Tuesday, December 06, 2005

I am weird

I very rarely finish reading novels. I start plenty of 'em, even fall in love with some -- but I lose interest once the plot really starts going.

I've never mentioned this fact to another human being and had them reveal that they are the same way. Most people -- if they're readers at all -- recoil in a sort of disbelieving horror. Make the effort to get engrossed and then vacate the premises? Shocking.

I think the real joy of reading fiction for me is entering another world -- soaking up the setting and tone -- and figuring out the engine that drives the story (usually a set of tensions that define the main character; the working out of this tension is what forms the plot). Once I've got the basic elements, I don't necessarily need to find out exactly which route the author takes to the inevitable conclusion.

I also watch a lot of pilot episodes for TV shows, but don't generally feel the need to check them out again (granted, most TV shows are pretty bad). The shows that continually morph are the ones that tend to grab me: 24, which is so formulaic at its most basic, the real joy is in seeing how the writers manage to wring something interesting from the restrictive format week after week (and they generally succeed), and Lost, which we don't really even know what the show is about yet.

Anyway, I've been reading Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold, and I think I'm going to make it all the way through to the end (partly because it's really good, and partly just to prove to my self that I still can). I'm on page 72, and so far there's been very little plot: the book manages to make it seem that very little is happening while never veering anywhere near boring, and it takes its time coming around to the real plot -- of which we so far have had only hints -- which works well for me. (I wouldn't try to write something like this myself, mind you: you need the kind of crazy skills Bujold has to walk this line without falling off into a big ol' pile o' boring).

This time, I'm going to cross the finish-line!

3 Comments:

Blogger Gary Freedman said...

I rarely get beyond the first few pages of Cliff Notes.

12/06/2005 2:59 PM  
Blogger Robert Burke Richardson said...

^I'm the same way -- seems like all the details and description is missing!

12/06/2005 3:07 PM  
Blogger pijus said...

I can't read any complete book, neither....except if it's a short story or theatre...otherwise, I can't finish it. I think the reason is that I'm very inconstant, I can't read every day and I get lost really easily!
Cheers!!!

12/08/2005 2:55 PM  

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