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I have a burning need to know stuff and I love asking awkward questions.

Saturday, December 02, 2023

The Bookish A-Z Hot or Not Tag 

A - Audiobooks  

I can certainly see their utility – especially for people on the move – but they’ve never really appealed to me. I’d much rather sit down somewhere cosy and read the physical version. [Not] 

B - Bildungsroman. Dealing with a person's formative years or spiritual education.  

I don’t mind if a character's formative years are PART of a story, even more than an introductory chapter or two, but I don’t think I’d find a great deal of interest if this was the WHOLE story... at least not more than once or twice. [Not]  

C - Children's Books 

As I’ve said at various times, I hardly read anything as a child (hard to believe I know!) so missed out on just about ALL of the standard children’s books. I’m making up for that, a bit at least, and they’re more coming in 2024. To be honest I’ve actually enjoyed the books I’m managed to read so far and am looking forward to reading more – decades late, but better late than never. [Hot]  

D – Digital 

Digital/or E books are very handy indeed – especially if you travel or on holiday. Physical books are both bulky and heavy if you have to lug them around. But I’ve never really needed to do that so haven’t indulged digital reading – at least not yet. [Not]  

E – Experimental 

The 1970’s in particular was an experimental time in SO many ways – including Literature. I read quite a few SF novels and short stories that would fit into this category around that time and generally found them to be very hit or miss. The form of novels, or indeed any kind of literature, has settled into various types/ways for good reason. I can see why people feel the need/interest to both write and read experimental Lit, but generally I find it more irritating than enlightening. [Not]  

F – Fantasy 

For Fantasy, I think I need to be in the right mood/headspace. I suppose this stems from my basic scepticism which means that any fantasy world or magic system need to make sense – in the context of the novel. I’ve come across too many books – especially in Urban Fantasy – where the author feels free to ‘make shit up’ because its FANTASY so there’s no rules. WRONG! However, I’ve also read some excellent Fantasy which was both gripping and well-constructed. I’d go so far as to say that some of the best books I’ve ever read have been Fantasy – but also some of the worst books too! Saying all that, and looking to read at least some Fantasy next year, I’d have to say [Hot] - just!    

G - Graphic Novel  

A friend of mine was super into Graphic novels and spent a fair bit of her energy trying to get me into them too. She failed. I can certainly see the attraction and I honestly love the artwork in some of the graphic novels I’ve ‘read’ - Akira being one of my favourites. BUT – what I found incredibly frustrating was the lack of content. What I look for in a novel is something to fire my imagination, not to have someone else’s imagination given to me. Honestly, I find graphic novels both boring and disposable – sacrilege to some I know! Definitely [Not]  

H – Horror 

I’ve never been a ‘real’ Horror fan – in books or movies. Of course, Horror movies these days are quantified by the number of (generally young/pretty) people killed and how many gallons of blood are expelled onto floors/walls which means that I have zero interest. I’ve read a few Horror novels over the years (The Shining is probably the one that disturbed me the most) but I’ve never really understood the idea of fear as entertainment, so such things tend to be few, far between, and just as likely to be read by accident rather than design. [Not]   

I - Inspirational  

Over the years I’ve tried a few so-called ‘inspirational’ novels, usually on the recommendations of friends. The vast majority of them have been busts and I generally find most of them trite, insipid and borderline offensive. Usually just the word ‘inspirational’ on a cover will be enough for me to reject it. [Not] 

J - Journalism  

Good journalists often make good author’s when they stay in their area of expertise. I’ve read some excellent in-depth studies of regions, people or events authored by journalists who often have access to the people at the heart of things as well as the ability to get complex subjects across in an accessible style. If I see that a journalist, especially one I know, like and respect, has written a book on a subject that interests me, that usually a slam dunk. [Hot].  

K - Kitsch. Has a popular or sentimental appeal.  

As anyone who knows me can tell you – I don’t ‘do’ cute, so anything kitsch just wouldn’t appeal. I’m far too hard-headed and cynical for that sort of thing. Plus, I might do myself an injury with all that eye-rolling. [Not]. 

L – Library 

I used to practically LIVE in my local library after I got the reading bug but, since having increasing amount of disposable income, haven’t visited any for years. I know where my local library IS but have yet to enter through its doors. In some areas I imagine that I have more books on the subject than they do. Unfortunately [Not].  

M – Mystery 

Let me think about this for a while... I do LOVE me a good mystery. Not just in crime novels, which goes without saying, but in all genres. I LOVE trying to figure things out and, especially, getting there ahead of the author. A well-crafted mystery novel is a thing of beauty and getting lost in one – in more ways than one – is a great way to keep your brain alive and stave off dementia or at least I do HOPE so! [Hot]   

N - Non-Fiction  

Around 50% of my reading these days is non-fiction, mostly History. I see no reason why that should change going forward. Non-fiction has become a major staple of my reading, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Definitely [Hot]. 

O – Omnibus 

Not 100% sure what this means apart from a collection of novels in a single volume. I do have a few of those (hopefully at least one – with three books inside – will be read next year) but only because the original single novels are difficult to get these days. [Not]  

P – Poetry 

To be honest, I never ‘got’ poetry. I’ve tried from time to time, and I’ve certainly liked, indeed loved, a few poems (and memorised one or two over the years) but I could never imagine reading a whole book of poetry and enjoying it. [Not].  

Q - Quests. When the protagonist goes on a quest physical or spiritual.  

I do LOVE a good bit of questing when it’s done right. As a technique or form it’s a great way, at least potentially, to get you man character(s) from A to Z with interesting/dangerous adventures along the way. Plus, as someone who has spent FAR too many hours questing in computer games, I find the whole idea very comfortable and cosy. [Hot]. 

R - Romance  

I don’t mind the odd bit of ‘romance’ or ‘love interest’ in a novel, but a WHOLE book about it? No, thanks! SO not my thing... [Not] 

S - Science Fiction  

Years ago, back in my youth, this was my ‘go to’ subject. These days I probably manage something like 6-10 SF books a year, which doesn’t feel like anything like enough. I’m looking to increase my Sci-Fi reading next year, but I’m not 100% sure with what yet! [Hot] 

T - Translation. Books translated from one language into another.  

I’ve become a BIG fan of translated works and actively look out for them. They’ve actually accounted for (again) some of the best books I’ve ever read and I’m eager to continue reading them. Most definitely [Hot]. 

U - Übermensch. The superman or the extraordinary human. Characters who can do everything. 

Oh, there’s nothing SO boring as a ‘superman’ A good character, and especially a great character, has flaws that they overcome – or learn to deal with in other ways – allowing them to grow as a person (which is often fascinating to ‘watch’). A ‘perfect’ character cannot, by definition, ‘grow’ or learn or change. Then what’s the point? [Not].  

V - Victorian. Literature from 1837 to 1901.  

Most definitely. The Victorian period produced so many English-language Classics that it's hard to keep up. As I’m making a very conscious effort to read more Classics this period is a deep mine for me, so [Hot]. 

W – Western 

I’ve only read a single Western so far and quite enjoyed it. I LOVE the genre in movies, but this love hasn’t (so far at least) transferred over to literature. At the moment I’m not sure if I have ANY Westerns tucked away in any of my book piles, but I would like to dip my toe back into the genre, if I get a chance. If I had the choice I’d pick ‘warm’, but I’d have to err on the side of [Not] just at the moment.   

X - X Rated  

If that means ‘erotic’ I’d have to say a hard no. Sex scenes in books (and movies) annoy me more than anything else – I often skip/skim them in books and fast-forward on DVD. Most of the time they’re there purely for titillation and often show a director's lack of story-telling ability. I imagine that a book dedicated to such things would bore me stiff. This would probably be the same with ultra-violence. OK, violence often shows up in my reading – crime, war, SF stuff – but as part of the plot, rather than the main plot itself. Like sex, violence without a reason in a novel is both pointless and, more often than not, extremely dull. [Not].  

Y - Young Adult  

I have read the ‘odd’ (and sometimes VERY odd) YA book, but often by mistake rather than design. Obviously, given their target demographic, they often deal with subjects that I have little interest in (Romance for example) and, again with demographics, in a less ‘adult’ way that I like, want and need. They can be mildly entertaining, but I think I have enough adult books to read already. [Not] 

Z - Zeitgeist. Spirit or mood of the times. 

I’m definitely interested in books that try to determine or understand any particular eras zeitgeist (which is actually another one of my all-time favourite words!) and I’m hoping to prioritise a few of them in 2024. I am, I confess, rather confused and more than a little disappointed by world events these days, so to lessen that I’m hoping that a few smart people have figured out at least some of the shit going down out there and will let me/us know. [Hot]  


Stephen said...

I was tempted to do then I saw Marian's video response. What was the western you read? I'm guessing without searching that it was Lonesome Dove or True Grit. True Grit is popular among non-western readers because of the narration and narrator -- a teenage girl on a quest to avenge her murdered father.

CyberKitten said...

Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey.

True Grit is on my 'interest' list. Plus it being on of my all time fave westerns.