Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Literary Ponderings Part I: "Deal-Breakers"

 Literary Ponderings Part I:
"Deal-Breakers"

A few years ago I stumbled upon Foreveryoungadult.com.  It was a good day.  The ladies at Forever Young Adult have mastered the art of YA book reviews and drinking games.  The two don't normally go hand in hand, but somehow they manage brilliantly.  Plus they often have discussions on the Gilmore Girls.  They make me want to do jazz hands while reading.

Anyway...on one of their blog posts they started talking about literary "deal-breakers".  We all have them.  Plot points and book characteristics that drive you batty.  They're kind of like nails on a chalkboard when you're reading.  All of this reading and writing got me thinking.  What are my literary "deal-breakers"?

(Sidenote:  They aren't universal.  Occasionally one of the items from the following list takes me by surprise.  But generally speaking...here we go!)

1) Talking Animals - This is definitely numero uno on my list.  I can't fully explain other than to say if animals really do think and talk to one another, I'm not sure I want to know what my cat thinks about me.  She could quite possibly be planning a coup.  I just can't wrap my mind around animals with human characteristics.  There are exceptions of course.  Watership Down is just brilliant, and I would love to meet Aslan, but given a choice, I'd rather do yard work than read a book narrated by a talking animal.  Have I mentioned my aversion to yard work?

2)  Midlife Crisis - "I'm about to go all selfish on you and leave for another country to find myself even though I'll figure out I knew myself all along, I just didn't want to be with you in the first place."  Get over yourself!  I probably shouldn't judge.  I might one day have a midlife crisis and be a total crazy person.  But geez...whiny much!  Maybe that should have been #2 instead...whiny characters.  I wish all books came with a warning if characters are going to be excessively whiny.  How I handle so much teen angstyness, I don't know?!

3)  Symbolism & Metaphors - "What I'm saying isn't really what I mean, and what I mean could mean something different to you, and to me, and to him..."  Just tell me the point already!  Personally I like to be hit over the head with the moral of the story.  I read to escape.  If the author expects too much out of me, ick.  That kind of makes me sound like a lazy, lazy reader.  I like to be challenged, but not left behind if I don't get the great symbolism.

4)  Books Over 400 Pages - So I just totally shamed myself.  Please don't think less of me.  Maybe I've been working with teenagers too long.  Not that all teenagers are allergic to long books, but a vast majority of the ones I meet complain if a book lasts more than 300 pages.  I've noticed lately, though, that I like to get and out pretty quickly in a book.  Maybe because 95% of teen books being published are a part of a series.  Don't prattle on forever.  Entertain me and then be done with it already.  (I'm hanging my head embarrassed.)

5)  It Was Just A Dream - How dare you!  I'm looking at you Life of Pi.  I suspended belief for you.  I made it through man eating islands and hungry tigers.  I stuck with you, and you pull that...that vague, dreamy ending.  AHHH!  Unfortunately this "deal-breaker" isn't discovered until the very end, but what a quick way to ruin my day

So there you go, my literary "deal-breakers".  If you've got some time, I'd love to hear what makes you crazy!


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