Top Ten Tuesday: Unpopular Bookish Opinions
I don’t know if all of these are unpopular, they are just opinions/arguments (not the same thing) I rarely see expressed or are expressed and then scorned. But I have a limited exposure.
A lot of these are my ideals. I’m SUCH a mood reader. I feel like I need some escapist reading. I don’t read near enough deep books. But I do think that I should, I just have to have a lot of easy (but still quality) reading on hand, plus ways of planning and motivating myself.
- Show, don’t tell. If I feel like the author is telling me something, forcing something, rather than displaying it, then they’ve failed to convince me (ahem, Jo and Laurie). Books aren’t mere explanations, they are story, art (perfection, okay, maybe an exaggeration). A reason, I think for my avoidance of contemporary fiction.
- Prose, description, characterization, interpersonal relationships, wit, etc. are more important than plot to me, and, (I think) in terms of literary merit at least equal to plot. I feel that this is also why I dislike so much of contemporary writing.
- I dislike the didactic in all forms, and obvious preaching isn’t art, even though some obviously gifted people squeeze it into their books. This goes back to showing, not telling. Y’all, I could find a preacher for anything, but I don’t want preaching, thanks, there is far too much of it already. And I’ve had far too much of it already (and probably done too much of it . . . like now, lol). Again, another reason I tend to avoid contemporary fiction.
- I like my realism idealized (I’m wanting to explore this more later). Basically, when I’m reading a “real” life setting, I’d like it to be idealized, not perfect, just not sordid or mundane or petty.
- Gritty “true to life” isn’t an asset (and isn’t necessarily true to life). Dark doesn’t equal deep. “Realism” can be vicarious reading or voyeurism. I want to escape reality and/or have my mind, ideals, etc. uplifted.
- I like my fantasy realistic. I don’t even know how to describe what I mean about that, but maybe I just mean well-written? I guess I want believable circumstances in a fantasy world, exciting, fanciful, yes, but still “human” I guess? Actually, now that I’m thinking of it, I generally prefer, low fantasy, and this is probably part of why.
- Quality over quality. All books are NOT equally good, well-written, etc. Taste and comprehension are two different things. You can like different genres from other people. But sometimes one genre may be notorious for being shallow and silly.
- Reading is not a hobby. Everyone who can read is a reader. People who don’t regularly read are still readers. Everyone should read as a form of mental exercise, to learn, to be inspired, I think reading for entertainment is good, but that is not the sole purpose of reading, rather an additional purpose.
- Interpretation isn’t up to the readers. Reading comprehension matters, like listening matters. The author chose specific words, for specific reasons. Obviously, we are going to disagree, not understand, view things through our own lenses. But we should try to understand what the author is saying. And then form opinions on what is said, described, etc. Not the actual meanings.
- Reading well matters. Our brains are muscles, reading well is important to our personal development, to our knowledge, to our comprehension, to our families, to our culture, to society, to life. And I don’t mean “current” event copy+paste type reading. I mean read just a tad beyond your comprehension, and then when you get comfortable, a tad more beyond that.
Yes to realistic fantasy – I like high fantasy, but the author has to follow the rules of the world, and I’m always more interested in the human stories than the dragons and stuff. I think high fantasy has more opportunities for heroics and big decisions and complicated politics and I love all that! Preachiness in books drives me mad too – mostly though, because you can suddenly sort of hear the author’s voice rather than the characters, and it sort of takes you out of the story?
Definitely agree about the human stories part, that was what I enjoyed about Harry Potter (and the whole concept of the magical world/school), the rest of the stuff wasn’t that great.
I guess that part of the reason I don’t love high fantasy is the higher stakes, and they often aren’t done well or are done at the expense of something else in the story? Like I know and appreciate Tolkien’s genius, but I can’t love Lord of the Rings because he’s going for epic while I like character development, I greatly prefer the Hobbit.
As too the preachiness, I just don’t like being told what to do imperiously (or let’s be real, at all) for one, for another, a good artists, shows/displays/convinces, not tells. I think some preachiness you can suddenly be out of the story, but sometimes the preachiness is still in tone with the story I guess, if they are not great authors. But sometimes good authors can tend towards preachiness like I’m thinking of Wendell Berry and Louisa May Alcott.
I couldn’t agree with your list more.
I agree with a WHOLE lot of these opinions! Glad I found your blog through this meme!
I love Top Ten Tuesday, especially when they are as thought provoking as this topic.