How I got over my literary snobbery and learned to love James Patterson

Stephen King calls him a “terrible writer”. Book reviewer Bill Morris says that Patterson doesn’t really write books as much as he produces products. The British newspaper The Telegraph calls his novels a “bestseller factory”.

People who read generally hate him; his scads of best sellers that he cranks out at the rate of usually a few every 4–5 months while collaborating with other writers rankles any bookworm by the mere mention of his name. Admittedly, I turned my nose up at him too: How could a series of books written so fast with so many other writers be any good?

Being a strong advocate of fairness I decided to see for myself whether or not Patterson was a “terrible writer” by checking out the latest in the “Alex Cross” series, “Cross the Line.”

The verdict: he is pretty much a terrible writer. Short chapters, poorly worded sentences, silly plots and equally silly dialogue.

But, at the same time, he is also very engaging too. The stories and the characters sort of grab you, the same way you might get engaged in a TV reality cooking show. I went back to the library and started checking out the Alex Cross series in order; after I am done with these I will look into another series of his, perhaps “Women’s Murder Club”.

I can hear your thoughts: “Why on earth would you waste your valuable reading time on novels by this hack?”

My answer is this: Well, because, pizza.

I like pizza. I like cheeseburgers. I like tacos. I doubt fully that anybody would call the food I get from Papa John’s or Wendy’s or Taco Bell (or as we call it it in our house: “The TB”) gourmet food, yet these chains sell billions of items to people who enthusiastically enjoy them regularly. There is no shame in saying I like a cheap slice of pepperoni every once in awhile and there should be no shame in the fast-food equivalent of fiction, Mr. Patterson.

The thing is, not all writers get to be George R.R. Martin or Cormac McCarthy or Gillian Flynn or even Stephen King (who has been unfairly saddled with the “hack” label himself); on the outside of these authors is James Patterson and Lee Child and Tess Gerritsen. They are the relief for the busy mind when I want to sit and knock out a read in a few days (in some cases a few hours) before plunging back into the harder stuff.

And what the heck is wrong with that? Novels are in their very nature meant to be enjoyed, right?

So take my advice and get over your inner snob and grab a Patterson. Now if you’ll excuse me, Cross is hot on the heels of criminal master mind Kyle Craig!

Why aren’t we building a wall on the Canadian border?

Answer this question: Why aren’t we building a wall on the Canadian border? Don’t we want to secure our northern border as well? The common answer is simple: Canada is not a threat to us criminal or otherwise and Mexico is. BUT, within that answer lies the real issue: WHY is this true with Mexico?

If you go to your doctor, with say, a sore on your arm, their first reaction is not “OH GOD LET’S CUT OFF YOUR ARM” but rather, “What is causing this sore on your arm in the first place?” Medicine treats the source of the problem, not the symptom, so you won’t have any problems in the future.

The diseases on our southern border we need to treat are drug use in the United States & corruption and poverty in Mexico (and to a larger extent, Central and South America). Simply, the drugs and criminals and illegal aliens (and guns, going the other way) crossing our border unimpeded are the symptoms of a disease that cannot be cured with a giant wall.

Drugs: Face it, if there wasn’t a market for drugs in the U.S. we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Trump people: The Cartel Drug Lords are businessmen: they go where the market is. And it’s big money.

Illegal immigration: If life in Mexico did not seem so hopeless and infused with corruption to these people who risk death, incarceration and discrimination by crossing into the U.S., many more would stay in their own country: just like they do in Canada.

Forget the $20 Billion for the wall (that will never work & cannot logistically be completed in under 4 years) and re-invest in drug treatment and education. Instead of antagonizing the Mexican government, begin working with them to help settle their political corruption and poverty problems. Having a positive policy in our sphere of influence is better for the long-term interests of our country. Treating the disease, not the symptoms, is the better way to a longer-lasting cure on our southern border.