I can count the number of books I’ve conscientiously abandoned on one hand. I may need to take off one or both shoes to count the number of books that I’ve temporarily set aside intending to revisit, and that number is probably a low single-digit percentage of the books I’ve read overall. I don’t think that’s a bad track record.
Given my current pursuit, especially, I think there’s a lot to learn from every story, both those in my genre and not, both those I adore and those with which I am not all that enamored. I’m definitely more judgmental about the books I’m reading, lately. It’s a whole new point of view, reading both critically and also from a businesslike point of view. I am seeking whatever insight I can about what books make the cut out of so many others that are thwarted or stymied.
Unfortunately, I’ve had a run of bad luck selecting titles I just couldn’t find appealing, no matter how I tried. I toughed out the first book and I abandoned the second. I only finished the third because it was an audio book and the narrator’s voice had the same qualities as Mason Adams, the iconic voiceover actor for Smucker’s preserves. I like jelly, so I kept listening.
The common thread among these books is that none of the main characters have any fire in them. The stakes are nonexistent. Each of them are in vastly different situations, but none of them exhibit any desire to do anything but wander through life acquiescing. No particular inciting incidents occur, and tension never really materializes. Narrative arc, tension, climax – all absent for all intents and purposes.
Realism is one thing, but without heightened circumstances, what’s the point?
Now, these are all critically acclaimed authors and novels. Am I being too hard on them?