Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Danielle Steel is lying to herself

1. Entertainment Weekly compiled something called “The New Classics.”

They listed the best 100 books from 1983 to 2008. (They published it in June, and I didn’t notice until Tuesday. Some reporter, right?)

Lists like this are subjective and only exist to so we can argue about them. (OK, they also allow us to smile smugly when somebody has read fewer of them than us.) But the list summarizes the last 25 years well. Cormac McCarthy, John Updike, J.K. Rowling, David Eggers, Louis Sachar, H.G. Bissinger, Margaret Atwood, Junot Díaz and Gabriel García Márquez all appear.

They even coerced Neil Gaiman to list his 10 favorite modern monsters (Swamp Thing, number one, not shocked) and Elizabeth Gilbert to name her 10 favorite short stories since 1983. (Díaz makes an appearance on her list, too.)

2. Apparently, Danielle Steel doesn’t write romances. Don’t tell my mother-in-law. She will be disappointed.

“I really write more about the human condition,” Steel told CBS News.

No, you write romances. It’s OK. There’s nothing wrong with that. A lot of people like your romances. You make millions of dollars from them. Just come out and say it.

At least she didn’t compare herself to Hemingway.

3. Mick Foley — my third favorite professional wrestler as a child; yes, I had a list — has written his fourth memoir. As Foley notes, that means he has one more than Winston Churchill.

I like Foley. Not just as a wrestler or a person, I think he’s a good author. Not “a good author for a guy who competes in barbwire matches” but a genuinely good writer. He has the ease of a natural storyteller, and that ease only comes from a lot of hard work.

If you don’t believe me, read this excerpt where Foley describes the impact Tori Amos had on his life.

4. ?uestlove, The Roots drummer and musical wunderkind, is also writing a book. Grand Central Publishing (the same publisher as Mick Foley) has not given a release date, so I’m not sure if you’ll have time to buy me Mommy, What’s a ?uestlove? for my birthday.

-Jason Lea,

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