and all.

    Also, maybe I'm just bitter/jealous, but I read "Twelve" and it wasn't that great. In fact, I didn't much like it. But again, maybe I'm just bitter/jealous...

  5. Hippies did some things right! You gotta admit they created some great music...and great posters...and...well, lots of other great stuff too.

    I don't think TWILIGHT wasn't very well written (I stopped reading after #2), but it's intended for teenage girls and they loved it and bought all the books in the series--so more more power to it.

  6. But that wasn't a list of the bestselling books, or the most popular books. Clearly, people love Twilight and Harry Potter and Da Vinci Code and Bridges of Madison County, and that's a wonderful thing. I hope that one day I write a book that people like one hundredth as much as any of those.

    And all of those books succeeded on their own merits, too; there are no celebrities or children-of-celebrities or CEOs or anything on that list. The only reason my novels haven't done as well is because I haven't written anything that appealing.

    Still, that level of popularity doesn't really speak to 'best', in this context.

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. I'd just like to say... Thank you to all three of my fans (mom included).

    And I'm so over Twilight, really just gag me with a spoon. It's over. The characters don't even have personalities. Well, I guess boring,
    dull, and predictable are character traits.

  9. "Hitler, I’m sure, would feel it in at least one bone."

    I don't care who you are, that's funny eight there.
    - Some cable repair man

    TWILIGHT: Apparently there is a lawsuit claiming plagiarism being filed against Stephanie Meyer. For a sarcastic dissertation on the alleged "similarities", please visit:

  10. "To Catch a Whale"

  11. Fear and Loathing in Denmark= Hamlet
    To Catch a Whale=Moby Dick
    Atticus=To Kill a Mockingbird

    My title: The Castaway Boys

  12. Love your blog. One thing: Per the article, the Obamas didn't self-publish a cookbook. Seems they ordered a self-published cookbook, making the author Sally a top-selling cookbook author currently.

  13. Oh Teh Awe-Some Sauce, you beat me to the guesses. Mine were the same as yours. Really.

    On your Castaway Boys, my guess - Peter Pan.

  14. Oops. Here's my entry:

    Hot Sex With A Cold Minister

    Your writing is fun, Laura. Would love to be on your Bar Trivia Team.

  15. For castaway boy I was thinking Lord of the Flies.

    And Hot Sex With a Cold Minister... could that be The Scarlet Letter?

  16. Mercedesalh, I don't think we're supposed to tell you if you're right or wrong til the end of the contest. And I don't know how many titles we can post.

    Hmm. It's 4:40ish EDT. Not sure if Laura is here or on the West Coast. And since it's Friday, I wonder if she's out pub-crawling yet with that lush, Harry.

    If not maybe she can give us a few more details.

    This is so much fun. Always on the look-out for new ways to waste time and procrastinate.

  17. Hi Kristan & Anon @ 11:17 AM—

    You're absolutely right. But I do submit the following:

    "Sanity is not statistical."



  18. Managing Your Throne & Power.

    Big hint: its not fiction but the book is a classic. Even earned its author's name to become an adjective & a noun *nod* may we all aspire to be that big someday.

    Word Vert: honors
    oooh the irony!

  19. This was one of the best weekly roundups I've ever come by. It took me a long time to get through all the juicy links.

    Ok, I'll try the contest:

    The Dumbbell and the Flutterbutt

    (I have a 14-year-old son reading this. It's not my fault. Although it was my husband who keeps calling it this.)

  20. Sometimes, I think I read this blog just for the Friday round up.

    Managing Your Throne & Power - The Prince

    I'll throw out a few entries for the contest:
    The Year A Zombie Killed My Girlfriend
    Mis Entre Parentheses Comme Commentaire Social
    I See London, I See France . . .

  21. Laura is currently unable to check the blog, but she sez:

    Hi Terry—

    Submit as many titles as you can come up with! and thanks for not spilling your title beans—feel free to email your answers to pimpmynovel (at) gmail (dot) com or give it up here next Thursday.

    To the Twilight responders, I appreciate your feedback! I know I haven't justified my Twilight opinions, but I didn't think anyone would be interested.

    Basically, my Twilight issues boil down to two things: 1. I think it's poorly written (as does Stephen King), and 2. I think that Meyer created weak female characters, made stalkerish boyfriend behavior look acceptable, and espouses an abstinence only outlook that just doesn't work.

    I say this as someone who loves Tamora Pierce's Alanna, Garth Nix's Sabriel, Patricia Wrede's Cimorene, and all of Mercedes Lackey's heralds. I heart YA female leads, but in a world where even Dora the Explorer is getting sexed up, I dislike poor role models for girls and young women (for a cartoon with amazing female leads, watch Avatar: The Last Airbender).

    Agree? Think I'm overeacting? Let me know! And either way, check out the Buffy/Edward mashup.

  22. Your Merlin response brought tears to my eyes. Must be the fantasy geek in me.

    *ahem.* My entry for the contest is:

    The Ghost Speaks in a Fanciful Voice

    Thought it turned a classic into a hot YA paranormal. :)

  23. Laura~

    Right on with your break down of Twilight. Of course, every time I tell someone that they look at me with glazed eyes and tell me to quit being such a drag.


  24. Thanks for clarifying Laura. Now I twig it.

    I See London, I See France...= Down and Out in Paris and London, George Orwell

    Here's a few more.

    A Grove in the Hammock

    My American Nymphet

    A Penny Store In Salem

    My Beautiful Ape

    The Dark Harsh Taste Of Sternwoods

    Torn Between Two Lovers In The Snow

  25. My American Nymphet would be Lolita.

    One more entry:

  26. My fake title: Sparkly Death. (Did I spell that right? Thankfully I have no idea how to spell "Sparkely" correctly.)

  27. Hehe, I love Dirt. Must be Grapes of Wrath.

  28. No Fishing For Old Men = The Old Man and the Sea, by Ernest Hemingway

    Still stumped on the rest. Too bad more people don't want to come out and play.

    Wish this blog had one of those boxes to get emails for each response. Easier to keep up with it that way.

  29. The Ghost Speaks in a Fanciful Voice = Phantom of the Opera
    Torn Between Two Lovers In The Snow = Call of the Wild, maybe?

    No, no, Grapes of Wrath would be Angry Wine or maybe Relocating the Joads.

    I should note - the guess on "I see London . . ." is way off. *evil grin*

    New Entry:
    Forever Hillbillies

  30. Now, now Cloudshaper2k, you're giving things away. But since so few are playing, *evil grin* back at ya. Call of the Wild, nada. Good guess though.

    Admittedly, Torn Between Two Lovers In The Snow, is rather a lame title. Hint - it's set during the Bolshevik Revolution.

    Forever Hillbillies. I'm thinking on it. Deadlines are looming. I fear I won't make the team.

  31. Torn Between Two Lovers In The Snow = Doctor Zhivago ... and the only reason I know that is because of Omar Sharif being in the movie.

    I see London, I see France = A Tale of Two Cities? -- never actually read that one.

    My entry: The Chatty Spider on the Farm

  32. My entry: Growing up, Lepus Capensis

    What a clever idea for a contest!

  33. The Chatty Spider on the Farm = Charlotte's Web

  34. Growing Up, Lepus Capensis = The Tale of Peter Rabbit

  35. Good try Terry, but not the book I was aiming for!

  36. I do love Twilight-hate -- only because I loathe the series (skipped through portions of the 2nd and 3rd book and finished the 4th only to be even more severely dissapointed.)

    My titles:

    A Little Person's Quest for Jewelry

    Snakemen Can't Kill Babies

    The Lost Slipper

  37. A Little Person's Quest for Jewellery - The Hobbit

    My fairly simple offering:

    The Case of the Spectral Canine

    Twilight - didn't anyone else - equally cynical -spot the place where Bella, the mature-beyond-her-age character, began to behave like her mother? Nature verses nurture?

  38. The Lost Slipper...Cinderella?

    No other guesses; I'm afraid I'm not very good at this game.

    My contribution: The Place Where There is No Darkness

  39. OK Beth, This is rather a wild guess, but how about Rabbit, Run by Updike.

    What the heck. Can't win if you don't play and all that.

    The Place Where There is No Darkness = An American Tragedy.

    I'm basing this guess more on the title of the movie. Wild Guess # 1 on this one.

  40. Let me toss another one out. The more chances to win -

    Big Brains

    Hint: Think Darwin.

  41. Wait, let me revise that title, such a writer thing to do.

    Those Pesky Big Brains

    Much better.

  42. Here are two guesses:

    I See London, I See France= Tale of Two Cities

    The Place Where There is no Darkness= 1984

    And some titles:

    Fierce Bunnies

    Where Do The Ducks Go?

    On the Road with Some Seedy Characters, but a Few Righteous Folks Too

  43. Darn- I somehow missed that someone already guessed Tale of Two Cities.

    Three more guesses (this is addictive):

    A Penny Store in Salem= House of Seven Gables
    Fear and Loathing in Denmark= Hamlet
    The Case of the Spectral Canine= Hound of the Baskervilles

  44. Okay, here's a two-for-one - two books by different authors fit this title:

    The Suicide Affair

    And my final entries:
    Desert Power: Political Analysis in the Ongoing War
    Locating Monsters
    Big Man, Little Man

  45. The Suicide Affair = The Virgin Suicides

  46. Answers:

    Hot Sex With A Cold Minister = The Scarlet Letter
    A Grove In The Hammmock = Cross Creek
    My American Nymphet = Lolita
    A Penny Store In Salem = The House of the Seven Gables
    My Beautiful Ape = His Monkey Wife
    The Dark, Harsh Taste of Sternwoods = The Big Sleep
    Torn Between Two Lovers In The Snow = Dr. Zhivago
    Those Pesky Big Brains = Galapagos

  47. Answers:
    The Year A Zombie Killed My Girlfriend = Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
    Mis Entre Parentheses Comme Commentaire Social (English Title: The Parenthetical Aside as Social Commentary) = Les Miserables (unabridged) by Victor Hugo
    I See London, I See France . . . = A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
    Dirt = The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
    Forever Hillbillies = Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
    The Suicide Affair = The Awakening by Kate Chopin or Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
    Desert Power: Political Analysis in the Ongoing War = Dune by Frank Herbert
    Locating Monsters = Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
    Big Man, Little Man = Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift

  48. Hey readers,

    Way to contest! I see that Terry and cloudshaper2k have included their answers already, so I'm just going to post the rest (some of these may not be right, and a few straight up stumped us all--the answers below are partly right answers people emailed to me, and partly guesses from the comments or from me).

    Harry Potter and the Inferiority of Muggles: Harry Potter of some variety
    Fear and Loathing in Denmark: Hamlet
    To Catch a Whale: Moby Dick
    Atticus: To Kill a Mockingbird
    The Castaway Boys: either Peter Pan or Lord of the Flies
    No Fishing for Old Men: The Old Man and the Sea
    Managing Your Throne & Power: The Prince
    The Dumbbell and the Flutterbutt: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
    The Ghost Speaks in a Fanciful Voice: Phantom of the Opera
    A Penny Store In Salem: House of Seven Gables
    Sparkley Death: Twilight
    The Chatty Spider on the Farm: Charlotte’s Web
    Growing up, Lepus Capensis: Rabbit, Run
    A Little Person's Quest for Jewelry: The Hobbit
    The Lost Slipper: Cinderella
    The Case of the Spectral Canine: Hound of the Baskervilles
    The Place Where There is No Darkness: An American Tragedy or 1984
    On the Road with Some Seedy Characters, but a Few Righteous Folks Too: Canterbury Tales
    Snakemen Can't Kill Babies
    Fierce Bunnies
    Where Do the Ducks Go?

  49. This contest was a lot of fun! I'm glad you published the answers- the titles would've been nibbling at my brain if you hadn't.

    Fierce Bunnies= Watership Down
    Where Do the Ducks Go= Catcher in the Rye

  50. Did anyone ever figure out "Dirt"? That's the one I was wondering about!

  51. Dirt = Dune? Holes?

  52. Congratulations to you title winners! Great Job. And fun titles. Stumped me all over the place, not that that's hard to do, but...

    Hey I won the guessing game! Thanks Laura. I love the idea of everyone buying us drinks.

    El Jimador's Shifties all around!

    Your link-laden posts are so good. That Alice In Wonderland film looks like a winner. I can see Depp as the Mad Hatter.

  53. Snakemen Can't Kill Babies = Harry Potter, no?

    I love "Where Do the Duck Go" - good one!

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