Top Ten Tuesday is the weekly meme hosted by the gals at THE BROKE AND THE BOOKISH. Each week there's a new topic. This week it's Top Ten Literary Trends I'd Like to See More (or Less) Of. So, batten down the hatches, here we go.
1) More vintage mysteries brought back to life by publishers such as Felony and Mayhem who do such a great job with many Golden Age mysteries, i.e. the trade paperbacks of Earl Derr Biggers' Charlie Chan books. They are simply delightful to look at and read. There are many MANY worthwhile authors languishing in near obscurity; they deserve another read by today's mystery fans.
I also wish Virago and other similar British reprints were easily available in this country. They mostly publish obscure women writers of long ago - writers who are definitly worth reading again or for the first time.
2) More attention paid to mystery/thriller and other genre writers when Literary Awards time comes around each year. The recent inclusion in the Booker long-list of nominees of two books by authors who might loosely be termed thriller writers, while not exactly a 'trend' is a heartening step in the right direction. In my view, great writing is great writing - no matter where it comes from. I'll never understand why awards committees can't adopt that criteria. (Actually, I do understand it, but since it has mostly to do with snobbery and elitism, I choose to pretend otherwise.)
3) More interest taken by authors in the adaptations of their books so as not to disappoint their reading fans when and if the movie is made.Don't know if this is a trend or not, but maybe we can start one. Many more terrific books have been ruined by bad casting (probably by people who never read the books in the first place) and distorted screenplays than have not.
Case in point: the latest news that Tom Cruise will be playing Jack Reacher, Lee Child's peripatetic knight in shining in armor, righter of wrongs, settler of scores. Reacher is 6'5" tall and 250 pounds. Part of his shtick is physical intimidation. Can you honestly see the diminutive Cruise physically intimidating anyone? The mind boggles. But Lee Child has sold all rights (far as I know and understand) and has no say in the casting. Disaster. This is one movie I won't be seeing.
4) More anthologies of authors who have a huge back-log of books. I currently own several anthologies: Agatha Christie, M.M. Kaye, P.G. Wodehouse, Rex Stout, Elizabeth Peters and even Nelson DeMille and Janet Evanovich. But I would love to see more and more writers' work published in this manner. It is an easy and accessible way to familiarize yourself with authors' first few books or their more famous works. For readers of series, like myself, they are especially handy. But only if the type is still readable and not so tiny it needs a giant magnifying glass.
5) More funding for Libraries which is definitely and unfortunately not a trend at the moment.
6) Less books with the word zombies in the title. Most especially less classics turned on their heads by zombies running amok between their pages. What a tiresome trend. I could also do with less vampire tales. Another tiresome trend. Not that I read this sort of thing, but they do clutter up the bookshelf space at the store and are sometimes just plain annoying to look at. In this day an age is there still such a thing as a visual insult? Well, that's what many of these books are at first (or even second) glance.
7) Less covers with photos of wistfully winsome, troubled young women (or girls) in distress and titles like, The So and So's Daughter, Wife, Mother, Sister, Granddaughter, Grandmother, Aunt or Cousin. I mean, enough is enough. Less photos of women on covers period. Most especially since they all seem to have been taken by the same photographer and designed by the same studio.
8) Less books told in the present tense. I dislike this writing trend more than any other. I've been known not to read a book, even if by a highly recommended author if this style of writing greets me on the first page. I abominate it. I mean, where am I while the story is taking place? Riding on the author's shoulders? When was the story written? Is it being written as I read? HOW? This sort of writing makes no rational sense, especially in fiction. It's the kind of thing that, to my mind, breaks an implied covenant between author and reader. It is just too intimate. Prove to me that this immediacy, this intimacy is necessary. Can't be done.
9) Less blood splatter on covers. I mean, if I'm buying a mystery and/or thriller, I generally know there's going to be some bloodletting in the story. It's not as if it's going to come as any big surprise. I don't have to be constantly reminded by carrying around a book whose cover is drenched in blood. As much as I love mysteries and thrillers, I will NOT read a book whose cover offends my delicate sensibilities. More dignity, please. Ha!
10) Less Happy Hit Man books. I don't get this trend at all. But it's been around forever and it seems like it's not going to go away, much as I would wish it. I don't want to read about the whys and wherefores of a hit man's life, current job/girlfriend/pet dog/world weariness or rationale. I most especially don't want to read about a reformed hit man. Ladies and gentlemen, there can be no such thing.