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Old 09-30-2010, 04:56 AM   #1
GraceKrispy
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How do you read your fiction?

I recently wrote a review of a story I thought was interesting and had some great qualities, but about which, ultimately, I was less than completely enthusiastic.

I've been thinking about that review a lot in the past several days because I felt there was quality in the writing, but I couldn't get myself totally behind it. In my original review, and in my "edited" addition, I noted that I think the main reason is that I couldn't immerse myself into the story because too much was given to me. I felt a bit like I was reading an interesting history of an adventure rather than something where I was actively engaged in making inferences and trying to predict outcomes.

So my question to you is: Do you need to engage in the story and feel a part of it to fully enjoy it? And what does that engagement look like for you? Or is reading an interesting and detailed accounting of a story enough for you to fully enjoy it?
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Old 09-30-2010, 01:35 PM   #2
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I need characters I can relate to, otherwise I lose interest.
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Old 09-30-2010, 01:43 PM   #3
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To me, engagement means enjoying the characters and story so much that I "lose" myself in the story. The room around me seems to fade out and I envision the story as it unfolds. I don't want to be led by the hand and told everything in painstaking detail -- I love authors who give me credit for being intelligent and paying attention.
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Old 09-30-2010, 01:45 PM   #4
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my fiction has to grab me immediately, other wise I ignore it. That's a big ask for a lot of books.
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Old 09-30-2010, 02:22 PM   #5
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fantastic characters usually do it for me! that, and point of view... I prefer to stay in the head of 1 character, thank you very much
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Old 09-30-2010, 02:36 PM   #6
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Me, personally, I like to read one letter after the other until I've finished the book. I dunno... but it seems to me that taking such a basic approach and letting all the hi-falutin' folderol like 'visualizing' or 'fantasizing fall to the ayside is the best approach.



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Old 09-30-2010, 02:55 PM   #7
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Me, personally, I like to read one letter after the other until I've finished the book. I dunno... but it seems to me that taking such a basic approach and letting all the hi-falutin' folderol like 'visualizing' or 'fantasizing fall to the ayside is the best approach.



Derek
Don't you find that really slow? Have you tried, one word after another? you will surprised how much quicker you can get through a good book!
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Old 09-30-2010, 11:42 PM   #8
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I can usually get past a slowish beginning, but it definitely helps when it's immediately gripping. Interesting characters really help too.

Interesting point about being in just one character's head per book.... I tend *not* to read chapter titles for some reason, and it really takes me a few minutes to get the hang of books that switch pov with different characters, and indicate it by the chapter titles. I don't mind books like that, but I really like being with one character too.
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Old 09-30-2010, 11:43 PM   #9
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8/10 books I read all the way through before starting another. Some I put aside because they bore me at the moment or are too intense. I will probably finish them. Occasionally I find a book unreadable but not often.
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Old 10-01-2010, 12:30 AM   #10
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So my question to you is: Do you need to engage in the story and feel a part of it to fully enjoy it?
Not really. I read cosy mysteries because they are entertaining enough and don't demand much of me. Sometimes, a book has a really unlikeable main character but so well done that I am intrigued and keep on reading - and hoping he gets the worst possible end. Other times I love the glimpses I get of a secondary character, the way the book is written or the period or the language or I realize the author (i.e. Dan Brown) is manipulating me, the reader, but I've got to see whatever he comes up with. In a way, I have got as many favorite books as moods.
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And what does that engagement look like for you?
It's like being sucked into a completely different world you don't want to quit. When you are at work and smiling stupidly because you will be back to it when you get home. When you try to ration your reading to make it last, because you don't want it to end. When you think fondly of the characters once the book is done. Those books are rare to find. I have to fully empathize with the main characters, enjoy the writing and be intrigued with the story. And I am difficult to please! Mr. Pratchett is managing quite well, though.
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Old 10-01-2010, 01:34 AM   #11
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Don't you find that really slow? Have you tried, one word after another? you will surprised how much quicker you can get through a good book!
I tried reading a word at a time, but I got so sick I filled my room with upchuck... Too fast! Too fast!

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Old 10-01-2010, 01:59 AM   #12
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A good book for me is one where I'll crawl into the skins of the main characters. And where I don't want to finish the book as I'll "never" see those characters again. Problem is, if I think it's a good book, I'll finish it faster as I won't be able to put it down...

I don't mind if I know more, I'll even try to worn the character that's moving into danger! I can't stand dumb characters though.
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Old 10-01-2010, 02:40 AM   #13
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<snip>
So my question to you is: Do you need to engage in the story and feel a part of it to fully enjoy it? And what does that engagement look like for you? Or is reading an interesting and detailed accounting of a story enough for you to fully enjoy it?
No. I choose a book to read like I choose what I want to eat. I pick something to match what I am craving.

Sometimes, I want to read and not have to think too much. It could be a different twist on an old plot, quirky characters, comical situations or characters, or just the historical facts woven into a story.

I choose some books because I know I can pick them up and put them down. They fill fractured free time periods with enjoyable stories. Usually, short stories.

I choose other books because I want to curl up and forget the real world for a few hours. These books are chosen because I am familiar with the author from past experience or I have read reviews by people who have the same taste in books that I have.

A few times, I have started more than one book before I found the book I wanted to curl up with.

What I find most exciting is when one of those books is from an indie author.
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Old 10-01-2010, 03:22 AM   #14
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8/10 books I read all the way through before starting another. Some I put aside because they bore me at the moment or are too intense. I will probably finish them. Occasionally I find a book unreadable but not often.
Same here. I never feel like I have to finish a fiction book if it's not holding my attention. There are so many great fictions books that I'd love to read that it's not worth it for me to force myself through something I'm not really enjoying.
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Old 10-01-2010, 07:43 AM   #15
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I have to be able to feel with and understand the characters. That's why I tend to stick with historical fiction because I love history and that's why I find it more interesting than say a romance novel.

However I have a really hard time not finishing a book even if I'm not really into it. I think there are only a handful of books that I have never finished. In most instances if I don't like the book then I will leave it for a later time and by then I will hopefully enjoy it then.
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