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Tag: genre debates

Weeknote 12

Weeknotes are back. Which means, sadly, that my vacation is over and normal life has resumed.


I spent the week catching up. Emails, phone meetings, memo writing, and other sundry administrative tasks. Don’t you love forms that must be signed the old fashioned way? That means receiving the form, printing it, signing it, scanning it, and then emailing it onward. An electronic signature would take a fraction of the time to sign and send back. And no, this isn’t a legal document or a HIPAA/FERPA form. Sigh.


I am behind on my 20 Books of Summer list. I am reading, but not as much, and I’ve been reading non-list books like Iain M. Bank’s Culture novel, Matter. It’s very good, although frequently quite discursive in that patented Banks way. But I’m enjoying it. I did manage to read Sarah Morgan’s most recent release, which I wrote about in a previous post, and I liked it a lot.

I’m still thinking about the Women’s Fiction/Genre Romance debate. A lot of my romland friends are bummed by the switch to WF by longtime romance authors, but the market for contemporary and historical romance is just not very profitable for publishers anymore. If you don’t want to self-publish then you pretty much have to move into a romance-adjacent genre, or at least that’s how it seems to me. It isn’t new for romance authors to shift to more high-profile genres with hardback options; category authors started doing it in the 1980s and 1990s. It might just be that social media amplifies the voices who dislike these moves, or it may be that social media and the internet more generally allow more people to see publishing shifts happen in real time than was the case in the past. Anyway, I’m still going on a author-by-author, book-by-book basis.

I fell way behind on my podcasts but have been catching bits and pieces of the Women’s World Cup. England v. USA on Tuesday should be something. England demolished Norway and the USA did not look its best while beating France, so who knows.

We watched another episode of Good Omens (still fun) and the first episode of the most recent season of Endeavour, which has finally premiered on PBS. We were gone for the first one and missed the second one, but PBS gives us a few weeks to catch up for free if we give them our email. It was good! Although Endeavour’s moustache is not. It’s very true to 1970s style, I admit, but I keep wanting to reach into the TV and brush it off his face.

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Booker Longlist Review: Snap by Belinda Bauer

I really don’t understand what the Booker judges saw in this mystery to put it on the longlist. Other reviews point to the portrayal of Jack and his siblings, and I agree that is well done, but the other characters are not particularly believable, the mystery/thriller aspect doesn’t really make sense, and the novel lacks the sense of place that really good mysteries (at least the ones I consider really good) tend to have. The writing, which presumably is something all Booker nominees should feature at a very high level, is competent but not much more than that. We’re not talking Reginald Hill Snap by Belinda Bauer coverhere.

There are two plots that are brought together by the main character, Jack. We meet Jack and his siblings when their mother vanishes while seeking help for an automobile breakdown. Days later her body is found, and her husband, who is overcome with grief, abandons the children. Jack manages to keep them going by ensuring that the outside of the house is well kept (the inside is a tip), and he turns to burglary to provide them with food and the money to survive. This goes on for three years.

At the three-year mark we’re introduced to Catherine While, a heavily pregnant woman who is frightened by a prowler in her house. He leaves a knife and a note, warning her of danger (from him or someone else is ambiguous). She decides not to tell anyone because she doesn’t think they’ll believe her and will blame her for leaving the window open and allowing the stranger to get in.

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