Thursday, October 29, 2009

What's spookier than a ghostwriter?

I just spent $65 on the world’s ugliest Batman costume. It must be Halloween.

To celebrate the season, AbeBooks has compiled a list of the top 10 ghostwritten books.

The list had a few surprises for me. Maybe I’m naïve but I didn’t realize H.P. Lovecraft ghosted for Houdini or Larry McMurtry started his career as a ghostwriter. So did Nobel laureate Sinclair Lewis. Jack Vance and Theodore Sturgeon contributed to the Ellery Queen series. Katherine Anne Porter and James Ramsey Ullman also appear on the list (as writers, not as pseudonyms.)

Additionally, I didn’t realize Carolyn Keene was a pseudonym, and the Nancy Drew books were written by a series of writers based upon a strict formula. (I feel a little better, because my mother didn’t know that either and she used to read them.)

One last note: Slate announced the winner of their Significant Objects contest and it wasn’t any of us. Apparently, when writers see a barbecue jar they think of sex, death and history.

No shock. Everything reminds writers of sex, death and history.

Jason Lea

P.S. No, the Batman costume is not for trick-or-treating. Friends of mine are having a costume wedding on Halloween.

But if I’m going to spend $65 on something, I better wear it more than once. So don’t be surprised if Batman shows up at your house fire or crime scene. Sadly, he won’t be there to save you. He only wants to ask a few questions.

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