I wish I represented…

Stumped for blog entries today and not wanting to turn to you folks to tell me what to write, I simply turned to my colleagues and made them do some of the heavy lifting for me! Every so often, someone will ask, “If you could have represented any book in the world, what would it have been?” And I always answer TWILIGHT. Because COME ON! That book made roughly a trillion dollars. It’s a silly answer, though, as it’s likely much more interesting to choose books that we would have loved to represent not only because they made a bunch of money. Here’s what we came up with.

Michael went for Ann Dee Ellis’ realistic YA novel THIS IS WHAT I DID citing it as “an amazing example of both voice and storytelling.” Unrelated: in looking the book up, I laughed out loud when I saw that the final line of the Booklist review, where they usually tell people whether or not the book is worthwhile, is instead a warning: “Caution: there’s a slang term for scrotum on page 1.”

Stephanie went with Garth Stein’s major bestseller THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN. When asked why, she replied, “Besides the fact that it made a bajillion dollars?” Fair question. It also is, “beautifully written, compelling, and accessible.”

Miriam chose Ann Patchett’s stunning novel BEL CANTO because she notes that besides being a “gorgeous writer,” Patchett always comes off as a sweet person. She then went on to name an author whose work she loves but thought might be super difficult to work with. I won’t name names. But it sounds like Shmonanthan Shmanzen.

It was Joshua Ferris’s THEN WE CAME TO THE END for Lauren.  She notes that, “Joshua Ferris’s voice and sensibility are very much in the spirit of the sort of accessible literary novels that I tend to go for on a personal and professional level.”

Me? I’ll pick two. It’s my entry after all. On the YA side, I’ll choose Stephen Chbosky’s THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER because it made me cry, it’s a true life story (which I’d love to find more of), and it’s the sort of novel you can imagine really being a life-changer for teens who read it. On the adult side, I’ll pick Gillian Flynn’s DARK PLACES because it’s a super-dark thriller with some really twisted stuff going on, and I can really get behind some bleak, bleak stuff.

Rachel also picked a book that made her cry: Ian McEwan’s ATONEMENT was the first book to make her sob uncontrollably. I will personally note that I don’t understand why the universe loved this book. I file Ian McEwan among those people whose work everyone but me loves, leaving me feeling a little dazed and confused by my own apathy. (See also: Spielberg)

Jane picked an altogether different type of weeper: THE EMPEROR OF ALL MALADIES by Siddhartha Mukherjee, a stunning “biography of cancer” that could have been dull or difficult or simply too dark to read if it weren’t for Mukherjee’s incredible compassion.

What about you, dear readers? Let’s say you could slap your name on some already published book and claim it as your own? What would you have chosen to write?

14 Responses to I wish I represented…

  1. josin says:

    Probably The Hunger Games. It’s dark and it makes you think, which means it’s not dark for the sake of slapping a “dark” sticker on the front of the book. Even though there are opposing forces in the Games, there really aren’t any “bad” guys in the traditional sense. The kids are either there against their will, or to take the place of someone who would be there against their will, or because they’ve had their heads filled with psycho propaganda since they were born that tells them dying in the Games is the pinnacle of their existence.

    It’s helplessness to the nth degree considering they don’t even have the dignity of death in the end, nor do their families get the consideration of burying their dead with honor. And it’s also the epitome of quiet strength for someone to jump onto the chopping block and accept death for someone they love more than their own life. Just like it takes a reserve of exceptional strength and depth for a beaten down group like District 11 to send something as simple as a loaf of bread to a compassionate “enemy” knowing it means more than simply nourishment.

    The complexity of the characters is the book’s strength, and that’s what I love about it.

  2. Joelle says:

    Jandy Nelson’s THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE. I love a lot of books, but there aren’t that many that I wished I written. This is one, though. But since I didn’t, I’m sure glad she did so I can read it whenever I want to.

  3. Julie Musil says:

    Fun subject! In YA, I wish I’d written LOOKING FOR ALASKA. Adult, anything by Jodi Piccoult. I love her work.

  4. Oh, fun! A SUITABLE BOY by Vikram Seth and anything by Michelle Moran. I could go on forever, but I won’t!

  5. kat owens says:

    How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff because of its compelling and surprising plot. The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta, because the family was just oozing with problems but also love.

  6. Dave Sosnowski says:

    In non-fiction, two: Stop-Time and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. In fiction, also two: The World According to Garp and Sophie’s Choice.

  7. I would have loved to have written One Hundred Years of Solitude but the fact that I’m from Texas (which deserves its own version of “magical realism”) and not Latin American as is Garcia Marquez might have affected its success.

  8. Alan Bradley’s “The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie”, or any of the Flavia de Luce novels. Actually, I just wish I were even half as smart and talented as Alan Bradley. The depth, breadth, and width of his knowledge and talent are astonishing!

  9. I’d love to replace my name on Michael Cunningham’s, Alice McDermott’s, and Laurie Halse Anderson’s books. And The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall.

    (And now I take note of the books mentioned here that I haven’t read. Oh, and speaking of book recommendations, Jim: when will you do another post where you make suggestions based on your readers’ recently-read books?)

  10. Julie Nilson says:

    Can I tell you how glad I am to find someone else who didn’t love ATONEMENT? A big part of my problem with it is that I hate, with a fiery passion, books that wait until the end and then in the last few pages, say, “Well, none of that really happened at all.” It reminds me of that infamous season of Dallas where it was all just a bad dream and Bobby Ewing was just in the shower. Argh.

  11. JGStewart says:

    THE COLD SIX THOUSAND by James Ellory

    The Prydain Chronicles, by Lloyd Alexander


  12. Sheila Hurst says:

    AS IT IS IN HEAVEN by Niall Williams because it’s so beautifully written. The sentences are poems. I remember marveling at them as I read them, and many caused a smile.

    ALL THE KING’S MEN by Robert Penn Warren also because of the lyrical writing and his descriptions of people, with all their conflicting motivations and desires.

  13. Donna Hole says:

    Jodi Picoult: My Sisters Keeper. Why didn’t I think of that. Or Kim Edward’s, The Memory Keepers Daughter. Both of these had absolutely beautiful characters and voice. The ethical delimas were appropriate to todays politics and morality; but did not have an author answer. I love the drama of moral connundrums, but don’t like to be told a difinitive answer.

    To produce a novel of such poignancy and emotion, to create characters of such depth and reality; yes that would be my dream as a successful writer.


  14. Tyhitia says:

    I wish I’d written My Soul To Keep by Tananarive Due. Not because it made tons of money, but because it should have.

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