Tag Archives: Washington Post

More Thoughts on ‘Parents’ Worst Nightmare Books’

I read this post by Tracy Grant on The Washington Post‘s Momspeak blog yesterday about bestselling books that mirror some of the ‘what-if’ fears that parents often have. It reminded me of the post I wrote last month about “parents’ worst nightmare books” that cover themes that scare the hell out of parents: kidnapping, kids committing violent crimes, sexual abuse of kids, kids doing drugs, etc.

Grant has an explanation for why some of these books become bestsellers:

They mirror back to us the fears we have as parents, especially the fears for our teenagers. Intellectually, we know they will probably be okay. We’ve given them the advantages of good schools, carpools, extracurricular activities. We know their friends, their friends’ parents. Our kids are good kids, we say. Part affirmation. Part furtive prayer.

But then something like Columbine or Trayvon happens, and we feel — perhaps irrationally but no less honestly — that our perfectly constructed lives teeter on a razor’s edge.

We don’t want to look, but we can’t help ourselves.

She makes a great point. It’s the voyeur in us, the one who whispers, “Thank god that’s not happening to me”, who devours these books. There’s even a name for this genre: “domestic thrillers”.

I haven’t read any of the books she mentions, but they seem to cover some of the same topics as the ones I linked to in my post.



The Washington Post has an article today about women who consider themselves readers of quality literary fiction who avoided the Twilight series, dismissing them as stupid and poorly written, and then finally read them, and then were hooked.

I have to say, I have had no interest in reading them. I like very literal books, and I think the vampire/werewolf part would really turn me off. And they're for teenagers, no?

So, those of you who have read the Twilight books – fill me in. What is so good about them? Am I really missing out? I have to say that the Post article has made me reconsider… a little bit.

Kelly Corrigan and Non-traditional Book Marketing

Interesting article in The Washington Post today about how Kelly Corrigan used nontraditional book marketing techniques, largely on her own, to sell her book, cancer memoir The Middle Place. (The Middle Place was the pick for the first EDIWTB book club, in December 2007).

I liked this article, but couldn't help but wonder – where is the mention of the book blogs?!

Valentines in Six Words

The Washington Post did a cute Valentine's Day feature yesterday inspired by Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six Word Memoirs By Famous and Obscure Writers. The paper challenged readers to submit six-word descriptions of their love lives.

There are so many good ones. Here are some of my favorites:

  • 30th Reunion Northwestern HS 1979
  • Kissed in 2008; Married in 2009!
  • Too much, too soon, too bad.
  • E-Harmony told us both: "No matches".
  • Difficult convincing friends I'm happy single.
  • Spied on Metro, Now dream fodder. 
  • I love him. He loves her.
  • Ex called to say he's engaged. 
  • Married a cook; dieting now. 
  • Miss hon, my love. Stupid cancer.

Check them all out.

Chris Bohjalian on Online Reviewers

Really interesting column in the Washington Post Book Review today by author Chris Bohjalian about reading online comments about his books. I've never read any of his work – Midwives, The Double Bind, etc. - but I've always followed his career. Many many years ago I worked with his brother at an ad agency in NY and I guess I've taken an interest in him in part due to that. He's very successful – his books have been Oprah picks and made into movies.

In the article, Bohjalian talks about the pitfalls of reading user reviews on Amazon and that the intimacy that Web 2.0 affords between writer and reader can be a double-edged sword. As a hobby book blogger, I read this column with great interest. I am aware that my words are ofen read by the authors I am discussing (several of them have emailed me after reading what I wrote), and I can't deny that this does in some way temper what I write. I might hold back a little on a negative review or even on gently criticizing a book I otherwise liked because I am worried about offending the author. It was interesting to read about it from the author's perspective.

Here's a short bio of Bohjalian that ran alongside the column.