Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Written Word Wed. - Booktalk With Flunky Lover

A while back after using the "Who should do a guest-post?" poll as a bludgeon to force Dr. G'ovich into illuminating his Eeeeeeeeevil ways, I opened up the door for people who actually wanted to write something to have an opportunity. I only got two volunteers: the first was Fellow Book Monkey and Blogger Bubblegum Tate, who did his two part post on Nietzsche and comic books; the second was Flunky Lover, who just sent me her post which is just perfect for a Written Word Wednesday, especially one like today when my mind is more on my New Obsession than on blogging. So, let's see what's on Flunky Lover's mind, shall we?

I have spent quite a bit of time thinking about what to write. Since I only had 2 pity votes in the "Which Parkerite do you want to hear more about" poll, it's apparent I shouldn't write about myself. Instead I will return to the old idea of the Top 10 book list. In recent weeks I have read several top 10 book lists and one best of 2005 list. One person included very difficult works that I have no interest in reading. (One was Ulysses by James Joyce for those interested). I read for pleasure not to get a brain workout. While a Top 10 list from everybody would be fun, it's unlikely that I would read those books because they are just not my type. In the end that's the only reason for me to see a list would be to get recommendations.

Instead I want to know what type of books are your favorites. I'm always a big proponent in a person knowing himself so I thought this could be interesting. What do your favorite books have in common? The idea originated when I was in nursing school and would go to the library and check out books for Flunky. (The library was better in Kentucky.) I would wander down the SF/Fantasy isle reading tons of book covers and wonder if he would like it. One day I sat and thought about his favorite books. What do they have in common? Flunky likes books about poor, downtrodden, misunderstood, etc. people who overcome their rotten lot in life to do something great like save the world. For example, the Man of His Word series by Dave Duncan in which a stable boy eventually marries the queen and rules the land and the Miles Vorsokigan series by Bujold in which a short, physically impaired man becomes a secret agent extraordinaire. I have read both these series and enjoyed them quite well but they're not my favorite books.

So what is my book type? I apparently like books containing witty conversation particularly if they are set in 19th century Britain. I love Pride and Prejudice and Emma by Jane Austen. I also love To Say Nothing of the Dog and Passage by Connie Willis. Both of these authors are able to incorporate witty dialogue into a story. I think this is very rare to find.

I asked my brother. His favorite book is The Juror by Grisham. He likes books in which somebody executes some clever plan against the bad guy or really just somebody outsmarting or outwitting somebody else especially if it is unexpected.

What is your book type?

Cap'n Neurotic here again. Figured I'd try to get the ball rolling on this in hopes of shaming at least a couple of blog monkeys into replying.

I can't say as I've ever given a whole lot of thought into what book type is my "favorite," which is interesting, since I've spent quite a bit of time dissecting what sorts of movies and TV shows appeal to me. Some general predilections have popped into my head, and I shall now ramble on about them for a while, with no guarantee of giving you a definitive answer of my tastes.

Like Flunky Lover, I have a love for wit and humor, which is why Connie Willis and Terry Pratchett are two of my favorite authors. I'm also of the mindset that, 9 times out of 10, character trumps plot. If you have likeable, engaging characters, it can make up for a lot of weaknesses elsewhere; take Robert Jordan's never-ending Wheel of Time series for example; I would have been much more willing to continue to stick it out through the lack of plot progression if the books were populated by better characters, but after thousands and thousands of pages of Rand going insane, and the men always assuming the women are stupid and helpless, and the women assuming the same about the men, and nobody actually telling anybody anything . . . I gritted me teeth and bore it up until the point where an entire novel went by without the one character I actually cared about ever making an appearance. I hear tell that Mat played a big role in the next one, but by that point Jordan had lost my good graces. So, um, yeah, characters are important. *steps off soapbox*

But at the same time, I am drawn to books that have the Cool Concept attached; there are so many fantasy novels that are just rip-offs of Tolkien and D&D that when I find one that marches to the beat of its own drummer, I eat it up. That what I love about Dave Duncan's books; each series has its own, inventive set of rules for the world; likewise for Gregory Keye's Waterborn books, and Steven Brust's Taltos books, and David Farland's Runelords books, and all of C.S. Friedman's stuff, and . . . you get idea. I guess you could say that most of my favorite books have a fair degree of "world-building" involved; the more intricate, involved, and inventive the details of the world are, the better; the first Dune novel stands as one of my all-time favorites due to its intricate plot and inventive world-building; I just never felt that any of the follow-ups could quite hold a candle to it. I think this world-building idea bleeds into my love of alternate histories as well.

So, engaging characters, inventive world-building, lots of wit and humor; all of these are aspects which will draw me into a book, and if I can find one with all three *coughDiscWorldcough* then I'm a happy camper.

So, that's me all sorted out, then: who's next?


coronela said...

I actually LOVE detective paperbacks - Agatha Christie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Ngaio Marsh. I could easily read 2 or 3 Agatha Christie books in a weekend. (I also really like detective stories on the radio - Harry Nile stories on XM are great!) I actually just read a good mystery today - The Colorado Kid by Stephen King (mystery, not the Stephen King stuff I used to read in junior high and high school). I also like the classics (I finished Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad a couple weeks ago). Then throw some nice novels in Spanish (Gabriel Garcia Marquez?) in there, too. I don't know what that would really say about me, but that's what I really like to read.

rocket said...

I have been thinking about the books I read and what that says about me. So far I haven't come to a conclusion except that either I need a strong female presence in my life, or I have no patience for and can't relate to the frail fragile lady leads.

I read a broad spectrum of books. I tend to read more in the Fantasy realm. Stories that have a strong female character seem to help. While I don't read many romances, every once in a while I read a sappy novel (Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas had me in tears).

One of my favorite authors is Jeffery Archer, and if you hand me a book, I'll devour it... good or bad.

Cap'n Click/Cluck said...

I'm a fan of mysteries, myself. I grew up reading Nancy Drew. Then moved onto Agatha Christie. Currently I am into children's/teen series. I love the Narnia series and the Harry Potter series. I'm all about reading books where the characters continue from one book to the next and grow along the way.

Have a Clickity/Cluckity Click/Cluck Click/Cluck Day!