Monday, August 1, 2011

Reading Is Fun-damental

I have been a voracious reader since I first was able to read the rousing adventures of Dick, Jane & Spot.  I've enjoyed stories by well known authors as well as the obscure.  Really.  I mean not everyone has read the dusty tome that I read when I was about 14 years old called "A Dog's Head"by Jean Dutourd.  Just now I looked for it on Amazon and it was actually reprinted in 1998.  It's original print date was 1951 in Paris.  Translated to English in 1953.  By far, that was the weirdest book I'd ever read to date.

I've read an amazing glut of bad books.  I've also been known to label a book good, when the author stinks but the story was wonderful.  Sometimes it's hard to get through a poorly written book, but when the story is good, sometimes my mind can fill in the blanks left by the author.  But a bad story, cannot be saved by the best writer.  Trust me, I may not be able to write very well (look at my blog people, this is the best I can do, LOL) but I can read, I'm a dreamer and I'm an artist, I know a good book when I read it.

Is there such a thing as a bad story?  Oh, I don't know.  Maybe just a story that's been done so many times that only a gifted writer can pull me in.  I'm that way about bodice rippers.   Admit it they're all the same. Very formulaic.  Different spirited woman, different roguish man, an impossible setting be it a boat or a parlor room....need I go on?  Formulaic.  I'm not saying formulas don't work, they do!  Look at Stephen King, he most certainly writes by formula, but the formula is a fine thread, so fine you forget about the formula a get into the story.

A good story, though, can be bogged down by details (think Anne Rice) and over done characters (Anne Rice again).  It can also get lost when there are too many characters that the writer is trying to write about.  To me a book slices out a portion of life and tells that story, it doesn't care about the guy in the next car driving down the freeway UNLESS it's going to impact the main character(s) in some way.

It also seems to be a rarity these days to have stand alone novels.  Everything is a series it seems.  Seldom do I find a book and not think "oh, that sounds interesting.  What book 3?  CRAP!"  Sometimes I just wan to move from one book to another.  New characters, new settings, new stories.  But I can hardly look at the books on my Kindle or Nook and find one that is a stand alone.  Maybe it's just a talent I have to find series.

As I was saying though, I've read a lot of books good and bad.  One day, while flipping through a magazine, I saw a book review on a newly released novel.  I was intrigued and immediately downloaded it onto my Kindle.  It was, by and far, the VERY BEST BOOK I HAVE EVER READ to date.  No kidding.  Imagine my smugness as  it grew in popularity.  I had already read the book and was feeling pretty good about it.  I have no idea why. 

Oh, you probably are wondering what book that was, silly me.  A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

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