Saturday, May 16, 2009

Why do the best books sometimes go unnoticed?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Quick. Name the most recently crowned Miss USA.

But I'd bet you've heard of Miss California.

Negative buzz, turmoil around someone or something, can do more to promote that someone or something than good reviews can.

Why so much folderol about Barack Obama speaking at Notre Dame? If you are a Roman Catholic bishop, and you are irritated that a majority of Catholics voted for Obama, one way to bring attention to your point of view is to make a fuss about something inconsequential.

Right now I'm reading what so far seems to be a wonderful little book, Grave Undertaking, by Mark de Castrique. The main character is Buryin' Barry Clayton, an undertaker in North Carolina. But I'd bet that book hasn't sold one one-thousandth of the number of books Dan Brown's
The Lost Symbol will sell. And I'd bet de Castrique's book is a better book.

Controversy matters. If you want to sell a lot of books, writing about something that is all the buzz matters.

Mark de Castrique harks back to a writer like Sharyn McCrumb and her Appalachian novels. I loved those books. I could see reading some of them again.

One reason I appreciate mystery novel blogs is that I've found some good books there. I don't know where I ran across
Grave Undertaking. But I suspect it was on someone's blog.

At lot of times, the best books are to be found among the ones that get the least buzz.


Cathy said...

I recently finished de Castrique's Blackman's Coffin, which I thought was quite good. It also has the feel of McCrumb, whose Appalachian novels I love. I've got a copy of Grave Undertaking coming to me from Paperback Swap.

J said...

Just from what I've read so far, I'd bet he hasn't written a bad book. I plan to read a lot of them.

Corey Wilde said...

[touches pencil to tongue, makes note]

One more on my ever-expanding list. Thanks for the rec, Joe.

Joe Barone said...

I like to return the favor. You've led me to several good writers.