9/13/14 – SO LONG, FAREWELL … SORT OF
This is my last post as a regular contributor to Late Last Night Books. The writing has been fun, but my favorite part of the experience has been reader feedback. Whether you left your comment on the LLNB site, one of my Facebook pages, or delivered it up close and personal, I enjoyed the conversation. This last post is a roundup of some of the thoughts you shared, along with a fervent hope that our paths will cross again soon!
Although my most-read posts were Wrote the Book, Hated the Movie (parts 1 and 2), the post that triggered the most response was The Public Nature of Private Journals. It seems that, like me, many of us are torn about whether to keep or destroy the personal reflections we record during our lifetimes. Do insight and historical documentation outweigh the potential embarrassment of allowing a future reader unguided admission to our day-to-day observations? Apparently I’m not alone in wondering: responses ranged from the suggestion that I burn everything right this minute to the reader who embraced the fact that she was leaving a legacy–however fallible–for her children. Perhaps the smartest approach came from someone who remarked that this was the very reason she’d never started keeping journals in the first place. A little late for me and my umpteen journal volumes, but perfectly logical.
Losing the Label (old librarian stereotypes fought with… new librarian stereotypes) provided among the most satisfying responses I received. I know some very cool librarians, and it seems that some of our readers do, too. In a world where technology allows us to research in isolation, it was good to hear that stereotyped or not, librarians are still considered information/communication whizzes. I enjoyed hearing decades-old stories of childhood librarians who planted lifelong seeds of curiosity and the love of reading. Talk about leaving a legacy!
Readers of old-school romance responded to The Best-Selling Genre that Nobody Reads in different ways. A few tried to justify their reading by citing a love of historicals and comedy(!!). But my favorite responses came from those who proudly said that the reasons this genre is stigmatized – unlikely plots laden with anticipation and sprinkled with sex – are exactly why they so enjoy it. I did notice an interesting trend: those who were embarrassed about perhaps enjoying romance novels were more likely to have read Fifty Shades of Grey than were those who enjoyed Kathleen Woodiwiss and the authors who followed in her footsteps. Woodiwiss fans found very little romance in prose that left nothing to the imagination.
Readers seemed to enjoy the test-taking aspect of Suspending Suspension of Disbelief. There was particular interest in Twinsburg, Ohio (which, yeah, sounds more fictional than real no matter how you look at it). If anybody out there would like to write a novel featuring Twinsburg, I think there’s a ready-made pool of readers.
My own secret pleasure came from responses to Thorne Smith and the American Ghost. It was nice to see that Mr. Smith’s wit can still attract a modern reader eighty years after his death.
I’m hoping not to lose touch with readers of LLNB. You can find me in various ways. I have a new novel coming out next year (NEWPORT, HarperCollins July 2015). In the next few months, I may even get my act together enough to set up a website. In the meantime, you can follow me on Facebook (Novels of Jill Morrow), where the current post rate of about once or twice a month will have to pick up some time but will never grow excessive.
As for Late Last Night Books, it enters its second year with a new look, two new columnists, and many more insightful book reviews, author interviews, and commentaries. You can meet the LLNB crew at the Baltimore Book Festival September 26th through 28th.