Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Reader Bashing

Apparently, the author of one of the books that I'm currently reading feels that bludgeoning me with plot points, drama, and hints about The Next Book In The Series is a great way to add heft to an otherwise light story. Romantic quirk! Wham! Trite gender stereotype! Wham! The same romantic quirk, again! By now, I'm just trying to race to the end without becoming black and blue.

The humorous grace notes (possibly induced, like cartoon bluebirds, by the pummeling of the plot) are the best part of the novel.

And, once again, I'm confirming that certain genres just don't appeal to me (hence the lack of titles & authors--it's definitely not an author's responsibility to be all things to all people). This will probably lead to heartache over the next few days as I start new books picked up under the influence of good reviews but who live in similar genre subdivisions.

Part of trying out new books is trying out new identities, something that I've been thinking about since I decided that I needed to add more discipline to my life. There is a conspicuous lack of structure in my days that I'm trying to cure by osmosis by reading books I don't like by author's whose work ethic I admire. It's not the most successful thing I've attempted, but it has led to my trying to break done some ridiculous prejudices I've built up over the years. Over genre.

Just walking into, for example, the romance section of my local B&N (because what other options are there?) embarrasses me. It seems like I'm giving up on books to peruse these shelves of here-and-gone paperbacks, instead of giving up on the idea of ranked genre divisions and on my own particular reader-bashing tendencies.

None of which has much to do with discipline, except that it works against the notion that identity is monolithic because what was enjoyed in the past and supports the idea that you work, continually, to be something. If I want to be a writer, then I must write. On the other hand, just because I have a soft spot for Tolkien doesn't mean that I am doomed to search for his legacy in every sentence that I read or write.

Unless I'm wrong and running away to literary fiction and romantic fiction and historical fiction and non-fiction will never remove that need to search for that echo and I'll be back at the computer, back at the table, back at the shelf still waiting to find my way back to dim south Texas bedroom and the chill of a blocked mountain pass and the sudden, horrible knowledge that now we have to go Under the Mountain...

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