Archive - April 2017

1
6 American Satirical Novels
2
10 Farcical Religious Books
3
Books and Publishing (Part 2)
4
Global Reading Habits

6 American Satirical Novels

As followers of this blog are aware I am an avid fan of satire. My second novel, Necropolis, is a satire about a sociopath who works for the burials and cemeteries department in his local council. I plan to release further satirical works in the not too distant future.  In addition to my writing I have read numerous satires and devoted many blog posts to the subject.

This week’s post is dedicated to 6 satirical novels by 6 American authors. They are presented in the order in which they were published. Click on the links to read my reviews.

 

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (1884)

Huckleberry Finn

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a satire of American southern antebellum society that parodies religion, morality, literature and above all the practice of slavery.

My Review: 13-year-old Huckleberry Finn is living in Missouri with a widow who plans to ‘sivilize’ him. That is until his alcoholic father relocates him to an isolated cabin in the woods. Huck fakes his own death and escapes…(more)

Subjects Satirised: Slavery & numerous others

 

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (1961)

Catch-22

Based on Heller’s own experiences as a bombardier in WWII, this best-selling, satirical, anti-war novel, took its American author eight years to write.

My Review: Set on the Mediterranean island of Pianosa during WWII, Catch-22 is about the exploits of the fictitious 256th Squadron. We follow protagonist Yossarian and his comrades’ farcical attempts…(more)

Subject Satirised: War

 

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (1969)

Slaughterhouse 5

Slaughterhouse-Five’s anti-war rhetoric has resulted in it being banned from numerous US schools and libraries. This satirical story is about a survivor of the notorious firebombing of Dresden.

My Review: Narrated in a non-linear order, the story follows protagonist Billy Pilgrim’s journey through life. A married optometrist with two children, Billy is a veteran of World War II, and a survivor of the notorious…(more)

Subject Satirised: War

 

Glamorama by Bret Easton Ellis (1998)

Glamorama adeptly captures the hedonism of 1990s New York. In typical Ellis fashion the text is punctuated with numerous pop-culture references, sporadic descriptions of violence and graphic sexual encounters.

My Review: Victor Ward aka Victor Johnson is a male model living in 1990s Manhattan. Victor is a vapid, soulless character, obsessed with celebrity culture, who lives an existence that revolves around social connections and…(more)

Subject Satirised: 1990s

 

Choke by Chuck Palahniuk (2001)

This nihilistic novel is about our innate craving for attention and the fundamental nature of addiction. Its protagonist has a penchant for purposely choking on food at expensive restaurants.

My Review: The protagonist, Victor Mancini, is a sex addict employed at an eighteenth-century historical re-enactment park.  Victor attends various sexual addiction support groups, where he meets many…(more)

Subjects Satirised: Addiction treatments & contemporary society

 

I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe (2004)

I Am Charlotte Simmons is a humorous satire about campus life. Themes include materialism, social class, race and America’s obsession with college sport.

My Review: Appalachian wunderkind Charlotte Simmons has been awarded a scholarship to Dupont, an elite fictional university, steeped in tradition. Living amongst the cream of America’s youth is…(more)

Subjects Satirised: Campus life & numerous others

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10 Farcical Religious Books

This week sees the third and most likely final instalment in my bizarre religious books series. Here are 10 religious-themed books. I have added pithy/fictitious comments below each.

 

Behold Now Behemoth: Dinosaurs All Over the Bible!

I can only assume the author is confusing The Bible with Jurassic Park.

 

A Potato That Wasn’t A Christian

So what if a potato wasn’t a Christian. Potatoes are tasty regardless of their religion, unless they are Sikh. There are few things less appetising than a roasted turban.

 

Born-Again Virgin

To be a born-again virgin follow these simple steps.

Step one: Get a needle and thread.

 

Liar, Liar, Mullet On Fire: Extinguishing Lies We Believe with God’s Truth

No prizes for guessing who the target readership of this book is.

 

If God Loves Me Why Can’t I Get My Locker Open

Because you forgot the key.

 

The Homosexual god and The Children of Satan

There is one sure way to make your book invisible on online book retailers. Make the cover completely black.

 

It’s a sin to be fat 

Is it still a sin if the fatness is not a result of gluttony or sloth, but an under-active thyroid? I guess I will have to read the book to find out.

 

Great Dinosaur Mystery and the Bible  

Not those pesky dinosaurs again.

 

When Catholics Die: Eternal Life or Eternal Damnation? 

Eternal life unless they write books with tasteless, purple front covers.

 

BIRTH CONTROL IS SINFUL IN THE CHRISTIAN MARRIAGES and Also ROBBING GOD OF PRIESTHOOD CHILDREN!! 

Amen!

 

If you enjoyed this post you might like my satirical black comedy, Necropolis.

Click here to claim your FREE copy.

A Black Comedy of True Distinction

 

 

 

Books and Publishing (Part 2)

Last week’s post was about global reading habits. This week sees the second instalment. Here are some interesting facts about global reading habits and the publishing industry in general. Click on the links to discover more.

According to Bowker and book industry data, as of September 2016, there were 134,021,533 unique books in the world. I am sure you will all agree that is a lot of books.

As we are all aware the number of self-published works has risen dramatically in recent years. But the figures are astounding. In 2015 alone, 727,125 ISBNs were applied to self-published works (print & digital books).

With regards to which country publishes the most books, I was under the impression it was America, but I was mistaken. China publishes the most. 440,000 as of 2013.

A few days ago I was emailed this infographic by one of its creators. It gives estimates as to how long it takes to read some of the world’s best-known books. Perhaps the readers they surveyed were Germans (world’s fastest readers). It certainly took a lot longer for me to read Brave New World (63,766 words) than the 3.54 hours estimated. I would be interested to hear from anyone who read Anna Karenina (349,736 words) in 19.43 hours.

This article from The Guardian claims that books are getting longer. It cites a survey purporting that the average book length increased by 25% between 2000 and 2015.

As for what format people are reading, in America at least print continues to be dominant. This Pew Research Center survey claims that 65% of Americans read a print book in 2015 whilst 28% read an e-book.

The most popular genres of all time according to this source (does not include non-fiction) is Children’s Fiction. As for the best-selling children’s books of all time, it is The Harry Potter Series (>450m).

I have written at length on this blog about the plethora of new book genres. Here is a link to some more of the stranger ones out there, including Cli-Fi, a spin-off of eco-fiction that consists of writing addressing climate change. And Cashier Memoir —true-life tales from behind the cash register.

Happy Easter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Global Reading Habits

Have you ever found yourself wondering about global literacy rates & reading habits. If so you might find this week’s post interesting. Click on the links to discover more.

The most literate nation in the World is: Finland —  according to British newspaper, The Guardian.

But when it comes to reading assessment results Singapore comes out as number one.

The World’s least literate nation is South Sudan (literacy rate: 27%) — Grinding poverty and fleeing Janjaweed militias is evidently not conducive to reading.

Who are the World’s most prolific readers?

India — 10 hours, 42 minutes
Thailand — 9:24
China — 8:00
Philippines — 7:36

The USA comes in at number 22 (5:42) one place above my own nation the UK (5:18). Click here to view the survey.

As for the types of books being purchased globally:

Paperbacks: 45%
Hardbound: 27%
Ebooks: 22%
Audio: 2%

(Above figures were taken from this adweek survey)

According to the same survey 43% of books globally were purchased at E-commerce retailers.

We hear a lot about America’s eating habits, but what about their reading habits:

In 2015 77% of American women read a book, compared with 67% of American males.

The top grossing genre in the United States is Romance ($1.44 billion approx.)

As for the United Kingdom’s Reading Habits:

According to this YouGov survey, the average number of books read for pleasure by adults in the UK is approximately 10 per year. The median is 4.

Proportionately no country has more writers than Iceland — 1 in 10 Icelanders will publish a book during their lifetime according to this BBC report.

And the country with the most libraries:

China has 51311 libraries — great news for Chinese library goers unless they are looking for books about Tibet or the Dalai Lama.

As for the most bookstores:

In first place is Hong Kong with 21 bookstores per 100,000 people. Second place goes to Taipei with 17.6.

The World’s fastest readers are according to this survey the Germans (as of 2014). Yes, the Germans are even efficient at reading.

Did you know that the top 6 book markets are the USA, China, Germany, Japan, France & the UK. They account for over 60% of global spending on books.

 

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