Monday, 17 September 2012

Cosy or Cozy crime?

Is the notion of specific genres beginning to blur at the edges? For example, crime writing seems to offer so many possibilities these days and a number of books I've read lately seem to build on a mix of at least two kinds.
Readers appear to be divided on this. Some relish the cross genre plots( scifi and crime provide a particulary interesting combination), while others are more than a little upset if the book they have chosen doesn't keep to the advertised genre.
Yet in the end all novels deal with human emotions: no one life is curtailed by a single set of actions. Criminals and spies can have romance, lovers can be involved in crime (even murder), historical novels provide a fertile ground for crime, passion and intrigue at the highest levels and even in the future surely the human race will continue to suffer and enjoy the same passions as we do.
Perhaps there is an issue about the balance in novels. In a crime novel, readers don't want the bulk of the action to focus on romance: in romance readers won't be happy if the lovers seldom meet because the hero spends most of the time pursuing criminals.
I write cosy (or, as it's called in the U.S., cozy) crime set on the island of Bute where the emphasis is on the mystery and have learned it's very important readers of crime novels know what to expect. There's an excellent description on the website of an American blogger, Danna, ( and I've found the guidance there a great help.
As a reader I find the huge choice available to be one of the best aspects of the 'publishing revolution.'
In the end it probably all comes down to a good story and engaging characters, no matter what the genre!

                      Last days of summer on the isle of Bute

Monday, 3 September 2012

Books,books everywhere...

If I was following this take on Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem, it should read 'Books, books everywhere, nor any one to read...' but that's far from the case.
I have to reach a decision soon about what to do with the many books crammed in to every available space in the house: teetering bookcases, boxes in cupboards, on the shelves in the airing cupboard, on top of wardrobes.
Part of the problem is that when Iwas growing up, books were something of a luxury and, once acquired, were to be loved and cherished for ever.
Now, though I really enjoy having a Kindle, it's not quite the same as having something you can touch, can smell, can flick through. It's a bit like the difference between a love affair and a marriage : which are worth reading, keeping for a while and then discarding and which are those you want to keep forever?
Least you think this blog is a way of procrastinating about this yet again, be assured serious attempts have already been made. But am I the right person to decide? Who needs a copy of Advanced Accounts (published 1926) or Pelmanism (whatever that might be) in six volumes. Then there's that encyclopedia set (no longer needed with the internet easily available).
How did these books get on to my shelves? Do they breed in the night?Surely they can go? But wait a minute...1926 was just before the Big Crash - perhaps there's some historical value here? And Pelmanisim might be the way to solve any future problems, if only there was time to investigate.
And so it goes on. I'd love to be as disciplined as a friend who works on the principle of one in,one out, but alas that is not what happens.
Has anyone any suggestions?
In the meantime I'm off to Ikea to buy some more bookcases.