So you can read my books

Sunday, April 7, 2013


{Alice and Victor courtesy of Leonora Roy}

Sex.     Controversy.      Violence.
Relevance to today’s culture.

No, I’m not talking 50 SHADES OF GREY.  I’m talking



Almost from the start, controversy surrounded the novel.
It wasn’t only the romantic passions of Gone With The Wind that enflamed readers, it was Mitchell’s volatile mix of racial and gender politics.
Her glorification of the Old South and its racial bigotry outraged many in her day,
and that outrage burns just as hotly with lots of modern readers as one can see from the recent commercial success of The Help.

Just as disturbing to some was Scarlett’s ruthless money grubbing during and after the war.
Published only a couple of years after the Great Depression, the novel re-enacts a story that was fresh in the minds of readers of that era who had just witnessed their own version of financial collapse.

Her survive-at-any-cost morality, her slippery situational ethics were perfectly suited for the time this novel appeared and are still as relevant 75 years later.
To many, Scarlett’s cutthroat behavior was evidence of all that was wrong with capitalism,
while to others she was a symbol of all that’s right.
And for a woman, of all things, to dominate her male counterparts both in the boardroom and the bedroom made many readers bristle all the more.

As the film critic Molly Haskell says about Scarlett “… you hate her and you love her, a heroine of ambiguous morality who is revolutionary … in that she refuses to be chastened, brought to heel …”

For similar reasons, THE GODFATHER impacted the bestseller lists.

Whether the exploitiveness of reality TV, which plays such a central role in The Hunger Games, will still concern anyone in 75 years is doubtful.
But there’s little question that our national discourse will still be galvanized by issues of race and gender and avarice, all of which Gone With The Wind so richly explores.

What novels have you read recently that you believe will still have an impact 75 years from now? 
Will the HARRY POTTER SERIES have that kind of long-lasting impact?
What about your novel?  Victor Standish says, "Of course!"
But you know how humble he isn't!  :-)


  1. Since I didn't go for controversy, my books will probably be long forgotten. But people have enjoyed them now and that's what matters to me.

  2. I think you're right that sex, violence and controversy play a big role in a book's success. It's literature that pushes the boundaries of what is acceptable that leaves an impression on people. I think books like 1984, Animal Farm, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and To Kill a Mockingbird are still relevant today because so many political and moral parallels can be drawn with our own society. I don't think there are many modern books that will have that kind of impact in the future. I'd say Harry Potter will always be popular because it follows the classic hero's journey plotline and draws so much from mythology-that always appeals to people. I don't think it will have a lasting socio-political impact, however.

  3. i think making people think is a good way to bring the them in. scare them into the read, but bring it home with the title... it has to grab you... then scare you and finally intrigue.

  4. Alex:
    All we can hope for as writers is to spin a tale that engages the hearts and minds of our readers today. Tomorrow will take care of itself, right?

    I believe you're right: only a handful of books like your 1984, ANIMAL FARM, and TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD stirs the eternal social questions. But Harry Potter certainly impacted JK Rowlings' financial world!

    The mythic hero's journey, when done right as JK did it, will always stir our hearts.

    Thanks for the comment!

    Survivor Duck says he'll remember that sauce remark!

    Your literary game plan is evocative of what Stephen King does so well. Mark Twain is chuckling over my shoulder, "Make folks think that they are thinking, and they'll love you. Make them truly think, and they'll hate you!"

    But then Mark was always a contrary cuss. :-)

    Thanks for commenting! Roland

  5. Harry Potter will survive, it has tweaked the imagination of several generations, like LOTR. I'm not a big fan of GWTW, I found Scarlett to be aggravating, although I did like her spunkiness. If a book gets the public talking, it's done something.

    Whether our own books survive as long will depend on our own congested time (the marketplace is overflowing) and the reading habits of the public. As attention spans get shorter (for instant everything), will the average reader have enough inclination to finish a novel? Bits and bites seem to be all some readers can handle.

    I like the baseball analogy, 'build it and they will come', although they might take the roundabout way. . .I will continue to write. Why not. The stars may align in our favor one day.

    Any work news? (Keeping fingers crossed.)
    btw, was reading 'Blood will Tell' (your book), and it's creepy, in a good way. . . I kept putting you in the MC role as I read.

  6. Harry and LOTR will survive, for they touch the lodestone of our dreams for magic and wonder that were birthed in our childhood.

    Yes, attention spans are shortening, which is why serials might be the next Big Thing.

    You and I will continue to write, for we are dreamers and adventurers! :-)

    The workplace is still scary. I lost a friend there who just got tired of the suspense and found another job elsewhere -- it pays better he says. Let's knock on wood for him ... and me!

    Yes, many have emailed me saying that BLOOD WILL TELL is like Stephen King making me the protagonist in his take on a blood center. Cue the spooky music! :-)

    I am glad you're enjoying it!

  7. Sex again? But I'm too tired and I feel a headache coming on.


    Hugs and chocolate,

  8. Shelly:
    I think Scarlet said those exact words to her first two husbands!

  9. Great post! I would say that Harry Potter and for sure Stephen King books, maybe 50 Shades? (LOL!)
    A to Z buddy
    Peanut Butter and Whine

  10. Connie!
    50 SHADES? Ah, maybe you're right! :-)

    I think THE SHINING, CARRIE, and THE STAND might stand the test of time as you say ... and Harry Potter!

  11. Sad to say Scarlett was someone I admired as a young woman.

  12. The Desert Rocks:
    The movie Scarlett was more of a heroine than the literary one. I bet you admired the movie version. :-)