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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Being a Reader in Today's Reading Market

Sometimes being a reader in today’s market is tough. When practically every synopsis out there promises the book in your hands is 100% genius--aka 100% worth your time and money--it can be difficult to determine which books are actually going to be worth your time and money before you sit down to read them.  

Until I gained a keener readerly intuition (yes. Readerly), I'd grab books with great synopses/blurbs that did not deliver what they promised, and I'd get frustrated. *sideways glance*

Ok, I still grab books like that on occasion...but I've learned to be more discerning when reading a back cover.

My point is, there are thousands of great books out there, and I know I'm not the only one who wants to get what a book advertises--before reading 5 mediocre novels that seemed promising but weren't. We want the gem that advertises AND delivers.

At first I thought that it was just me being me; my standards were too high. My reasoning:
  • I analyze everything, from character traits and development to syntax. I won't stop reading a book or dislike it if it isn't stellar in any (or all) of these categories, but the books I really enjoy tend to be stellar in at least two categories.
  • I refuse to finish reading a book with a main character—or a prominent one—I dislike, unless my fascination for him/her outweighs my disgust. Prime example: Legend. I couldn't stand Day or June...but I kept reading because they still intrigued me enough to stick around.
  • If a female character uses the word “gorgeous” to describe a male character she is potentially attracted to, a warning signal sounds. And if it ever happens again, I put the book down immediately. This is especially true if said character describes every male character as gorgeous. Unless the justification for using this word is ultra mega stellar, I will not read the rest of the book, and will discourage others from reading it, too. <---Biggest reader pet peeve ever? Possibly...
  • I mentally burn books that use an abundance of clichés. Thankfully it’s been a good month since I’ve read one like that. Sadly, that last one was so awful it has been branded in my mind ever since. 
Part of my issue may be that I simply can’t get into a book whose characters lack basic intelligence or any semblance of morality….at least not if there is no  reason  for them to be that way. And it had better be a good one. *shakes fist*

Another part is that when I read something that is worth raving about, I never really stop raving about it. *cough* Like everything I've ever read by Tolkien. When I read a bonafide masterpiece, everything else I read after that seems to lose what little sparkle it had in the first place. It’s difficult to go back to mundane after seeing possibility--what could be--shine. 

So really, yeah, my expectations might be too high.

But in the end, I'm not interested in settling because, after all, I am investing my time and money. (Readers have stakes, too :-). It should be worth it, no?

Are there any pet peeves that keep you from reading the rest of a book—or picking one up to begin with? Or are you more of a settler (not of Catan, that's a given)?

What frustrates you most about today's reading market?

 Conversely, what things do you ‘love’ about today’s market?

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