Wednesday, April 20, 2011

self-revelation: lit edition

I had never really thought about what draws me in about the literature I like. Okay, so that might not be entirely true. I know why I like some of what I like, but I've recently learned something more about my literary tastes: I like good characters. And, yes, "good" is entirely subjective, but I like characters that have some life to them. Characters with personality. Characters I can get attached to. Characters who I want to visit book after book after book. (Why, yes, I did just finish reading the Kinsey Millhone series again. And, as I said, "good" is subjective, but I like the characters in Grafton's books.)

I am right now reading a book I really thought I'd enjoy immensely. I like retellings (different perspectives, updated settings, so on) and I'm trudging through one right now. It's a subject I like, too. Something nerdy, where I can pick out all the references I actually get. The audience, I would guess, is preteen, so that might be part of the problem. However, I've read lit for this age group before, and very recently, not just when I was a preteen, and enjoyed it. With this book, though, I feel like I'm only allowed to skim along the surface of a very shallow pond. I don't feel connected to the characters. I feel the books is completely plot-driven, as if the writer is ticking off items on a list of points he wants to hit. I'm sure there's nothing wrong with plot-driven texts, as opposed to character-driven texts (or, as opposed to whatever driving forces there might be), but I realize that it's not for me.

Give me quirky, real, deep characters and I'll happily read about them doing the most mundane tasks.

(I'll have to keep all of this in mind should I ever decide to try my hand at writing fiction.)

So, I'm taking book suggestions now, please. Actually, I'm always taking book suggestions. I'm not sure exactly why, as my list of "to-read"s is about a gazillion books long, but I'm always eager to add to the list. I thank you kindly in advance.


Kat said...

I rarely care about the "what happens" part of the books. I have always cared more about the other stuff. Although I am always a sucker for a good romance though. I will read really bad books as long as I get to worry about whether or not people's love lives will turn out all right at the end.

Anonymous said...

I recently read Beastly, but you may not like it because it leans toward plot-based rather than character, but I think many retellings of Beauty and the Beast will do that.

kate said...

Have you read anything by Phillipa Gregory She writed historical fiction (which is a weakness of mine) and I love her. Her first book was "The Other Boleyn Girl" which I think I've talked to you about before. I'm currently reading "The Boleyn Inheritance" which follows Anne of Cleves, Katherine Howard, and Jane Rochford. I'm such a sucker for pretty much any story about the Tudor line so these stories are right up my alley.

v said...

I can't do Gregory. At least, I couldn't. I think it might be historical fiction, in general, actually. Perhaps I'll come back to it some point down the line. Actually, I still haven't read the Susie Stackhouse (sp?) books, and I might try those (especially if I remember what they are).

I might read Beastly, though, too.

Sometimes I'm just too restless for anything I'm not already intimately familiar with.