So last week I reviewed Almost Like Being in Love, which is an epistolary novel. And I kind of mentioned I had had a prejudice against the format (until I read The Color Purple for my English Lit. course last year and discovered it wasn't so scary after all). It made me think a little about the reading prejudices I've broken and those I've left to break.
I'm not talking about genre here, more about technique, style and presentation.. Whether or not there are things that put you off a book, whereby all you do is open the book, look at the first page and put it back on the shelf.
First up is a biggie - the first person protagonist.
For the longest time I wouldn't read a book if it were written in the first person - a case of open, scan, see the word 'I', and shelf return. Then one day the book I picked up from the shelf started...
"There are some men who enter a woman's life and screw it up forever."*And suddenly I didn't care that this was first person I just wanted MORE, and because of that a whole new world of stories opened up to me.
Funny how it often just takes one book or author to expand your horizons.
At the risk of sounding odd (lol), another shelf returner for me was the character list. Opening a book and finding a five page list of characters - Yeesh!. I think this is partly to do with the anticipation that you aren't going to be able to keep all these characters straight in your head, that you'll get halfway through and have to give up through sheer confusion so why waste the time in the first place?
Then one day I started reading the Falco series by Lindsey Davis, broadly speaking a detective series set in Ancient Rome. Actually the first book of the series I picked up was The Accusers (14th in the series, but that's another story). And there was a list of dramatis personae.
M. Didius Falco - a principled informer (who needs the money)Now the reason I've come to love them in the Falco series is because they're usually quite witty and actually tell you something about the characters so they're well worth reading before you start the book proper. Suddenly it was amusing and actually part of the book - rather than being intimidating.
Helena Justina - the guardian of his ethics
Julia Junilla & Sosia Favonia - their children (never ill; never naughty; never loud)
I admit I haven't lost all of my prejudices. I still shelf return books written in the present tense because it makes my brain hurt when I read it. (Though I am giving serious consideration to picking up The Strongest Shape and giving it another go.)
What about you? Any reading prejudices or am I alone in my quirks and foibles? There's a copy of Grimspace by Ann Aguirre up for grabs. It will be given away to one of the commenters on this post, commenter to be chosen at random by random numbers at random.org. Hopefully on Friday if I don't have a migraine again! If not, then on Saturday.
* - One for the Money by Janet Evanovich