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TT #9: It's All Your Fault, Cassie Edwards

30 Jan 2008

Ever since the Cassie Edwards plagiarism scandal broke, I’ve been a little disillusioned by the romance genre because of the readers and authors who came out and defended her. (Okay, so maybe it’s not entirely Edwards’s fault.) Anyway, I’ve been too disheartened to pick up a romance novel in the last two weeks. Instead, I’ve been re-reading original old favorites and comfort reads.

And since I’m slowly running out of reading material, please feel free to make suggestions.

13 Non-romance Comfort Reads

Number 1
Gregory Maguire’s Wicked. An enchanting and enthralling retelling of The Wizard of Oz from the point-of-view of the Wicked Witch of the West. Since I found Dorothy and her band of misfits annoying as hell, I loved this book and its take on the nature of good and evil. A+

Number 2
Neil Gaiman’s The Eternals. I guess I’m an oddball because I love this six-issue comic book series more than The Sandman. Gaiman moves the series away from creator Jack Kirby’s Olympian God-like feel and explores the question of identity and humanity and the downside of immortality. Yes, I like my heroes flawed and human, even when they’re not. A-

Number 3
Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. It’s Frank Miller and it’s Batman. You want more? Well, this book pretty much reset the tone for Batman, moving the franchise away from the campy Adam West days to the dark and flawed and multi-layered anti-hero who seduced me back into comics. A

Number 4
Philip K. Dick’s Blade Runner. Is it just me, or does anyone else think Rick Deckard was an android? He couldn’t keep a live animal and, near the end, Gaff said to him: “You’ve done a man’s job, sir.” B+

Number 5
Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis. There is an absurdist quality to Kafka’s work, especially in this novella, that really appeals to me. B+

Number 6
Mike Mignola’s Hellboy series. Creepy atmosphere, the ultimate anti-hero (c’mon, he’s horned, cloven-huffed, and red) detective with a killer dry wit, and twisting story lines. And the artwork is so richly detailed and colored I sometimes feel the need to caress the pages. (Don’t worry. I usually do that in private.) A

Number 7
Tami Hoag. Dark Horse, Ashes to Ashes, Alibi Man…pretty much everything but her early category romance stuff. With sharp and taut storytelling, this crime writer is a master at sordid, twisting tales that stick with me long after I’ve read the final word. B+ to A-

Number 8
Jeph Loeb (writer) and Jim Lee’s (artist) Hush. Batman beats up Superman. Need I say more? B+ (I wasn’t entirely happy with how obvious the villain was.)

Number 9
Jodi Picoult’s Wonder Woman: Love & Murder. There’s only mild action, there’s double-D breasts threatening to pop buttons, but there’s also Diana Prince a.k.a. Wonder Woman playing the role of fish out of water. Picoult’s attempt and deliberate failure to humanize the Amazon Princess shows her strength is with prose and not comics, but it’s worth re-reading. B-

Number 10
Madame d’Aulnoy’s L’Oiseau Bleu (The Blue Bird). With blood (it really is a little gory for a ten-year-old), betrayal, separation, this story is not the typical Disneyfied fairy tale–and I love it. There’s an HEA, but these characters must suffer to earn it. A-

Number 11
Albert Camus’s L’Étranger (The Stranger). I can’t put my feelings for this novel into words; I just know it doesn’t let my mind rest. A-

Number 12
Alexandre Dumas’s Le Comte de Monte-Cristo (The Count of Monte Cristo). I re-read this novel more to brush up on my French than anything else but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying the elaborate period revenge tale. B+

Number 13
Daniel Pennac’s La Petite marchande de prose (Write To Kill). I picked up this book while wandering aimlessly around Europe and after the first chapter, I was hooked. Crime fiction with a tongue-in-cheek tone, fast pacing, and absurdist humor interwoven with fairy tale elements. An excellent way to kill time on a train. A-

16 Comments leave one →
  1. 30 Jan 2008 6:28 PM

    I’m with you on No. 5. There should be a special place in heaven for Kafka readers where the lights are low and everyone treads softly!

  2. 30 Jan 2008 6:42 PM

    I have not read one of them!! Have a wonderful day! Enjoy your reading!

  3. 30 Jan 2008 6:43 PM

    Love the Count and everything by Hoag!

    Happy TT!

    Thirteen of my favorite Romantic Movies

  4. 30 Jan 2008 6:50 PM

    I haven’t read a one of these, although some sound very interesting. Have a great TT. 🙂

  5. 30 Jan 2008 8:24 PM

    I don’t think I’ve read any of these.


  6. 30 Jan 2008 10:05 PM

    We had to read L’Étranger at school, in the original French, and I think that is why I have been put off reading it again in English. I know that everyone who reads it attests to the power of the story, so maybe I should give it a try.

  7. 30 Jan 2008 10:35 PM

    Nicholas – I read L’Étranger in the original French also, and I think that’s why I love it. I tried reading it in English and I couldn’t get past the first chapter. Funny, eh?

  8. 30 Jan 2008 11:51 PM

    I hadn’t heard of the Cassie Edwards thing. How awful. Why would someone do this? Why?

    I’ve read most of these. Thank you for reminding us of some wonderful books! Yay!!

    Happy TT

  9. 31 Jan 2008 1:03 AM

    I’m actually reading ‘Le Comte de Monte Cristo’ right now – primarily just to be reading something in French, but it really is a great story…& one can never go wrong with anything by Camus – he’s one of my all-time favorites.

    Oh, & I’m positive that Deckard wasn’t human. 🙂

  10. 31 Jan 2008 4:13 AM

    I read ‘The Tenth Circle’ by Jodi Picoult recently. A little disappointing, I guessed ‘whodunnit ‘ half way through the book!

    Currently finishing ‘The Kite Runner’ and looking forward to his next one….

    Come over and take a look at my ‘To Read’ page!

  11. 31 Jan 2008 4:19 AM

    I don’t read romance novels generally, so I can’t give you any advice on this one!

    I posted my first Thursday Thirteen post here.

  12. 31 Jan 2008 9:34 AM

    Great list…I only read a few romances a year myself so while the whole scandal upset me, it was more because it gave a bad name to authors.

    ~ The Mama Bear

  13. 31 Jan 2008 4:08 PM

    Read on !!!!

  14. 31 Jan 2008 10:06 PM

    Sandy Carlson – That sounds heavenly (pun not intended).

    Claudia – Plagiarists are lazy and CE never thought she would get caught.

    Rasmenia – Thank you! Everyone else I mentioned that too thought I was over-analyzing BLADE RUNNER.

    Miss Lionheart – Your TBR list makes me feel like a philistine. Happy reading!

    One Luv Girl – Welcome to TT! You’ll like it here.

  15. Christina permalink
    6 Feb 2008 3:47 AM

    Whether Cassie plegarized or not nobody knows for sure, because the investigation is still underway. You should not be so quick to cast the first stone. As I am sure that all of you have made mistakes in your life. The key word there being “mistake”. Whether you read or don’t read a certain kind of book is because you made a choice, therefore do not try blaming your choices on someone else. No one has the right to blame anyone for their own choices they are your so own up to them. Also you should not convict someone of a crime that you do not know whether or not they have committed. In my opinion Cassie Edwards was, is, and forever will be a fantastic writer. I will continue to read her books, and enjoy every word in them. Even if she is found guilty remember she not God, nor are you so should we look down on you for your mistakes. Or do you think you are Holier than thou.

  16. 6 Feb 2008 7:14 AM

    Christina — Evidence is pretty damning and even John M. Barrie, a plagiarism expert, said she lifted those passages.

    And yup, I have made mistakes, but I learn from them. Looks like Edwards did not learn from hers because she repeated it over and over and over again.

    And I don’t know what you’re trying to say with the choices I make with reading. Perhaps you can clarify your point. What am I supposed to own up to? Huh? Do you understand the purpose of this post?

    And if you like her writing, that’s your prerogative. I’m not dictating whether or not people should like her writing. But if you like her writing, you also enjoy the writing of these authors.

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