Parts of the Whole

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Wanted: A Book Without a Bite

The Cable Guy bought me a Kindle for Valentine's Day two years ago. I have finished maybe five books in that time, two of them were not mindless dribble. It's possible I only remember the plot to one. Considering I come from a family of avid readers and tend to read rather quickly (although Vanity Fair has taken me fooooooooooooorrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeeevvvvvvvvvvvveeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrr and I'm still not finished), this is rather unusual for me.

If it has words and a title, I'll read it. Except poetry.  I don't do poetry. Or Shel Silverstein, which I guess is technically poetry. Or Hemingway. That's for a later post, one written after a glass or two or five of wine (that's the only way to do Hemingway). I don't believe in censorship or burning books or anything that limits a person's right to read whatever they want. In fact, if you tell me I shouldn't read something, it's most likely the next thing I have on my bedside table. Reading is also my biggest inspiration when it comes to writing. Often an article or even a blog post from someone else will spark something in me. It's definitely true about the recipes I make.

A quote from Groucho Marks about reading instead of watching television

The thing is, I can't find anything worth reading. Every time I turn around, there's another vampire book or werewolf book or half vampire-half werewolf book. What's wrong with people?! Totally fleshy, living, breathing with a normal amount of hair people?! It's pretty hard to relate to a character that heals instantaneously when I'm still sporting a chicken pox scar from twenty years ago.

Now, I get the escapism aspect of fiction, I really do. My genres of choice are fantasy and science fiction (*Nerd Alert* There may or may not be a rather extensive collection of dragon paraphernalia in our garage, as well as a vast knowledge of Star Trek trivia in my head). You don't get any further from reality than that, yet the best writers still manage to create a world that has something the reader can identify with.

My biggest frustration is the absolute lack of strong female characters, which is only compounded by the overabundance of aloof uninterested males. I would rather a female lead forego a relationship than have to read another conversation featuring what appears to be a caveman. I also love love love when strength is portrayed as a man's inability to stop a woman from doing something incredibly stupid. Believe me, I'm as bullheaded as they come. Rarely do I give an inch when it comes to anything, but do I honestly believe The Cable Guy would just let me walk out a door to confront the coming apocalypse? Yeah, that's a big fat no.

So, I guess I'll stick with rereading the classics. Scarlett and Jo never disappoint. Or if anyone has a suggestion that doesn't include adolescent undead, I'm all ears.