It’s time for the January edition of the Teens Can Write Too! blog chain. I have to admit, I really didn’t feel like writing a post today. I’m stressed and tired and drained, but I promised and I thought you might like to read it, so here it is. This is the prompt:
What are examples of books you’ve thrown across the room with force? Why did you throw them?
First things first – this seemed like quite a negative prompt to me. I wasn’t really sure I wanted to dedicate an entire post to books I’ve hated, although if you’ve read my Twilight article you’ll know it hasn’t been below me in the past! And hot on the heels of that issue came the problem of the fact I don’t throw books. I didn’t want to damage the wall. (Also, if I’m reading on my Kindle then I really don’t want to throw it. I got in debt for that thing! I haven’t paid it all off yet!)
So, I thought I would just talk about the second half of the prompt, which is about why we dislike certain books or what irritates us about them.
The first book I want to talk about is Looking for Alaska. Before I get lynched, I liked the book. I didn’t cry, because I didn’t want to, but I wrote a poem. Since I was going through a bit of a writer’s block period, that counts as a significant emotional response. I’m also a big fan of the Vlogbrothers and I’ve always felt a little guilty about being one of the minority nerdfighters who isn’t a die-hard fan of John Green’s books.
(For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, click here)
So, Looking for Alaska by John Green. Now, the scene I hated in this scene was one of the most controversial scenes in the book that led to it being banned (mainly temporarily, until petitions overruled it) in a lot of schools in America. Admittedly, anything gets banned these days, but basically it’s a scene in which two of the characters have their first experience of a blow job.
John Green has defended this scene saying that it’s intended to show how pathetic and emotionless this physical relationship is compared to the emotional depth of the friendship between Pudge and Alaska. Fine. Whatever. The fact was, that scene almost made me put the book down, no matter why it was there, because I don’t want to read that sort of thing. I was enjoying the rest of it until then. I’ve read the book twice and both times it stood out to me as something that was pretty unnecessary. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but that irritated me. However, I’d heard good things about the book, and I decided to ignore it and carry on.
Unfortunately, it happened to be the scene my sister came across when skimming through the book, leading to a few questions about ‘what sort of book are you reading?’. Ahem.
That’s just one example of a put-off. Another thing I really hate is characters who spend the entire time questioning the reality of the situation. I mean, yes, it’s a good idea to have some realism in there. Girl is trapped in dark room with a snarling beast that looks like it came out of a story book, she’s going to question what they put in her drink. But constantly? Authors use it as a way to get out of the fact their story seems too unrealistic, to make us believe it. It doesn’t work! If I pick up a book about fairies, I know I’m not going to be utterly convinced from page one that it’s a true story. You don’t need to work so hard at it. Sure, don’t have them accept everything at face value without thinking, but, you know, dial it back a little.
Bad writing. Bad writing is obviously the main one. The thing is, this is something that’s fiercely debated, and I can’t give a straight definition of what I consider to be ‘good writing’ and what I consider to be bad writing’. I like writing that isn’t full of description, but at the same time some of my favourite books have slower prose. I prefer books that are less flowery, or books like Terry Pratchett’s that take the mick out of clichéd metaphors and prefer things most people would only dream up when sleep writing. That’s the sort of description I like.
Following a trend. If I pick up a book and it’s exactly the same plot as the last one I read, I won’t be reading the sequel either, because chances are that it’s going to have the same plot as the other book’s sequel, too.
Books that ‘destroy traditional literary concepts’. Okay, don’t shoot me. I admit that some of these unconventional books can be amazing. The Book Thief. No other author I’ve read writes like that, yet it’s one of my favourite books. Child 44. No speech marks, just a new line and a dash like in French. Actually, that seems to be a trend – most of the books I’ve read that are purported to tear down boundaries don’t have speech marks of the sort we’re used to and it’s a bit of a struggle working out who is saying what. I’m reading two of those at the moment.
So, I don’t throw books, and I like to give them a chance. 50 pages and if I like them I’ll have finished them before you look twice. If I don’t like them, I’ll lump it and carry on. If I absolutely detest it, that book is going back to the library and I’m not reading it again.
To finish on a positive note, I’ll talk about a couple of books I would never ever throw, unless it was at somebody who I thought HAD to read them.
Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater. I just love it. It’s similar to a lot of YA fiction and yet it’s so different. I can’t explain it any better than that.
Ptolemy’s Gate by Jonathan Stroud. The entire Bartimaeus series is brilliant – this is the third. I could read this over and over again and I have, to the point where the librarians looked at me oddly and I had to buy my own copy (from a charity shop, perfect condition, £3. Bargain).
Both YA books, but both awesome.
That’s all for me, I’m off to a flute lesson. To stay entertained while I’m gone, why not check out the rest of the chain?
January 5 – http://weirdalocity.wordpress.com/— From My Head
January 6 – http://correctingpenswelcome.wordpress.com — Comfy Sweaters, Writing and Fish
January 7 – http://laughablog.wordpress.com/ — Laugh A Blog
January 8– http://taystapeinc.wordpress.com — Tay’s Tape
January 9 – http://estherstar1996.wordpress.com — Esther Victoria1996
January 10– http://thewordasylum.wordpress.com — The Word Asylum
January 11– http://kirstenwrites.wordpress.com — Kirsten Writes!
January 12– http://miriamjoywrites.wordpress.com — A Farewell to Sanity
January 13 – http://greatlakessocialist.wordpress.com — Red Herring Online
January 14– http://herestous.wordpress.com — Here’s To Us
January 15– http://incessantdroningofaboredwriter.wordpress.com– The Incessant Droning of a Bored Writer
January 16– http://teenscanwritetoo.wordpress.com –Teens Can Write Too! (We will be announcing the topic for next month’s chain)