James Patterson, you owe me
No, I take that back. It started weeks before that, at the school library, where my teenager (for reasons I never was clear on) checked out the first book in Patterson’s Maximum Ride series. And then the second and the third and the fourth . . .
Note to anyone interested in reading them: they don’t end. They just keep coming.
There’s a reason for that. Patterson isn’t an author the way, say, I’m an author, or even that a big name like Michael Chabon is an author. He’s a factory. He freely admits he works with co-authors on most of the books he writes: he comes up with the idea and the outline and someone else connects the dots, adhering to his style. According to the New York Times article which describes this process, “since 2006, one out of every 17 novels bought in the United States was written by James Patterson.”
Why are his books so successful? Well, I’ve started the first Maximum Ride and I can tell you that everything we’ve talked about on this blog as far as the direction kids’ books are moving in is there to the nth degree: constant action, simple language, direct dialogue, exaggerated peril . . . This isn’t The Secret Garden. This is hardboiled, exciting and intense thriller-style fiction. And my boys are eating it up.
Which brings me back to the airport. So my teenage son is reading the Maximum Ride books and he gets my ten-year-old hooked on them too, right before we head off on our two-week spring break vacation. My ten-year-old has read the first couple of books and we’ve downloaded another one onto the Kindle. He’s also bringing a bunch of other books on the trip: my kids read more on vacation than the rest of the year combined. (Mostly because they watch less TV on vacation than the rest of the year combined.) His brother is packing the most recent Maximum Ride book, a hardcover called Fang, but there’s a book between the last one Will has and that one, which means there’ll be a gap in his reading. Read the rest of this entry »