117 Days of James Patterson, or An Impressive Feat

I recently stumbled across The Book Catapult, a spectacular book blog that has had a very unique mission for the last 117 days: to read one chapter of James Patterson per day, and critique each as the book unfolds. Seth Marko, the blogger behind the project, poses the following questions:
The question I posed to myself back on April 29th, Day One, was what is it about James Patterson that compels a staggering 14 million human souls to purchase and read his books each year? What is that intangible element that allows him successfully produce 9 books a year and be the highest paid author on the planet? Why are so many people not just content with but frothingly ecstatic over reading his books?
Seth, you are a more patient soul than I. Let's just say I'm not much of a Patterson fan to begin with, although I admire the man's ability to turn himself into a brand and churn out over half a dozen books a year. I admire, on some level, anyone that can make writing as profitable as Patterson has done (he's the highest paid author in the country, according to a Forbes article). But, most important to me, I do not admire Patterson's actual writings.

What's more, the only redeeming quality I've found in Patterson is the page-turning, plot-driven aspect of each novel. I can't imagine actually focusing on the writing so closely, one chapter after another.

Seth's journey through the mind and pen of JPatt is sarcastic and hilarious, well-written and quite thorough. You can follow him from Day 1 here, or if you don't even have room in your life for 117 blog posts about dear Mr. Patterson, let alone 117 chapters, you can just read his final thoughts in Day 117.

Any fans of Patterson out there that want to talk me out of my probably unfair and biased opinion here? Has anyone else seen Seth's blog? Has anyone else done this? I have vague memories of someone doing a similar project with The Da Vinci Code (another of my not-so-favorites, even if that does make me a snob), but a quick search turned up nothing.

For more on James Patterson as brand, check out this NY Times article: James Patterson, Inc.
Greg at The New Dork Review of Books also discussed the pull of Patterson in a previous post, "Juxtaposition: Profiles of David Mitchell and James Patterson"


  1. I cannot stand James Patterson...there, I've said it out loud! I read two of his books from years ago, Along Came a Spider and Kiss the Girls. And quite honestly, I couldn't see what all the fuss was. I thought they were just...predictable? I feel almost insulted when I read his work, you know? Then, I tried to listen to Cross on audio, and my husband and I nearly fell asleep while driving on a 6-hour trip. Argh.

  2. When Mr. Patterson first started writing the Alex Croft (?) books, I listened to them on tapes and read a couple of them. After about the 4th one I got bored. I liked the AC character for a while. The books weren't great literature, but they were page turners. I just got tired of them.
    And, the first time I read the Da Vinci Code, I inhaled it - because of the concept - it was kind of a breath of fresh air into my sometimes predictable church life. However, when I picked it up a second time, I couldn't get past the first chapter. So badly written.

  3. Thanks for the shout out & the kind words, Kerry! Much appreciated.


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