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Friday News: Rowling to pen Hogwart’s screenplay; Holy Crap method of...

“Although it will be set in the worldwide community of witches and wizards where I was so happy for 17 years, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is neither a prequel nor a sequel to the Harry Potter series, but an extension of the wizarding world,” said Rowling, in a statement.  “The laws and customs of the hidden magical society will be familiar to anyone who has read the Harry Potter books or seen the films, but Newt’s story will start in New York, 70 years before Harry’s gets underway.” Inside Movies |

It’s interesting because I actually see a lot of indie authors writing these types of books from Heat by RL Smith (aliens coming down and harvesting dopamine from humans) to teacher student love in which the teacher isn’t portrayed as a predator but a loving alpha male being the right parental figure for a virginal 17 year old in and out bed to the priest turned truck driver rapist to the depressed wife who has a great and loving husband but decides to cheat on him with a younger man. Those books seem like HOLY CRAP books to me. Certainly Elite by Rachel Van Dyken with her tiny college owned by a mafia don full of uniformed students and bells falls under the HOLY CRAP standard. Is that the standard we should use to pick for reviewing? CHRISTOPHER R. BEHA

Mark Twain pondering at desk

“I haven’t any right to criticize books, and I don’t do it except when I hate them. I often want to criticize Jane Austen, but her books madden me so that I can’t conceal my frenzy from the reader; and therefore I have to stop every time I begin. Every time I read Pride and Prejudice I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone.”

Not every book is for every reader. Azevedo’s Reviews

I’ll leave you with this video. It’s not Porn. It’s HBO.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Christine M.
    Sep 13, 2013 @ 06:58:11

    That video totally cracked me up! And apparently YouTube users aren’t happy with it and downvoted it so much that YouTube asked me to actually confirm I wanted to watch it.

  2. Amanda
    Sep 13, 2013 @ 08:06:25

    I am happy Rowling is doing something from the wizarding world but I wish it was first a book and than a movie.

  3. SAO
    Sep 13, 2013 @ 08:12:29

    That Twain quote is amazing for saying nothing. Why does he hate Jane Austen? We have no clue, no critique.

  4. Moriah Jovan
    Sep 13, 2013 @ 09:03:57

    @SAO: Twain was a professional snark-wielder and authors taking potshots at each other in that era was a spectator sport. The point was not the critique, it was the snark.

  5. Sarah
    Sep 13, 2013 @ 10:21:31

    It was a book first. J.K. Rowling wrote that book and Quidditch through the ages in 2001 and donated all the profits to charity.

  6. Amanda
    Sep 13, 2013 @ 10:50:03


    I had not realized this, thanks for clearing that up.

  7. Divya
    Sep 13, 2013 @ 11:26:27

    While Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was a book at first, it was very much a textbook with information on all magical creatures. The screenplay Rowling is writing is about the adventures of Newt Scamander in the 1930sish (the author of book and Luna’s grandfather-in-law), probably while encountering all these fantastic beasts. So I wouldn’t really consider that Rowling is making a movie out of the book as the screenplay is completely original content that is not present in the book.

  8. Sofia Harper
    Sep 13, 2013 @ 12:32:16

    Dig her up and beat her with her shin-bone? That’s epically funny to me. If Mark Twain was alive now he’d review with hilarious .gifs.

  9. Alanis
    Sep 13, 2013 @ 14:03:48

    I’d like the titles of those challenging books that are described. Some of the descriptions really appeal to me.

  10. lawless
    Sep 13, 2013 @ 15:21:50

    Beha is suggesting that the Times Book Review only review books he considers interesting and important (and therefore likely to result in interesting reviews) because they are sui generis, impossible to categorize, or otherwise straddle genres — genre busters and books that create a new genre — and calls them Holy Crap books. He is not categorizing books as Holy Crap books based on how outre their plots are. And since many of the reasons for his position have to do with the existence of other outlets for reviews of other types of books, his piece can’t reasonably be characterized as applicable to book reviews in general, and certainly not to book reviews at a site like Dear Author.

    I disagree with him in a lot of ways, one of which is that some genre fiction deserves to be covered in the TBR, even if only in capsule form, and another of which is that the best, most compelling, and most popular literary fiction deserves to be reviewed in full as well even if it’s not revolutionary, but I don’t disagree that the genre busters deserve a large portion, and maybe even a majority, of the coverage.

  11. Janine
    Sep 13, 2013 @ 16:18:37

    @SAO: Here’s more on Austen from Mark Twain. He disliked both her characters and her prose.

  12. cleo
    Sep 13, 2013 @ 17:13:50

    @lawless: I agree with your interpretation of the Beha piece. Since I don’t read the Times Book Review, I don’t feel much (any?) emotional stake in who gets reviewed there, but it was interesting to read an attempt to take the emotion and name calling out of the discussion.

    I did agree with the idea that genre bending books are interesting ones to review and to talk about (whether they’re good, bad or ugly). I immediately thought of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz – probably one of the most genre bending books I’ve read and one that I had a personal Holy Crap reaction to. I think Meljean Brook’s The Iron Duke would fit his criteria too, although I have a harder time imagining that being reviewed by the TBR (but what do I know, I don’t actually read it).

  13. Mag
    Sep 13, 2013 @ 19:17:55

    @TBR – who can define a “holy crap” book? That’s like saying they are going to review only “quality” books. One person’s holy crap is another person’s par for the course.
    By the way, the R.L.Smith’s book Heat is a cracktastic read. If you like “out there” stories, this is for you.
    @ Mark Twain: While saying he would dig her up and beat her … was pretty darn funny, if Jane Austin was so irritating it him he ought not to try to keep trying read her books. An easy enough fix.

  14. Tiffany
    Sep 13, 2013 @ 23:33:20

    Anyone know the titles of the Holy Crap books that are mentioned between Heat and Elite?

  15. hapax
    Sep 14, 2013 @ 09:50:41

    FWIW, the NYTimes interview with Richard Dawkins reveals that he agrees with Twain’s dismissal of Austen: “I can’t get excited about who is going to marry whom, and how rich they are.”

    On the other hand, Dawkins seems to only like books written by white men, and hasn’t much use for fiction — “Why should we prefer our literature to be about things that didn’t happen?” — particularly “slack-jawed fantasy where the writer dreams heedlessly away without respecting the decent constraints of science.”


    So I probably won’t be turning to him for book recommendations any time soon.

  16. lawless
    Sep 14, 2013 @ 12:42:06

    @Mag – Genre-bending or busting Holy Crap books should be easy to spot if one has the time to actually read them. Holy Crap books as defined by plot elements would be harder to spot because their level of Holy Crapness depends on one’s perspective.

    @hapax – Same here. Twain has his place in literature (though I’ve only read The Prince and the Pauper and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, not Tom Sawyer or Huck Finn), but he doesn’t wield the wicked scalpel of observation and irony Austen did, nor did he (in my limited reading of him) bring his characters to vivid life through their thoughts, actions, and speech in as few words as she did. His disdain for her, however, found an echo in a (male, of course) friend of mine, who considered her books parochial.

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