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Books: A Skeptic Explores The Appeal Of James Patterson

Seth Marko, author of The Book Catapult and a bookseller at Warwick's in La Jolla, has great taste in books. Like many people with great taste, Marko can sometimes be a bit...ummm, how shall we put it....snobby about literary fare. Frankly, that's how I prefer my booksellers, well-read and opinionated.

That's why I was surprised to learn of Marko's latest project "117 Days of James Patterson." I would imagine selling the umpteenth copy of James Patterson's work had Marko baffled and perhaps a little frustrated.

Instead of just grumbling (ok, despite the grumbling), Marko, who's never read a Patterson novel, decided to do just that. He will read a chapter a day of Patterson's latest book, "The 9th Judgment" for the next 117 days and blog about his findings on The Book Catapult.

Why James Patterson? Patterson is mega-popular and productive. He recently signed a 17-book, 3-year publishing deal with Hachette. According to Patterson's own website, one out of every 15 books sold in the US in 2007 was a Patterson title. In other words, he's a massive target with a massive, loyal following.

Marko started blogging yesterday and it's not looking good for Patterson. According to Marko: "The first 'chapter' is actually part of a three-chapter, 9-page prologue - Patterson is already behind the Seth Marko Eight-Ball here, as I truly despise the unnecessary use of the prologue in fiction."

This could get ugly.

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