Marsha Canham's Blog

June 18, 2012

I wonder if Joan Brady and Jody Picoult buy the same brand of koolaid.

Filed under: Caesars Through the Fence — marshacanham @ 4:56 pm

Okay, so I couldn’t resist. I wasn’t going to blog about this, but WTF, I quit smoking, that’s already one trauma this year to strain my willpower.

I’ve quoted  , Consumer Affairs Editor of the Telegraph, from his column today.

If you haven’t read the full  article I posted on my Facebook page, let me highlight a few pointers here.

Joan Brady, who won the literary prize in 1993 for Theory of War, a novel about a young boy sold into white slavery in post-Civil War America, said that paper books will never disappear because people use them to “confirm their social identity” and want to be seen carrying them.

Meanwhile lowbrow “pulp” such as “celebrity biographies, Mills & Boon and porn” will “disappear into e-books”, she said.

Ms Brady said that although e-books are convenient for holidays, they lack the social importance of real books because they can not be displayed, lent to friends or passed on as a collection when their owner dies.

She said that once an e-book has been bought, it is “more worthless than used toilet paper, which can at least end up as compost”.

Ms Brady said that e-books can not be conversational “ice-breakers” in the way that real books are.

“People look at your [real] books and say ‘I see you have the new Costa winner. What do you think of it?’ You can’t do that with an e-book.

“Well, I suppose you could pick the gadget up, turn it on and file through the home page, but that’s really like poking into your host’s bathroom cupboard. Suppose you found dirty pictures there? Porn is already sold in plain wrappers, just like the e-books you read on the Tube,” she said.

And this is my favorite part, someone please whip out the Irony Knife….

The author, whose new novel The Blue Death is released in both e-book and physical versions, said that the threat posed to real books by digital ones will keep traditional publishers on their toes.

So…does that mean, because she is having her next book released as an ebook, that she’s calling her own book low-brow porn? That it should be sold in a plain wrapper, no cover art at all? That it should be kept in the bathroom? That  no one will discuss it or use it as an ice-breaker in conversation? That it lacks social importance? And that it denies her “social identity?”

Who the F* does Joan Brady think she is? I think, on occasion, I shake my head at the stupidity of some of the articles and quotes and comments I see in blogs and newspapers and on some chat boards. But this one takes a huge chunk of the cake.  I am actually left pretty speechless, so no need to worry about the f-bomb falling into every other sentence. Just the big huge Irony Knife.


And in case you missed the Jody Picoult reference, my blog on that is here



  1. I’m personally offended when authors come out with nonsense suggesting that just because I read on a kindle somehow my IQ has plummeted and will emerge somewhere around Sumatra, if ever. Does this author actually suppose that those pretentious enough to be seen lugging her latest magnum opus around are somehow more intellectually capable than us poor plebs unfortunate enough to have to read on the Tube/Metro/other forms of public transportation?

    Well, maybe they are, but my $$s are worth just as much as the next reader’s, and I read a lot more books (ebooks, paperbacks, high-brow, leather-bound special editions.. whatever) than most, and also read more widely across more genres than most (including what she calls “porn”, which, if I’m not mistaken is actually defined as a visual depiction of sexual activity, but I won’t split hairs), so I guess I’m a pretty valuable customer to those authors who don’t have a sofa stuck up their $!*@es.

    OK. Rant over. Don’t think I’ll be buying any of this author’s latest and greatest efforts though.

    Comment by Ruth — June 18, 2012 @ 5:09 pm | Reply

  2. Close minded drivel. Do these authors feel threatened? If so, they shouldn’t be. The market has just developed a different, and I’d argue better, delivery system for great stories. These traditionally pubbed authors need to take a breath and actually read some of what the e-universe has to offer. Maybe then they’d embrace the freedom e-authors have and let go of the hate. But hey, I write romantic fiction. What do I know?

    Comment by leighmorgan1 — June 18, 2012 @ 5:11 pm | Reply

  3. I couldn’t finish reading it. I was laughing too hard. How can anyone be that clueless to the fact that they’re an idiot? Love the part about how books aren’t meant to be read. They’re meant to sit on the shelf to impress people as affirmations of our social status. I guess this moron needs all the help she can get impressing others, ’cause she sure ain’t doing it with her brilliance. Hilarious. And the typo in the headline was the icing on the cake.

    Comment by Julie Ortolon — June 18, 2012 @ 6:09 pm | Reply

  4. Regardless of how you actually feel about e-books, why would you go out and blast your opinion about anything like that? She’s basically just shot herself in the foot. The romance world is not that big. I have a feeling this will follow her for a long time.
    And I love that she’s putting out porn as well.

    Comment by JM Madden — June 18, 2012 @ 6:31 pm | Reply

  5. If the only thing she has in her life to impress people is her paper book collection, we should feel pity, not annoyance :).

    Comment by Jody W. & Meankitty — June 18, 2012 @ 6:32 pm | Reply

  6. I did not like her comments about people toting around books to impress other people. That just seemed stupid. I carry books or my kindle to…I don’t know…maybe read it/them. Alot of conversations are started these days about types of e-reader. Oh What do you have? Do you like it? etc.

    Comment by Juliet — June 18, 2012 @ 7:03 pm | Reply

  7. This stuff so hacks me off that I can’t keep my mouth shut, apparently, since I just responded to your comments on your regular FB page. But I do have one final comment regarding the aspersions cast on any “anonymity” associated with Kindles, Nooks, and other e-readers. Long ago and far away, print publishers chose to categorize fiction; and somewhere along the line, determined that “romance” should be a category or a genre, as it were. Then they began somewhat “sensationalizing” these books with suggestive covers and titillating teasers and “come on” lines to appeal to a certain audience. In the doing of this, they almost immediately eliminated a portion of their audience or potential audience, but they didn’t seem to care. While a number of men of my acquaintance have read a couple of Marsha’s book and thoroughly enjoyed them, they rarely read them all, and they’d likely never be seen walking around with them at the beach, for example. What a shame for a group of books to be cast in a manner that discourages readers, and how shameful that judgmental types out there make false assumptions about folks based upon “what” they are reading. As an educator, I can tell you that we live in a world where encouraging people to READ is a virtue and discouragement of same is just mean, petty, and ignorant.

    Fast forward now to the e-pub/e-reader era wherein folks can choose to read any damned thing that strikes their fancy without having their femininity or masculinity or taste or choices maligned…and we find a whole new world opening up for for readers and authors. My husband would question the categorization of Marsha’s books solely as “romance.” He thinks they are fine fiction with absorbing plots and characters and action during which…OMG…ROMANCE ensues. He and his friends are now having arguments over which of her series is their favorite. All because of their Kindles, in my opinion, and the FREEDOM it offers them AND ME to read any damned thing they/we please. OK; I’ll try to calm down and shut up now. LOL

    Comment by SurferGirl — June 18, 2012 @ 7:16 pm | Reply

    • LOL hell no, keep going. I agree with everything you said and wish I’d said it first. *g*

      Comment by marshacanham — June 18, 2012 @ 7:21 pm | Reply

  8. The woman is undoubtedly off her medication….or smoking something that has constipated her thought process. It was laughable.

    Comment by Linda from Susanville, CA — June 19, 2012 @ 6:28 am | Reply

  9. I’m with SurferGirl! That…….and I have always hated the books I read in public being conversation starters. If I’m reading a book, I don’t want to be bothered by a conversation. I want to read it. I never understood what motivated people to interrupt my reading to ask about what I’m reading, yet it always happened…..until I got my Kindle. Now, everyone leaves me alone and lets me do what I always wanted to do: read in peace!

    Comment by Mel — June 19, 2012 @ 4:30 pm | Reply

    • I’m with you, Mel; although, as Juliet pointed out above, the e-reader itself often is the instigator of conversation these days. LOL

      Comment by SurferGirl — June 19, 2012 @ 10:00 pm | Reply

      • Crazy enough – I’ve never had anyone approach me to discuss my kindle like they did with my books. Maybe I’ve just perfected the “buggar off” look??? 🙂

        Comment by Mel — June 20, 2012 @ 7:51 pm

  10. “paper books will never disappear ..[because ebooks suck for readers.. yadda yadda…]”

    “…the *threat posed to real books by digital ones* will keep traditional publishers on their toes.”

    If ebooks are so unattractive to readers, why are they a threat to “real” books, necessitating publishers to be on guard against them?

    Sheesh – koolaid is right, and she’s not only imbibed, but is trying to convince us it’s tasty-goood. ;p Or she has stock in a BPH.

    You go, Marsha. 🙂

    Comment by Vesper — June 19, 2012 @ 11:08 pm | Reply

  11. Ha! I’ve been reading for a long time. I have a … rather large number of books. It’s very, very rare for someone to visit and pick up a book from my shelves and say anything at all. My nephew and my mother sorted through the shelves looking for something interesting to read. I don’t even know what the Costa winner/award is. I’m pretty sure my guests (lowbrow that we are) have no idea either.

    Comment by Maria — June 24, 2012 @ 12:54 am | Reply

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