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Terri Ann Armstrong

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Never Judge a Book by its Genre
by Terri Ann Armstrong   
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Last edited: Monday, November 15, 2010
Posted: Monday, November 15, 2010

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Article appearing in June 2010 of Suspense Magazine




Never Judge a Book by its Genre


Terri Ann Armstrong


…or a movie for that matter…


As some of you might know, a while back I wrote an article titled Jumping Genres (September 2009) for this very magazine. In it, I discussed how I started writing poetry, went to self-help and then to short stories and murder mysteries. I never dreamed I would wander so far away from my poetry roots; truth is stranger than fiction, but I digress.

Recently, a friend—my agent—opened my eyes to a brand new, exciting world of books. That sounds really weird, I know, but she really has. I never liked fantasy books, the stories held no interest for me. Lo and behold, the magazine was asked to review a novel; a fantasy novel. Yours truly was chosen to read it…oh joy was my first thought. My second, go into this with an open mind, you may actually enjoy it.

Now, I know change is not always good, I’m the first to tell you it’s not my closest friend, but growth is a good thing and extending your knowledge in anything is a grand eye-opening for your mind and psyche.

I love the idea that something is so well done it changes the way I think. And anyone who knows me can tell you, “stubborn” is my middle name; rarely can anything change my way of thinking.

Movies are the same way for me. When I see trailers and sometimes—I’m ashamed to say—even when I hear the titles, I already make up my mind whether or not I’m going to like it. Again, my friend and agent has opened my eyes with so many movies, but most recently Angels & Demons with Tom Hanks. To be honest, the idea of watching a movie about the possible destruction of Vatican City did not appeal to me. Was I ever wrong! First of all, it stars Tom Hanks and he’s one of my favorite actors, second and even more importantly, it was riveting and suspenseful, two of my favorite attributes when watching a movie.

Okay, by now I’m sure you’re wondering what book I was assigned to review and if I enjoyed it. It’s written by Vicki Pettersson and is called “Cheat the Grave” THE FIFTH SIGN OF THE ZODIAC. Apparently, this is the fifth in a series and she’s quite popular, although until I was asked to read her, had never heard of her.

In answer to—if I enjoyed it, in my opinion, a good story needs the ability to hold a reader captive and make them want to turn the page because wanting to know what happens next, is the driving force and has the PACE Andrew Gross spoke about in May’s issue. In Vicki Pettersson’s book, she had all that and more. You can read my review in this month’s magazine.

Remember, the next time you turn your nose up at a book or movie that you feel sure you’ll hate, give some thought to trying it anyway, you might find yourself as pleasantly surprised as I did.


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