Book Snob vs Book Lover

Vivid_Sparkup_img1_lg._V339163125_This picture actually reminds me of myself as a kid. I used to come home from the library with stacks of books and my mother would ask me why I checked out that many as there was no way I could finish them all before they were due back. But I always did. I loved to read. I still do. That said, my tastes have changed pretty dramatically.

I can remember a time when I rented a wonderful movie for my mother while I was home visiting – something very serious and dramatic with amazing performances, I’m sure – and she told me she preferred Hallmark movies. Say what? I commented that they weren’t real life. Her response was that she’d had decades of “real life” and only wanted to be entertained. At the time, I didn’t understand that at all but now I do.

I’ve always aspired to be an author. What stops me? Well, that’s an entirely different blog post so let’s stick with my affinity for words and the way they’re put together. I recall writing a story in grade school and purposefully leaving it in my desk for the teacher to find as a way of getting feedback without asking for it. She returned it to me the next day and noted in the margin how impressed she was with my story and especially with my use of the word “albeit.” Lord knows where I’d stumbled across that word but I was determined to use it and glad she noticed.

I spent years reading literary novels and taking note of impressive sentence structure or evocative descriptions. I aspired to be those authors and the things I wrote were deplorable and contrived. I’ve probably started several novels over the years and eventually tossed them all in the trash. Fortunately, there was no computer tracking in those days so there’s no record of them.

I stubbornly ordered book after book of literary writing and turned my nose up at things like romance novels. And then one day I found myself throwing out a book that I had labored to finish. It might have wonderful reviews and a plethora of awards, but I found I couldn’t finish it. I read at night when I get into bed and I’d pick it up each night and spend precious time trying to figure out what I’d read the night before. Clearly, it wasn’t holding my fancy.

It took me another few years to slowly, ever so slowly, start buying books that sounded like they might have a plot that would hold my interest so I’d at least remember what was going on at the point I left off the night before. Could it be that I’m older and have less of an attention span? Yes. Could it be that I’ve become my mother and after decades of “real life,” I just want entertainment? Absolutely.

Please note: I still have no interest in romance novels but that may be more a product of being too damn old for romance than a dislike of the genre. Nowadays, I love mysteries and fiction that takes place in different time periods and/or other countries.

It’s interesting to see how my tastes have changed over the years and to wonder how much good entertainment I missed when I was younger.

 

 

 

Science Fiction Escapes Me

Must be my age. For the most part I can’t get into science fiction. I’m old-fashioned enough that I love to watch the development of a multi-faceted character or be surprised by believable twists and turns in a superior plot. So for me, most science fiction just doesn’t cut it. I find myself trying to believe in a universe with bizarre characters that seem to act pretty human. That in itself is unbelievable. And if that’s the case, why not make a movie with humans and focus on the story rather than try to dress it up to make it interesting? Do you need something outrageous in order to hold the audience’s attention? Maybe so. Maybe we’re back to the generational differences and what we were raised with.

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I have no idea who the character in that photo is supposed to be or even if it possessed human-like characteristics; I’m just using it as an example. But if I went to a movie where this animal saved the world from destruction and rescued the leading lady, I’d come out of the theatre feeling like I’d wasted my money.

I haven’t seen “The Shape of Water” and I know it’s supposed to be a beautiful movie, but I will probably never see it because the idea of someone falling in love with an aquatic creature is ever so slightly incredible. If the idea is to tell a great love story about two misfits in the world, then I ask again, why can’t that be done with regular characters and a damn good plot?

I remember a boyfriend I had in college taking me to see the first “Star Wars.” I’ve never seen another one. Of course, we were on the verge of breaking up so anything he liked, I didn’t, but putting that aside, he thought the movie was the best thing to come out since sliced bread. I thought it was cowboys and Indians in space and totally unbelievable. You knew from the very beginning how the story would end and that nothing would be very surprising.

Having said all that, I loved ET. Go figure.

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I never got into science fiction novels either. I had a cousin who once sent me a box of science fiction books and after slogging my way through a couple of them, I ended up tossing them out because I couldn’t force myself to finish them. I guess it boils down to personal preference and is just another illustration of how different we all are. For those of you who love the genre, I say, “Go for it.” I’ll stick with mystery and fiction.