Sunday, January 24, 2010

A list about books

Wow, I have a lot of rules.

  • If I'm reading a book and I think a main character or pet may die, I peek at the back of the book and look for dialog just to be sure they're still around.
  • If someone recommends a book in which a pet dies, no matter how good it is, I probably won't read it. Yes, I know that we all die sometime, but really, why put myself through that?
  • I hate it when an author kills off a main character in a series, especially when I don't know it's coming.
  • I love the idea of short story anthologies around a theme, but for the most part, short stories make me nervous. I feel like I'm always hurrying to get to the end, but I don't know why.
  • I love long books, the longer the better. I like to get absorbed into the fictional world and live with it for awhile.
  • I never read anything but fiction. I know that's dumb, but somehow I feel that life is just too short.
  • I love reading series mystery fiction even though the stories are sometimes indistinguishable from each other.
  • There are two or three books that I have (and do) re-read, but if I pick up a book that I think I haven't read, and realize that I have, I won't read it even if I don't remember it.
  • If I find a new series that I haven't read, I'll usually read the most recent one just to see if I like it, then go back and start at the beginning and read them in sequence.
  • I won't read a book that's written in dialect. It takes too much work. The occasional accent is fine, but if it's every time a character speaks, I'll put the book back, no matter how interesting it looks.
  • Same thing with science fiction or fantasy books in which the character names are too long or contrived. If I can't pronounce it, forget it.
  • I don't read historical fiction. I used to--in high school I read a lot of literary historical fiction and gothic romance--but I don't have the patience for it anymore. I only read books set in present day and the future.
  • I don't read biographies. I sometimes read memoir, but not often.
  • I find that reading on the small screen of the iPhone, either with the Kindle iPhone app or on eReader, makes me pay more attention. I'm more present or something. I find it almost impossible to skim, or read quickly, and I like that.
  • When reading a physical book, I tend to skim long descriptive passages; I prefer reading dialog to description.
  • If I come to a section in a book that has a long discourse on something technical, or a fight, I'll speed-read through it, or sometimes skip it altogether, although I hate to do that.
  • If I start a book and it doesn't grab me within a chapter or so, I'll stop reading it. This is why I get most of the books I read from the library--there's no guilt (or very little) involved if it turns out I don't want to finish something that I've started.
  • If I pick up a book and it looks interesting, but I think it may be "inspirational fiction," I'll check the publisher's imprint, and if it's obviously a Christian publisher, I'll put it back. It's not that I'm not Christian, or religious, because I am, but in general I find those books to be a little overbearing, which is probably not fair of me, but there it is.
  • I read urban fantasy, but not sword-and-sorcery type fantasy.
  • I read science fiction, but not space opera or "hard" science fiction.
  • I like magical realism--I like books that take a present day setting and introduce fantastic or paranormal elements.
  • I find it really hard to read most vampire/werewolf/demon-type novels unless they're written with some humor and don't take themselves too seriously.
  • I have an admittedly unfair bias against most romance books
  • I do, however, love "women's fiction" or contemporary books that aren't exclusively marketed as romance
  • And I do quite often enjoy paranormal romance--I think it just has to be a little bit different for me to get interested
  • I like books set in a specific industry like the music business, or a ballet corps, or something like that.
  • I love books set in a "closed" world like a big hotel, an airport, a theme park, a resort.
  • I love books set in warm climates, especially Florida.

So I'm thinking my ideal book would be a paranormal futuristic mystery set in a Florida theme park. Hm. Maybe I need to write one.

I took Dinah to the vet yesterday for a follow-up visit. The vet looked at her eyes, checked her hydration, her temperature, and weighed her. She had gained about 3/4 of a pound since Monday, and everything was fine. He said "she's got her sparkle back!" and she does. He was impressed with the weight gain, and said that she had been very sick, that an infection like that can act very fast. He said it might not ever happen again, but if it does, it's good to know that she responds so well to the treatment.

She seems to be back to her old self. We've been feeding her a lot, fattening her up, and while she still seems a little bony, she's definitely gaining weight. And rather than wanting to go sleep in the basement or up in the bedroom, she's hanging out with me again, on my lap constantly which, while it can be a little annoying when I'm trying to work, I'm very glad of.

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David Knopfler said...

When you can't find the work that really does it for you - it's usually a aign that you're ready to create it yourself. This aught to be a "must read" for any budding novelist... at least of paranormal futuristic mysteries ;)

Liora said...

Very interesting comment by David above. I'm ready to read your paranormal novel, Willa.

You have very particular tastes! I am laughing because I do, too. I'm with you on the weird names of characters and weird delivery. I came close to putting away A Prayer for Owen Meany because the one character's words were in all caps, and I'm thankful I didn't. But when a whole book is in a dialect you practically have to read aloud to make sense of, it's about as fun as watching a subtitled movie on a small television--too much work.