Do you always read books in the same genre?
September 25, 2012
When I look at my entire Kindle library, I find I am in a rut.
Not really. If a rut means I keep doing the same thing over and again and feel like I’m stuck, that’s not what I mean. I like the rut I’m in.
If I have my drothers, I prefer to read thrillers. I like books that start with a bang, move quickly to the next bang, twist and turn, have some more bangs and surprise me at the end.
Along the way, I want the characters to tell me the story in short bursts of dialogue, use plain language and feel like real people. I don’t want to find out that the hero is an avatar. If he is, I can’t relate to him, because I’m not an avatar myself.
I want an occasional medium length paragraph that slows the action down and sets the scene. I don’t want the author to overdo it, though. He should paint a picture of a house or a train station, but maybe leave out a description of each flower in the landscaping.
I don’t mind an occasional cuss word because in my experience most people resort to strong language when they are in desperate situations. But I don’t like to read strings of vulgarity. If all I see is the F-word, I feel like the author doesn’t have much to say and is trying to make up for a weak plot by adding crassness to the mix.
I want the hero to face impossible odds and take it in stride. I want him or her to be likable and flawed. If she loves someone, I don’t care to enter the bedroom with her and her lover.
I want to laugh now and then between killings.
It’s an extra added benefit if the hero is a reformed something or other. Mostly, I want stories about real people in conflict with evil. I want justice to prevail, or at least something close to justice, maybe plain old fairness.
When I look back over the years, I can see how my taste in books has changed. When I was young, I thought a good book needed to be boring, long and erudite. It needed to make me feel depressed somewhere along the way and make me agonize over the limits of my vocabulary. If I had to read a book with a dictionary clutched in my hand, I thought I must have found a winner.
That sort of stuff is behind me now. Give me Robert Parker. Let me hear Jesse Stone deliver a one liner. I want a book I can read in a few hours. One that makes me root for the good guys and wish ill on the bad ones.
So, I’m stuck in a genre. But I like it.
How about you? Do you read a lot of different types of books, or do you stick with one genre? If you are a genre reader, which one do you call home?
(Stephen Woodfin’s novel LAST ONE CHOSEN, is one of the Top Five Finalists for the Best Indie Books of 2012 Award in the thriller genre.)