March 18th, 2010

Tower Bridge London

Sticky books (not nearly as naughty as it sounds)

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?




free hit counter