Tuesday, October 28, 2014
I'm reading the opening of a novel (that shall remain nameless) and I hate everyone in it. Well, except for one minor (so far) character to whom I am pretty much indifferent. And there are situations (non sexual) that make me want to go take a bath -- and remember, I live on a farm where manure and chicken butchering are facts of life.
So I'm asking you all -- what would make you quit reading something? (Beyond boredom or bad writing, I mean.) Different people have different triggers for throwing a book across the room or deciding to read no farther. A few people have put my books down for the 'bad language,' With me it's animal abuse -- but that's not the problem with this book -- it's just a matter of a bunch of people I don't particularly want to spend time with.
I have finished some books that creeped me out -- and then wished that I could forget them, I have finished others, in spite of the animal abuse, or whatever, and felt that I learned something valuable -- but that I would never read that book again. (And mostly, if I really like a book, I do re-read.) The play "Death of a Salesman" is one that I read and recognized as powerful and moving -- so much so that I would never choose to go see it.
As I said, the problem with this particular story is a bunch of unlikable characters and a pathetic/semi-crazy protagonist. I'm waiting for some redeeming qualities in the unlikable characters and some way of understanding or connecting with the main character.
A more or less standard rule of writing fiction is to have a main character that people like or identify with or somehow feel connected to -- so that the reader feels invested in finding out what happens to that main character. (An exception to this -- and of course there are exceptions, would be Ron Rash's Serena -- the title character is so staggeringly evil that the reader may well be hypnotized, like a deer in the headlights, into staying with the story. And Rash's beautiful writing doesn't hurt.)
So, I'm asking again -- what makes you put a book down? And can you remember a novel with a main character you hated but were fascinated by?
Sunday, October 26, 2014
We had a second celebration for John's birthday last night. Ethan made a quick trip up from Atlanta; I made a chocolate cake. (One of the best and moistest ever, though I say it myself --'Siren's Chocolate Cake' from the SOUTHERN JUNIOR LEAGUE COOKBOOK.)
Four layers with freshly made citrus marmalade between the layers.
And fried chicken -- I forgot to take a picture till most of it was done. John is convinced that fried chicken on the wood stove in the ne plus ultra of fried chicken and I have to agree it was pretty delicious.
A mostly homegrown, mostly Southern feast -- mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, and green beans. The green beans were the ringers -- store bought and briefly steamed rather than cooked forever with fat back in the way of the South..
Of course there was more bubbly -- and I ended the evening feeling a bit weak and silly.
But the kittehs refused to do this post for me.