Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Books: Love Them or Hate them?

I love books. I've discovered that although my tastes have evolved over the years, for the most part, my favourites remain my favourites. In fact, It may be time to do a little Agatha Christie reading again.

There was an interesting blog recently that talked about what makes you throw a book. To my pleasure, she asked that people not name names. I'm so glad :D But something that really caught my eye is how subjective the quality of a book is. That's true in most things, but I think in art & literature the individual's life experience has as much to do with their belief in the quality of something as much as the actual quality atrributed by professionals in the arena.

Story telling, originally an oral art, is about the story. The craft only matters, really, in the words you choose, just like the oral days. However, the grammar, the title, the cover, can all affect the monetary success of a work. But those are small things that only matter as a part of the package. Readers with higher education may get more distracted or put off by "bad" grammar even if it is the way they talk in your area and you're simply being true to a character.

On the other hand, I've not been able to pick up a book because of the cover. I'm not a prude, or even a sissy, but there are a few bookcovers that disturb me at a primal level. I can't always put my finger on why.

The question on the aforementioned blog was what makes you throw a book. I heard that people will give a book 50 pages (I'm relieved because my first book, Rebellion on Piza 7, does a few beginner errors, but most of it's in first chapter :D) some 100, and heres the one that had me blinking: some READ THE ENDING!!! seriouslY? I have a book figured out within 10 pages sometimes it might even take me 20, but if I read the last pages first????? WOW. I don't know how anyone can even want to read a book if they know who did what before they really start. I can't even WRITE the damn book if I know the ending before it gets close. (In case you missed earlier posts: I'm a pantster!)

What are some things that make you really love a book. I mean cherish it, reread it until you have to buy a new copy. Think about it while driving, muse about the characters, think about the what ifs. What is it about a book that does that?

And what's on the other side of a coin? What will make you put a book down, even if you paid full price? Or, like some people, throw it and or burn it in disgust? This is such a highly subjective field.

Please, no name calling. You may show your reasons why you don't like a particular book, but don't say the title, even if it's a classic. You may not agree with someone else's reasons. If that's the case, disagree with respect :D I love heated discussions so feel free to have one or two in the comments lol


  1. I hate non-stop grind. I've read a number of stories that were endless woe is me, and I thought after the first few pages, "I get it." Why was it made into a book? Since I'm writing memoir, I had to force myself through some of them for research. Ugh.

    I dislike books that are obvious, where you can call the action ahead of time because the author followed a simple formula.

    I love books that draw me in, especially if it's to a world I wouldn't ordinarily be interested in.

  2. Boring narrative, plodding plot, characters that have absolutely no appeal, a story so predictable I could peg it from the blurb--all these will make me toss it.

    Books that worldbuild so convincingly, whose characters have so much depth I swear I know them in real life--those are the books I wear out and buy new copies of.

  3. I'm with Richard - I have no tolerance for doom and gloom ad infinitum. I get enough of that in real life, who needs in their imagination as well?

    A book that takes me to a world I want to visit, that makes me believe in love - those are the ones I re-buy when I can't find my old copies.

  4. @Richard It's hard to read memoirs. I know what you mean about too much angst. I have a problem with being able to figure books out too quickly. I've read so much, that I usually know where things are headed long before the author gets there.

    @SharonGerlach Do you toss it literally, or do you donate it to the library or someone's personal library? I have to be engaged by the characters. Whether I love or hate them, I'll read on. Is that true for you?

    @Anne-Mhairi I have the same problem with movies. For instance, Schindlers list. I refused to watch it. I already feel bad for anyone who gets put into those situations. I know it's history, but I have enough compassion and empathy. In fact, I have too much. I'll have nightmares and such for weeks. So no doom and gloom ad infinitum for me. Plus, as we are all aware, I have plenty of that in my life. I need to read about people overcoming that kind of thing.

    One of my favorite all time romance authors is Judith McNaught. (I have lots though, this is just one of my first.) My husband and I picked up one of her books at Safeway (grocery store) because it was the thickest one we could find because I read so fast. I was going in to be induced with my first child the next day. Turned out she was awesome at character building and real love feelings. It's why I reread her work so much.

    I have a comment from twitter:
    From PatriciaIVicens
    @L_Bushman I usually force myself to finish every book that I start, even if I don't like it. I just read them in small increments.