I arrive fresh from ranting (rather rudely, I do apologise) on Nick Kyme’s journal entry regarding reading. The rant was around what constitutes a ‘good’ book and my point was that surely a ‘good’ book is entirely objective? Read the rant there if you wish: it largely centres around ‘Pride and Prejudice’, a book I disliked with such vitriolic disgust that it’s the only book I’ve ever considered throwing away.
(I didn’t, of course, it’s still on my bookcase).
But it’s true. Take the Horus Heresy books. Dearly Beloved disliked ‘Battle for the Abyss’, whilst I rather enjoyed it. He waxes lyrical about ‘Legion’ and I couldn’t get into that one at all. (For the record, we both loved ‘Flight of the Eisenstein’ – one on the scoreboard for James Swallow).
I’ve tried for a long time to pull myself out of the fantasy/sci-fi genre. I pick up the occasional non-genre book, but rarely get engaged by them. ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time’ is one exception to this rule. I loved that.
I think part of the reason is that for me, at least, I prefer my author to tell me a story, not to demonstrate how clever, or quirky, or ‘off the wall’ they can be – does that make any sense? I like to be entertained when I’m reading. I like my emotions to be taken for a rollercoaster ride. I like to laugh.
I’m not that hard to please, literary-wise. Good characterisation, good dialogue, good story – and I’m sold. (The ‘Dresden Files‘ books by Jim Butcher meet that criteria bang-on, I have to say – there hasn’t been a bad one of them yet. And at the same time, his fantasy series didn’t pull me in nearly as much. More Harry, please Jim!)
There. I’ve got the rant out of my system now.