This week’s musing asks…
Do you care if the book’s storyline is unrealistic? Will you keep reading, or will you set the book aside?
Well, let me muse on that a minute....
Ok, after careful consideration, I would say...it depends.
On the one hand, there are whole genres that by their very nature are "unrealistic", right? Science fiction...fantasy...
While they are not necessarily what I most commonly read, I do read things like that from time to time and have no problem suspending my disbelief for awhile, in the context of the story. Take for example a book I read..and loved...recently, The Kitchen Daughter. Not to give too much away, (at least until I finally sit down and write my review) there is a certain 'magical' element to the story. Before I read the book and was just hearing about it from some other reviews, some folks seem to have a problem with that aspect of the story. But when I actually read it, I found that I didn't at all in the context of the story. Now if someone I knew told me these things happened to them, yes, maybe it would give me pause, or have me looking in the Yellow Pages for psychiatrists, but I thought the author totally pulled it off in the book. I think a good writer can create a world that may not be realistic, but in ways is more real than real life...if that makes sense.
On the other hand, in my favorite sort of books, mysteries and thrillers, I really think the author has to play it pretty darn straight. I think it is just the nature of the genre. Some sorts of books can have a bit of room to wander and some don't.
I think what is always true is that how the characters act and react to whatever happens in the story has to be realistic. Whether in the middle of a crime spree in present day Anytown, USA or on the evil planet Mortis in the year 2500, if we are dealing with humans, they have to react in ways that are realistic according to human nature. If you find yourself saying "No one would ever do or say that!" ...well, then the author starts to lose me. Now, of course if they are aliens, I will cut them some slack.
The question raises another issues and that is the the whole setting the book aside thing.
I am not totally sure why, but I hate to not finish a book.
I remember reading something a long time ago about life being too short to spend it reading a book you were not enjoying and I thought it was very true. But somehow, I still have a problem actually doing it.
Part of the problem may be if I am reading a book that I received from a published or whoever. I feel a big obligation then to try to soldier through it and finish it. I admit sometimes it makes little sense. If I am hating it at page 100, I think I will still be hating it, and be resentful of the time I wasted on it, at page 400. Still, I have done it a number of times.To a degree, since I sort of promised to read it in return for getting the book, I think I have an obligation to give it my best. I guess the question is how far I have to take that obligation. Or maybe I am just a very hopeful person and think the book is going to turn around.
No, that can't be it.
But I do it with others books as well, books I have bought or books from the library...so, as I said, I am well aware it makes little sense. But I just hate to give up!
If anyone has any suggestions how I can overcome this, feel free to make a suggestion. Too many books, too little time!