Thursday, March 12, 2009

Exceptions to the Rules

Hey, you know I couldn't do such a negative post without doing a positive one! Although I previously listed styles of books that I don't really like very much, there are always exceptions to those rules, proving that, once again, writing trumps all:

  • Books where the author talks to the reader. I was a bit too quick on The Tale of Desperaux. While I still dislike the author-talking-to-the-reader bit, I'm loving the introduction of the rats and Roscuro's conflict with light, and I'm starting to find this story glued to my hands... (Also: I secretly kind of like it when Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte talk to me from their books. Makes me feel personal.)
  • Books where the solution to a problem is found in another person (i.e. my world revolves around him!). Ah, Twilight. My relationship with you is so love-hate. Because even though I really dislike this trope....I really did like Twilight. I couldn't put it down. I hated it while I was reading it, but I still couldn't put it down. Also: An Abundance of Katherine's sort of did this, but in such a brilliant way that I sort of loved it.
  • Books where the solution to the problem could happen if the character just said something. But....well....that's the basis for Pride and Prejudice, isn't it? And Romeo and Juliet? And don't all books do this to some degree? It IS the secrets that drive a plot forward, often enough.
I apparently like to argue with myself. But that's the nature of books and reading! A really brilliant book is the one you expect to hate...but end up loving. I refused to read the Harry Potter books for years on the basis that the story (boy discovers he's a wizard) had SO been done before. When I did read them, I ate them up, eventually becoming that weird 20-something waiting in line with the teens and tweens on midnight on release day for the next book.

We all have a certain "style" of books that doesn't match our style. For some people, it's a genre (I hate sci fi!)*. For some, it's a style (ugh, first person!)*. I even have a friend who will only read a book if a female is the main character. But despite your preferences, I'm willing to bet there's at least one book out there in that style you hate that, once you gave that book a chance, you actually kind of liked. Maybe it even became your favorite book...

So, what style do you hate...but what book do you love despite that?

*Those are not my sentiments. I used them as examples only.


C.R. Evers said...

I just finished Unwind by Neal Shusterman and really liked it, even though it dealt with some touchy issues and a lot of kids died.

I have a hard time w/ dying kids books (see below)


Bowman said...

I read so little, it's hard to say.

I expected to hate Twilight, but at least one character made it worth reading.

I dislike a lot about the Harry Potter books, but the plots can be intriguing and some of the characters appealed to me.

An entire book based on obsession sounds bad, but it isn't unrealistic or necessarily uninteresting; however, I think it's better to have one obsessive character out of several than one obsessive character out of one.

I like the fourth wall to stay intact. If someone stops in the middle of the fight and talks to me, they might as well say, "I am confirming your suspicion that my adventures are not real. They do not mean anything. Please read another book, where the stakes are higher."

PJ Hoover said...

I'm totally trying to be more varied in my reading. To give things a chance when in the past I might not have.
I'll echo Christy. Books on kids deaths (especially realistic ones vs. fantasy) rarely make it onto my reading list.

Carrie Harris said...

Gah. This is a tough question! Generally, I dislike hoity toity books that work so hard at being avant garde that they become completely incomprehensible. But every once in a while, I find one that really works.

Hmmm... now if only I could think of an example. ;)

Michelle D. Argyle said...

As a good friend of mine said, Twilight is like crack for readers. You love it and you hate it. And nothing about it is good for you. Urgh....

I had the same experience with Twilight that you did.

It all depends on the book. 'Nough said. :)

Bowman said...

Ooh ooh, I have something else to say.

I once despised books with "excessive" details, then I read a book called The Riddle-Master of Hed. Even though I occasionally felt slowed by the multitude of details, Patricia McKillip's writing stunned me; it blew my mind.

She managed to throw detail after detail into my face, and I enjoyed it much of the time. I haven't read the other two books in the trilogy, but I really should someday.

@GeekWillow said...

I really enjoyed the Twilight books, mostly because I fell in love with the characters. That and I'm a sucker for a love story. My husband even read all four of them and enjoyed them, which was amazing to me because he's usually into the Terry Goodkind type of book.

One series that I enjoyed at the beginning, but grew to dislike in the end was Terry Brook's Shannara Series. At some point, the author took the plot of this fantasy series into too modern a setting for me. It just killed the whole world for me. Now I can't even finish the series.

And I was the same way with Harry Potter! I think book 5 was out before I read any of them. But I did one-up you once I did realize I liked them... I dressed up as a Ravenclaw (robe, uniform, wand, the works...) for the midnight release parties, and I have the pictures to prove it, lol!

The best part is that I have a baby face and actually looked like I fit in with all the teens and tweens there. When I told some of my new friends my age (20 something), they started dragging me to their parents and friends, making them play, "guess her age" lol. It was so much fun!

lotusgirl said...

Like I said yesterday, I'm open for pretty much anything. I don't read a lot of sci-fi, but I've liked most of the ones I've read. Right now I'm not as interested in reading Classical lit, but I've read so much of it in the past that I think I got my fill for now. (Latin major, classical civ minor will do that to you). I'm interested in new stuff coming out these days.

I just have to add for your 3rd point: HP had so many moments where I was thinking the whole thing would be resolved if someone would just say something. (I loved HP--just so you know.)

About Me said...

I'm with Lotusgirl, I'm up for a lot of various types of books. If the story grabs me, I'm going to read it whether the author is talking to me or not. But like Justus and others, I don't like excessive description but I wouldn't put the book because of descriptions, but I would skip aheads.