January 16, 2014

Book Binge

Last week, I said that I've started the plotting phase of a new novel, and that's true, and I've been working on it, but what I mostly appear to be doing this month is seeing how many words I can stuff into my eyeballs.

I'm in the middle of four books right now, all very different from each other. Next to me is a board charting out the impossible number of books that I imagine I'm going to read in the next couple of months. Today I was reading samples of still other books to decide if I'm going to read them, too. Oh, and of course I've been continuing to read the many blogs I follow to keep up with book news and good stuff to link to.

A bit of this reading has specific writing-related purposes, but most of the current binge is just because I have the time. Normally the time I put into writing keeps me from reading as much as I want to (i.e., constantly). So I'm taking advantage of this between-projects period to consume as many books as possible.

And, yeah, okay, maybe this gluttony of reading means I didn't give quite as much attention to the new story idea as I was intending to this week. It's all still churning around in the background, stewing in all these other words I've been shoveling in.

Good Stuff Out There:

→ Jennifer R. Hubbard offers a great analysis of what causes readers to sympathize with a character: "I'm reading one of those books where, character-wise, my sympathies do not seem to be aligned with the author's. That is, I like the character I'm not supposed to like a heck of a lot more than I like the two characters I am supposed to like."


laurenhat said...

Yay, reading! I look forward to your eventual reviews.

The linked blog entry is great. I have that experience sometimes as well, and I think she covered a lot of the reasons why. I've tried to analyze something similar before in cases where there isn't a contrast -- where it's not that I like character C better than character A; I just don't sympathize with anyone. And while sometimes that's intentional, I think sometimes I am supposed to somewhat sympathize or like the main character (the examples I'm coming up with offhand are The Blind Assassin and White Teeth -- I think I managed to finish the first one but not the second, but IIRC I really didn't like or sympathize with the main character in either case, and I thought maybe I was supposed to). I haven't made a lot of progress figuring out patterns in those cases, mostly, though. But now I feel a bit inspired to try to look for specific points where the character loses the sympathy that I'm inclined to have for any main character at the beginning of a story.

Lisa Eckstein said...

Yeah, I was fascinated by that analysis. When the topic of "failing to sympathize with characters" comes up, I always feel like it's not a problem I encounter much myself, but that might not actually be true. I've read the two books you mention, and I thought they were both great, so I must not have had a big character issue with those. But I can think of other books where I found myself not caring much about the outcome, and that seems character-related, but maybe somewhat different from sympathizing or liking? Something to ponder more.

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