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In online user forums, a "sticky" post is one that administrators create and label in such a way that it always stays in position at the top of a list, so that it's hard to ignore. I like to apply that term to books that I can remember reasonably well, long after I have read them— books that stick in my memory, to some degree or other, even if I don't recall characters' names or specific plot details. I don't mean a Great Gatsby piece of great literature, but just a ripping good story that makes the reader glad he or she read the book.

I thought of this concept recently when I read on the Guardian book blog that someone has made a movie from Rosemary Sutcliff's The Eagle of the Ninth, an historical novel about a Roman legion that was wiped out in Britain, and a young Roman who is trying to recover their lost eagle standard.

I loved Rosemary Sutcliff's books when I was young! In addition to some Arthurian novels and lots of YA books, she wrote several different novels set in different eras of British history, starting, I think, with this one. Each of them was infused with a specific sense of time and place, the main reason I enjoy historical fiction so much.

Some people hate to see a beloved book made into a movie because of fears the movie will "ruin" the book. Well, it can't, of course. The book will be unchanged; it's the movie that can get ruined. And if the movie helps bring even one more reader to an older book, then that's a good thing.

Someone on my LJ f-list (most likely the inimitable jongibbs) recently posed the question, "Why do you write?" I think one reason is, I want to write and publish a sticky book, one that someone will remember years from now. Eagle of the Ninth might not be famous, but like most of Sutcliff's books, it is still in print, even though the author died in 1992.

How about you? Got any books that cling to your memory like peanut butter on the knife?

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( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 18th, 2010 06:43 pm (UTC)
Fall on your Knees by Anne-Marie MacDonald, and Tigana, by Guy Gavriel Kaye. I find myself thinking of these books often and for no apparent reason.
Mar. 18th, 2010 07:04 pm (UTC)
Interesting. I have heard of Tigana, but not Fall on Your Knees. Are they at all similar?
Mar. 18th, 2010 07:10 pm (UTC)
Not even remotely. :) Fall on Your Knees is a story set in Nova Scotia--heartwrenching tale of sisters and abuses of all kinds. Though it sounds awful, it's a gorgeous book.

If you havne't read Tigana, you should! It's a great book.
Mar. 18th, 2010 07:21 pm (UTC)
THE CITY AND THE STARS by Arthur C. Clarke and THE STARS MY DESTINATION by Alfred Bester
Mar. 18th, 2010 08:27 pm (UTC)
Do you know, I don't remember if I read the THE CITY AND THE STARS or AGAINST THE FALL OF NIGHT. I guess the story didn't stick enough, for me. CHILDHOOD'S END did, but I really hated the ending to that one. I guess they are a little similar in that they dealt with the idea of humanity evolving into a mass consciousness. On the other hand, I loved Clarke's short story "The Nine Billion Names of God."

I read THE STARS MY DESTINATION a few years ago (OK, more like 10 years) and I really didn't like it. It stuck in a totally bad way.
Mar. 18th, 2010 09:25 pm (UTC)
"Sticky books" is as good a term as any. I certainly share your ambition :)
Mar. 18th, 2010 09:37 pm (UTC)
Well, THE INFERIOR has a definite sticky quality. I think the more a book differentiates itself from the others of its genre, the stickier it it. I certainly never read anything quite like your book.
Mar. 18th, 2010 09:42 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Karen! I'll keep working, though -- I reckon I can get something *really* sticky out there some day :-)
Mar. 19th, 2010 04:03 am (UTC)
Sticky books . . . I like it. I would love to create a sticky book. Well, Dollhouse Murders by Betty Ren Wright. I posted about it a whild back. I loved reading before that, but it made me consider being an author. Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. To Kill A Mockingbird. Those three books I could read over and over . . . in fact I have. ;)
Mar. 19th, 2010 11:46 am (UTC)
I think To Kill a Mockingbird is a sticky book to a lot of folks. I had never heard of The Dollhouse Murders but it's a good title. I see on Amazon that it's a YA and that a lot of people like it. Google says there is a 1992 movie. Did you ever see it?
Mar. 19th, 2010 12:52 pm (UTC)
Nope never saw the movie.

I did think this morning that more recent books that are sticky are Annie Freeman's Traveling Funeral, If I Stay and Lonely Hearts Club. The last two are YA
Mar. 19th, 2010 11:55 am (UTC)
I read The Eagle of the Ninth again a few years ago. I think it'll make a good movie.
Mar. 19th, 2010 12:10 pm (UTC)
I will be curious to see how the movie is marketed— action film, YA, romance? Rome is a popular topic right now. If you ever read the Lindsay Davis murder mysteries set in ancient Rome, you might have noticed the first one, SILVER PIGS is dedicated to Rosemary Sutcliff. I guess her books were sticky for lots of other folks, too.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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