Monday, August 2, 2010

A Satire on Reality

Going Bovine

by Libba Bray

I generally like reading books that are fun and froofy or that have some kind of supernatural element about them. When I started reading this book about a loser kid with a loser life that seemed to attract nothing but loser things, I was not excited. Cameron was not an interesting character. His family was absolutely horrible. Nothing seemed to be going for this book.
Then Cameron the Loser got a fatal disease. Could it get any worse here? Where is the happy ending that I so desire? Could anything good happen in this book, please? Then something miraculous happens! Cameron loses touch with reality! This is where the book really takes off. Cameron goes on adventure after adventure searching for his own special cure.
An adventurer wouldn’t be quite as special without his trusty sidekicks, would he? Cameron has them in abundance. First, our Don Quixote finds his Dulce in the shape of a goth angel who helps lead him through his journey. Along for the ride, Cameron takes the Dwarf of Destruction, Gonzo, who ends up finding something of his own on the trip. Halfway through the journey, Balder the Norse god of wisdom who cannot be killed joins the ranks. With this set of characters, how could you go wrong?

The second half is so dramatically different from the first half that I wonder why the first half was so long. If I was just looking for a good read, I probably would have put the book down before the good part. For what it’s worth, I’m really glad I didn’t.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

How much Jane Austen can I cram in here?

My lab was a practice in everyday library life. I created a book list with a librarian, made it beautiful, got it approved, and created a display of books to compliment the list. Now for details.

I went to the adult fiction section of the library I work for. Honestly, I don't have much of a clue as to who does what in the adult areas of the library. Adult meaning not the kids section where I spend my days. I found out who the supervisor was for the fiction section and talked to her about my list. She thought it would be great if I could create a list--she added a book display to go along with the list. I could definitely tackle that.

Next I went to the librarian who the supervisor said would love to work with me on the project. The librarian was fantastically kind. When I asked her for suggestions on book list topics that the library could use, she said I could choose anything. Anything, really? Yes, anything. Huh. Alright. So I asked her if I could do a Jane Austen knock-off list. She thought that was an excellent idea. After she told me the display would be up in April, I ran off to start compiling my list.

To choose the right books for my list, I started with books that I know and love in the Jane Austen spin-off world. Then I looked up those books on LibraryThing. In the recommendation
section for each of these books, I found a listing of 10 similar books. My list kept getting larger and larger, which ended up being a good thing. Not all the books would be on the list, but I would need about 60 books to fill the display enough to look good. I took this huge list and started going through the library catalog to make sure we actually had them. The list wouldn't be of much use if you couldn't find those books at the library, now would it? I pulled in most of the books on the big list from other branches so I would be able to put them out on April 1st.

The making-things-pretty part is my favorite. Next I needed to compile the list in a visually pleasing, patron-friendly list that would invite them to read as many books on the list as possible. The librarians I talked to in the fiction section used software on their home computers that I didn't have access to. So I jumped on the internet and searched the freeware out there for making fliers and brochures. My Brochure Maker turned out to be just the right site for me. It was easy to use with already laid out designs to choose from. I just needed to pop in the words and pictures and I was set.

When I was researching books, three main themes emerged in book type--sequels, spin-offs, and modern versions. The sequels continued a story from where it left off. The spin-offs changed the story a bit or looked at it from a different character's perspective. The modern versions were a modern retelling of one of Jane Austen's books. I used these categories to organize the book titles in my brochure. I chose the more popular books and series (with higher circulation) for the list. When I gave my draft of the list to the librarian, she absolutely loved it and was floored by the quality in design and book choice. She had never heard of any online brochure makers, so I made sure to tell her where I made it online so she could use it, too.

The final touches to the display were signs to get patrons interested. I created two big signs with Jane Austen's name on it to grab the attention of all Janites who might pass by. I also knew of an author visit in April that we had been given posters for. The event poster went under the Austen sign to promote even further involvement in the world of Jane Austen.

After putting up the display, I went by it periodically to replace books that had been checked out and make sure it still looked good. I originally put out 25 brochures with my book list in it. When I took it down at the end of the month, only 9 were left. The fiction librarians said that sometimes less than 5 of their lists are taken. Sixteen seems like success to me!

Here are a couple of annotations to tide you over:

Vanity & Vexation by Kate Fenton
When a big time director uses a small town in Yorkshire for her TV adaptation of Pride & Prejudice, a local writer has a bit to say about it. While Candia Bingham, the star of the show, falls madly for a local named John, his writer neighbor, Nicholas Llewellyn Bevan has unwittingly caught the eye of the illustrious director, Mary Dance. Sparks fly in this modern retelling of the Jane Austen classic complete with sex, money, and romance.

Lost in Austen: Create Your Own Adventure by Emma Campbell Webster
Create Your Own Adventure books are not just for kids! Use this books to redefine the classics you love. Will you fall for the leading man or get caught up with the villain instead? Hours of fun can be had rereading this book for different endings.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Exploring the science behind why we read fiction

Do science and the humanities mix? This article from the NY Times gives an interesting theory on why we reach for fiction:

The nod to Jane Austen in the article may add an extra bit of interest for me.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

What would you do if your dad was Errol Flynn?

Glitter Baby by Susan Elizabeth Phillips


I'm not usually a romance reader. This one was given to me by my best friends. Romance novels are her guilty pleasure. She even hides them behind other books on her bookshelf so they aren't in plain sight. Actually, she told me that she was putting a lot of trust in me b/c she does NOT loan out this book. She likes to keep it close at hand for any time she might want to pick it up. With all this in mind, I went into it rather optimistically.

The book starts out in the 50s. Belinda is a very young, naive girl from Indianapolis who goes to LA in search of her one true love--James Dean. She visits studio after studio trying to get an acting gig so she could be a part of the movie world. She is glamored by any big named actor in the biz. One day she sees her beloved Jimmy in a drug store. It's rather uneventful, but at least she saw him, right? Since he dies just a few days after Belinda saw him, she thanks her lucky stars that the brief meeting occurred at all. But now that Jimmy's gone, she is a little lost in what to do with herself. By chance she meets a past-his-peak Errol Flynn, has a very brief affair with him, and is cast by the wayside. She finds out she's pregnant, but Flynn has moved on. Belinda quickly catches the attention of Flynn's French friend and gets him to marry her.

This girl is all about drama. Thankfully, most of the story is not about her, but her daughter, Fleur. Her "father" discovers how unconnected he really is with Fleur and has her sent to a French nunnery as soon as she's born. Belinda gets to visit Fleur for one vacation a year. When Fleur is in her early teens, she feels tall, lanky, and ugly with the wide features she has inherited from the father she knows nothing about. Belinda sees a tall, beautiful blond with a tremendous amount of potential. While on one of their vacations, they meet a photographer Belinda knew from her Hollywood past. The test shots she takes of Fleur are just the beginning of her star-filled career as a model and actress.

In Fleur's first film, she is paired up with an older famous actor, Jake, who has done a ton of westerns and won a Pulitzer Prize for his first play. Once she meets her love interest, the story goes up and down as I assume most romances do. Does the mother try to have an affair with Jake? Yes. Does the step-father try to have an affair with his "daughter"? Yes. Are there misunderstandings and confusion galore? Of course!

I enjoyed this book, but I think this will most likely be the only time I read it. In the 50s scenes, Phillips is a bit heavy with the name tossing. I studied theatre and television in college, so I had an understanding of the backstage workings of productions. I think it's funny how Phillips illustrates this showbiz mom going a bit far when she deifies anyone with a big name in the business. Belinda is the ultimate fan who believes no big name can do wrong. It's their right to do what (and whom) they like. Her daughter is so far the polar opposite. She's modest, down to earth, and doesn't want the attention she gets. Fleur's solid character saved me from all the drama thrown in at every possible turn. It was a good, fast, and entertaining romance.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Kirkus a Classic

by Jane Austen

A woman who is slightly past her prime (at least what prime was 200 years ago) gets a second chance at love and life.

Anne Elliot is the sensible middle daughter of a once very rich and always very vain Baron who has squandered the larger part of his fortune away since his wife's death over ten years past. His circumstances have become so drear that he is forced to let his large estate to another while he and his two eldest daughters relocate to the fashionable and much less expensive Bath. To Anne's distress, her father has rented the place to the sister of Captain Wentworth, a man who proposed to her 8 years ago when he was a nobody. Anne loved him, but was persuaded to refuse him by her godmother, Lady Russell. The oldest sister, Elizabeth, decided to take a friend with her to Bath while merrily sending Anne off to stay with their hypochondriac sister, Mary, who lived close to the estate. When the two lovers meet again, one is bitter and resentful while the other is anxious and regretful. Eventually an event occurs that restores Captain Wentworth's view of Anne, but he seems to have entangled himself unwittingly in the life of another who's family expects him to marry her. Before anything can be done to remedy the situation, Anne returns to Bath where she is pursued in marriage by another dashing young man with devilish designs of his own. Scoundrels are revealed and everyone with a kind heart is paired up with another who fits them best.

An unrealistic, yet hopeful read for the fan of classic love stories.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Who are we looking for?

I went into a library I've never been in before to find a good book. Unfortunately, since I work in the largest system in the area, I know most of the librarians who work in it. I went up to the desk to tell the librarian (who I knew) what I was doing. She told me there was a sub working that night, too. I hadn't met her, so I made sure the librarian I knew kept my mission a secret before starting.

When the sub finally came back to the desk, I approached her (let's call her Robin). I asked Robin if she could help me find a good book. She turned to her computer, saying, "Let's see what we can find," and then asked me to have a seat. She asked me what kind of books I liked. I told her I liked Jane Austen's books but had read them all. She turned the computer screen so I could see it as well as she could. Then she started taking me through the library website's new releases.

Really? The first thing you look at when someone says Jane Austen is New Releases??

She looked through all the new releases and didn't find anything close (who would have guessed?)

She asked me what I liked about the books. I told her that I liked the love stories and happy endings (and I don't care who knows it!) But I wasn't looking for a bodice ripper. Robin asked me if I wanted a book set in the early 1800s. I told her I liked the regency period, but it wasn't a necessity.

After asking these questions, you'd think she would do some more searching or reach for a tool. No. She took me to the stacks. Robin said that when she's looking for a good book, sometimes she just has to browse. She started picking up books that looked like they might be right. She'd read the inside cover and either put it back or pass it to me to peruse.

Somehow, she got it stuck in her head that the time period was the most important thing to find. She picked up book after book after book. Most of the ones she would show me I could tell were obviously bodice rippers just by looking at them.

After about 5 minutes of this, she took me to the front of the library to grab a copy of Book Page, a newsletter published by IMCPL. Again, it was something she usually used to find herself a book--but at least she handed me a tool! The whole thing is full of book reviews and articles. She had me look through that while we kept on browsing.

Nothing in it was for me.

Robin was determined to find me a book. We were in the stacks for well over 30 minutes. During that time we talked a lot about books and trends. She would pull something from the shelf and comment on it. She whipped out a Sookie Stackhouse book and claimed that she didn't understand the craze for vampire literature. I told her I'd read that book and liked it. She put it back on the shelf and said that's not what we're looking for. I told her it would be okay if the book had a magical element in it. She just kept on looking for what she was already looking for.

Eventually, the books she started handing me were in the time period that she was searching for, but didn't fit the love story. You know--the part I really wanted. She went from adventure to women's lives books, but they were all about struggle and challenge. Then I discovered her taste in books. Robin likes realistic books with independent women who usually end up alone. The whole interview changed from finding a good book for me, to finding a book that Robin thought was good (but in the regency era, of course!)

One of the last books she gave me was closer to what I was looking for. It's called Girl in a Blue Dress by Gaynor Arnold. It's about Charles Dickens' wife who had been estranged from her husband for 10 years when he finally died. She wasn't even allowed to go to the funeral. Most of the story is about how he courted her and how they fell in love. If it was only that, it would be my type of book. But it ends badly! That automatically makes it NOT my kind of book.

I told her this book would probably be okay. She was spending way too much time on me. At that point, I think she got called away to the phone and asked another librarian if she could help me with better ideas. Of course that librarian was one I knew but not well. Let's call her Patricia.

The first thing she asked me (after Robin had told her I liked Jane Austen) was if I had tried NoveList. And that, my friends, is the difference between going to a substitute public service associate and going to a librarian with an MLS. Patricia knew which resources would get her the fastest, most accurate results and she used them.

Patricia found me a book called Jane Austen in Scarsdale: Or Love, Death, and the SATs by Paula Marantz Cohen that was checked in at that library. She also found Persuading Annie at another branch for me. That sounded the best, so I stopped by that branch on my way home to pick it up.

I spent more than an hour in that library. I hadn't really intended on browsing the stacks for so long. (Man, was I glad I wasn't at Central!) I really just wanted something like Jane Austen. I had Prada and Prejudice and Jane Bites Back waiting for me at home. Maybe that's why I thought it took forever. I already had good options in my possession. But, it never takes me that long to help a kid find a good book while I'm at work.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Do the Purists Have a Point?

I love Jane Austen novels. Not just the ones written by Jane, but also the sequels, the modern day versions, the novels from another character’s point of view. All of it. Don’t get me wrong; there are bad ones that probably should not have been written. But without the bad, we would never have the good.

Lately, I’ve been into the modern day tellings of her books. When you look for this kind of story, the ones I usually come up with are about Pride & Prejudice. I enjoy P&P immensely, but sometimes you’ve got to switch it up a bit. The most recent book I finished was Persuading Annie, a modern day version of Persuasion. I’m eagerly looking forward to the publication of Northanger Alibi by Jenni James. In it, James retells Northanger Abbey, but instead of the lead character being obsessed with gothic novels, she’s obsessed with the Twilight Saga. Priceless.

In my journey to read all the good Austen I can get my hands on, I have come across a few purists. One in particular, let's call her Liza, only reads Jane Austen's books. She doesn't touch the knock-offs and won't go near the movies. Every image of Sense & Sensibility Liza has in her head came purely from Jane Austen's words and her imagination. She's a bit extreme for my taste.

Do the rest of Jane Austen's fans lose something when they are exposed to new material? Will Colin Firth forever be Mr. Darcy to anyone who's seen the P&P movie? Is that a bad thing?

I think everyone has a right to their own opinion. I read Jane for entertainment. I love her stories and can't get enough of them. Hence, my desire to consume all the good stuff out there. Others read Austen for literary reasons. They can do whatever they like to keep the purest version of the story in their heads. Their discussions will be more accurate for it. As for me, I will continue reading whatever I like.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Persuading Annie

Persuading Annie

by Melissa Nathan

Women's Lives & Relationships/Chick Lit

I have read ma
ny, many modern versions of Pride & Prejudice, but this is my first modern version of Jane Austen's Persuasion. Melissa Nathan is a British author, so the book is filled with British phrases and culture. There's even a mild distaste of Americans (yet, somehow, a love of New York?)

As far as the plot goes, it follows Persuasion's really closely with modern situations. Annie is one of three daughters to a very wealthy, very handsome man, George. While she's in college, she thinks she's gotten pregnant by Jake, her boyfriend who she thinks might be the one. Confusion ensues and they break up. Both leave thinking they've been betrayed by the other.

The rest of the story happens seven years later. George's company is going under, so the CFO (and Annie's godmother), Susannah, hires a consulting firm to help save everything. Only Annie and her best friend, Cass, know that this company is owned by Jake.

Oh, do those two hate each other when they meet again. Jake flirts with Sophie (Annie's sister's sister-in-law) in front of Annie. Annie flirts with Edward (the company's CEO) in front of Jake. Eventually, an accident occurs with Sophie in a dark, dangerous alley and all the confusion starts to clear.

If you've read Persuasion, you know what'll happen in the end. If you haven't, what's stopping you? It's my favorite Jane Austen novel, so I'll recommend it to anyone who enjoys any of her works. Persuading Annie is a very quick, light read. You don't have to read Persuasion to enjoy it. If you like any kind of Chick Lit, this is a good choice for your next read.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea

A Wizard of Earthsea
A High Fantasy Classic

by Ursula K. Le Guin

The Earthsea Cycle:
#1 A Wizard of Earthsea (1968)
#2 The Tombs of Atuan (1970)
#3 The Farthest Shore (1972)
#4 Tehanu (1990)
#5 Tales from Earthsea (2001)
#6 The Other Wind (2001)

I have wanted to read this book for a long time. I saw the miniseries when it came out in 2004 and loved it. When I saw the book was in the juvenile collection of my library AND that it was written by Ursula K. Le Guin, the series gained a firm place on my to-read list. That’s right, it’s in the juvenile collection of my library. When I saw our textbook list it as a fantasy, I was overjoyed to be able to sneak in a book that would add to my knowledge of the collection I work with as well as fulfill a class assignment.

Earthsea is rather like a medieval island country with magic and dragons throughout. A young man in a teeny village discovers he has some skill with magic. He does something extraordinary to save his village and his fame spreads to a wizard on the island. The wizard, Ogion, gives the boy his true name, Ged. If he tells anyone his true name, they will have power over him, so he goes by Sparrowhawk. Ogion’s ways of teaching magic are too slow for the prentice, so the boy goes to Roke—an island with a magic school.

Being naturally very skilled at magic, Ged soon gets himself into trouble by performing a spell to bring a spirit back from the dead. He is too young and ignorant to be able to control the spell, so he ends up making a tear in the fabric of space (or something like that). The Archmage (or the Dumbledore of the story) seals the tear using up most of his power. Before he sealed it, something had a chance to escape. This shadow creature attacked Ged but got ran off. Throughout the rest of the story, Ged is chased by the shadow creature everywhere he goes. That is, until Ged decides to become the hunter instead of the hunted.

I haven’t read a lot of high fantasy before. Some of the stuff I’ve touched on has seemed a bit too much at times, reeking of melodrama. I didn’t feel that way with this one. I really liked it and intend on reading the rest of the series.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Should you read the book first?

How many times have you heard someone say that you have to read the book before watching the movie? I've heard it so many times, it's ridiculous. Good fiction is turned into good films all the time (and is made into bad films even more so).

People who say you should read the book first have their reasons. They think the imagery won't be as good; the books have more details that are "essential" to the plot; they think the true creator of the story should be praised first. The list goes on and on.

I used to be one of those people. I read the Chronicles of Narnia several times before ever seeing a movie of it. Wuthering Heights, Pride & Prejudice, Jane Eyre--all were in my hands as a book long before my eyes saw their stories on the screen. I could argue about this thing that was only in the book or that thing that was added to the movie by the director.

As I got older and more of my time was spent doing less pleasure reading (and more textbook reading), I discovered that I didn't have time to spend the time I wanted reading a story before watching it. Watching movies based on books became a way for me to better choose my next book. If I thought the movie was bad, there was no way I would waste my time in reading the book. If I really liked the movie, the book would go on my to-read list.

To the purests out there, this may sound like blasphemy. Hopefully, this will help ease your mind. I'm a slow reader with very little time on my hands. I have read books before watching movies, so I know your point of view firsthand. I just have a new philosophy on the subject now.

I've discovered something about watching movies based on books. If I read the book before watching the movie, I almost always have a horrible time liking the movie. BUT, if I watch the movie before reading the book, I can like both of them! It's so much quicker for me to watch a movie than it is to read a book. If I like a story, I will most likely want to go back to it. Going back to the book (sadly) can be too time consuming. Watching a movie, on the other hand, takes very little time comparatively.

I have been turned on to many good books by watching movies or tv shows. Dexter, Bridget Jones' Diary, The Christmas Carol, Gone with the Wind, and The Sookie Stackhouse books were all inspired reading for me after watching them first. I loved them both as books and movies. With my time being gobbled up by priorities, I feel no shame in picking up a book that I am most certainly going to enjoy because I liked the movie first.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Give the Crazy Lady in White a Chance

The Woman in White

by Wilkie Collins (1859-60)

Classic Mystery

Each chapter gets you deeper and deeper into the lives of the characters. Each chapter gets you more and more twisted in the plot. Each chapter makes you want to read the next.

The characters really drive the story. They were all well thought out with such unique personalities that they could have been based on real people. Laura (the ingénue) was beautiful, talented, and rich, yet dressed in plain clothes and was incredibly modest. Walter (the hero) did everything he could to defend the honor of his beloved with the meager funds of an illustrator/drawing instructor. Anne Catherick (The Woman in White) was your typical insane character who didn't make much sense and was pretty harmless unless her fears were triggered. Sir Percival Glyde is a smarmy middle-aged aristocrat who breaks out in spurts of anger whenever his plans are questioned.

The two characters that shine most in the eyes of critics are Marion Halcombe and Count Fosco. Marian is the half-sister of Laura who has the perfect body and mind but an ugly face. Her instincts and quick wit help unfold the mysterious plot against Laura to the utmost. (Do you ever find that you start writing or talking in a style not your own after reading something of another time or place?)

Count Fosco is the maker of the intricate plot which unravels, but you wouldn't know it. He is the most intelligent character in the story, yet at times, the most ridiculous. He has trained birds and mice that he dotes on and tweets at. He is jovial and courteous to everyone from the richest landowner to the lowliest street rat. Even the ever ready Marian cannot break the gaze of his cunning gray eyes when they've caught her. Few realize how dangerous a man he is. Our main characters only scrape the surface of this incredibly complex villain--and they know it.

I enjoyed this story, but because of its length, I think it would be better to read it like it was originally published--in serial. You can do that here: I would liken reading this book to watching a long mini-series. Sometimes it's better to get a story in pieces rather than all at once.

I wonder if there are books on Anne Catherick like Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys that's based on the crazy lady in the attic of Jane Eyre. There are so many crazy ladies in fiction--Great Expectations, Sweeney Todd, Jane Eyre, The Woman in White. I'm sure there are many, many more. A list of books based on the crazy ladies of fiction might be an interesting one to conjure up, don't you think?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I love getting ARCs

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan

John Green and David Levithan team up to write the story of Will Grayson …and Will Grayson. Both Wills live in different suburbs of Chicago and lead completely different lives. One lives in a posh neighborhood, the other doesn’t. One is gay, the other isn’t. One is indie, and the other is, well, wrinkled. By a weird twist of fate, the two Will Graysons meet in downtown Chicago while chasing different schemes of love.

I used to live in Oak Park, which is the suburb (though, most people still called it the city) bordering the west side of Chicago. My apartment was in Oak Park, but my parking spot was across the street in Chicago. Having this connection, I got more out of the story than some might. I had actual places in my mind rather than just the descriptions given by the authors.

The rich Will lives in Evanston. His friends called him "Grayson" most of the time, so that's what I called him in my head (though, the other Will called him Will2). The not so well off Will lives in Naperville. In my head, I called him Naperwill b/c he's from Naperville. No one in the book calls him that, I just like it. :) The authors make sure you know which Will's chapter you're on through Naperwill's writing style--he doesn't use caps. Since Grayson is a lot more by the book and Naperwill is way more connected to his computer/texting world, this worked really well.

Grayson kinda gets lost in the life of his best friend, Tiny. Tiny is an enormous football player who also happens to be the biggest drama queen in the theatre department. He seems to fall for another guy every 5 seconds. Tiny is so full of himself that he writes a musical about his life called "Tiny Dancer". (I love the humor in this book!) Anyway, Grayson has issues with all of this since he's played a big role in Tiny's life.

Naperwill is a loner. At school, Maura is the closest thing to a friend he has. They meet at the same place every day so Naperwill can drink her coffee. Online, Naperwill has fallen completely, head-over-heels in love with Isaac who lives far away in Ohio. No one at school knows about Isaac. No one at school even knows Naperwill is gay. Secrets have a huge effect on Naperwill's life.

I can't really say much else without giving away the story. Having been a theatre geek in high school and a theatre major in college, I've gotten to know the world where gay meets straight pretty well. Most of the teen books I've read with gay characters overuse stereotypes. This book does an excellent job of treating characters as people--not gay people or straight people--just people. The world is finally changing a little bit. Now you can see that change in our fiction.

Check out this new teen novel when it comes out in April 2010.

As a side note, I got the ARC for this book from John Green on my birthday. It was the first copy of the book he had ever signed. :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Dexter by Design Review

Dexter, Dexter, Dexter. Where in the world did your character run off to in this book? For the fourth book in a successful series, I was expecting more of the usual for Dexter. I was not expecting the main character to question everything he did or miss key details that are thrown in. Jeff Lindsay gives Dexter his usual social awkwardness but seems to have taken away most of his common sense.
Dexter is usually so methodical in the research of his victims. In Dexter by Design, Lindsay has him killing on impulse. Dexter doesn't do that. Lindsay has him killing a murder suspect in an open and fresh case. Dexter doesn't do that.

I think that the Showtime series has effected Lindsay's work. I like that the show and book series are different and the same all at once. It gives the story more options. Some people die in the show that don't in the books and vice versa. The plots of the books seem to be running parallel with the plots in the different seasons. The first season of the show was obviously based on the first book, and rightfully so. (Without the book, there would be no show after all.) The second season and the second & third book's main themes meshed together. The third season of the show came out before the fourth book. The fourth book had a lot of the same story elements as the third season of the show. Is Lindsay trying to give the story over to Showtime's writers?

For now I await the fifth book to see if Lindsay has the courage to take back his characters and see where they end up--with or without the studio's influence.