I believe I've mentioned on a few occasions my disappointment with big-name anybodys or anythings. Many of my friends recall how I detested anything related to Harry Potter, until one day katiat325
invited me to a free screening of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
. The whole time, she and schmollieollie
were chatting about the things different from the book, the scenes left out, the characterizations-- and they wouldn't repeat a word of it to me, the outsider who hadn't even read the books.
So I read the books-- actually borrowed from my mother. By the time I was leaving to go to CSUN, I was engrossed in the world, and Stephanie got me Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
as a going-away present. Now that the final book (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
) is upon us (July 21, 2007), I'm looking back on a lot of books that have been hype or tripe. Some books deserve their hype; others (especially those from a famous author or in a long-standing series) don't really deserve the hype they get just because of the name attached.
For example, Harry Potter --both the books and the fandom as a whole-- has disappointed me over the years, because what I originally found fascinating or enchanting is now predictable or pathetic. But JKR is not a poor writer by any stretch of the imagination, and AS a writer myself, I hardly think that a writer SHOULD pander to her audience, even if said audience "pays the bills."
So then I wonder about another famous author: Danielle Steel. Before I left for Japan last year, I picked up her (then) newest book, Coming Out
. It sounded different from the steamy romances I'd read from her in high school (I can't remember the exact title, but it was about a Japanese woman in an internment camp in America during World War 2). But then again, in high school, I had a lot lower standards. -_- I remember trying my hardest to read "Coming Out" but it just read like a flat, predictable piece of drivel. It's funny, because when I mentioned something similar to this (though I believe on another comm. or in another post somewhere), someone said that many of her stories have the same PLOT over and over, with the characters merely renamed. That wasn't the case with "Coming Out" at all, and in fact, had some very interesting characters and what I thought was a very interesting plot-- but it's like taking a bunch of baking ingredients and making something terrible tasting with them. There was SO much potential, but...
I ended up returning "Coming Out" and using the money I got in return to buy 3 Yu-Gi-Oh manga. Sure, I don't like what Viz does with the manga (namely their horrid design skills, and how they can't even position a rounded rectangle block of text into a bubble properly), but I still buy from them because I support them bringing Yu-Gi-Oh's original manga to English audiences in the first place. All the scanlation groups that have tried up to this point are sub-par, really. Companies like Viz have the time and money to create something truly incredible, but as with my previous analogy, I think they're taking something with potential and not doing the best they can with it. But rather than creating something "horrible tasting" with the "ingredient" that is the original Yu-Gi-Oh manga, I think they've just made something that's a bit bitter and a touch bit moldy in places. I would one day like to work for Viz, instead of writing them letters over and over ("Are you guys going to do a second edition of XYZ manga where page 10 ISN'T a duplicate of page 5?"), so I'm trying to keep that goal in mind.
Anyway, because of my disappointment with Steel, I have next to no interest in reading her NEWEST new novel, Sisters
. It, too, sounds vaguely interesting, based on the description. And people always love to hype Danielle Steel for being such a "prolific" writer, for churning out as many novels as she has, for being best-selling. But what the hell does best-selling mean if not "robbed a bunch of people's wallets?" I mean, it says nothing for the actual quality of the book, only the fact that it sold. You might as well say that the In-Crowd back in high school were model students, representatives of the school or teenagers as a whole.
Yeah, right, and I'm Angelina Jolie. [/sarcasm]
I can't stand two forms of book summaries:
* the non-existent kind (i.e. you go to the back of a book, or the inside flap of a hardcover, and there is no summary-- only a photo of the author, or a short bio, or WORSE, a description of some OTHER book they wrote!)
* the obvious kind ("will so-and-so find true love amidst her family crumbling before her eyes!?")
Steel's fall into the second category, though I have seen a few of her books fall into the first, as well. And I'm sorry, but every time I see the cover art of "Toxic Bachelors" I want to cringe. WHO THE HELL DESIGNED THAT COVER!? My grandmother (Baba) has HUNDREDS, if not THOUSANDS of romance novels. I have seen every possible cover design out there, from the stereotypical (hot, Fabio-like man with his shirt half-torn open, groping or reaching for the woman with her bared shoulders and/or thighs and her hair flowing out behind her) to the tasteful (embossed, shiny text over a simple background, like a lace print, silk, jewels, etc). But the cover of that book
just makes me want to cringe. I'm not even a well-versed student in the art of design (that's what my JOUR 331 - Graphics class is supposed to be about), but even I can see-- that's a stupid cover. And like the summary, the cover is what sells
. If I see an interesting title or a cool-looking cover, I might just pick up that book! If the summary sounds interesting, I might just flip it open to check out the first page. If I like what I read, I MAY BUY IT!
I wish more people kept this in mind with their writing, even if it's not sold writing like Steel's drivel. I mean, is she like Anne Rice without vampires-- no one questions her authority anymore, she has no editor, no one stands against her? Or do you really have to hunt for the one gem amongst all her crap? I'm sure she has good stuff written somewhere. I hope, anyway.
Anyway, ( speaking of design... )
I had a series of weird dreams last night, but as soon as I woke up, I couldn't really remember many specifics, only a few impressions. I remembered dreaming that I'd found my PS2 memory card (*wail*), but I also remember dreaming about some BAD things, because I was feeling very freaked out and vaguely "sick in the head" when I woke up. But I think I've managed to recover okay, I just have to watch out and not get stressed. Even though Tuesday is my longest day, I don't have work on Tuesdays, and so far I've been able to handle the workload and even the teachers.
My Media Law teacher doesn't mind me taking notes on the laptop (which is great, because I can type faster than I can write!), and so far I've been able to keep up with my usual pace and style in Japanese class (by the way, Todd and I'm presuming Daniel and/or John returned from Japan today, and Todd stopped into my Japanese class to promote the Tokiwa program... that was kind of funny). Plus I got out of Media Law at 4:00 or so today, and my next class doesn't start until 6pm, so I have about an hour to chill and do whatever I like. :)
* Need to get Death Notes vols. 6-10
* Need to watch Hana Yori Dango 2 episode 5 *AS SOON AS IT IS SUBBED* because dayum
was Episode 4 good! And the teaser-trailer! :O!!!! Ah, HYD, how I MISSED you!
And to close, a rather random question: at what point did the Stormtroopers stop being clones of Jango Fett?
I wonder, because a new Star Wars novel (Allegiance, taking place between episodes IV and V) features a Stormtrooper with his own unique name... though that doesn't necessarily mean he's NOT a clone, I wonder if the Empire would have kept up production of the clone troopers after the Clone Wars. Further, did they bother identifying the clones by name, as a part of their "conditioning," or were they just given numbers (TK-421, why aren't you at your post)? I wonder...