Hey, gang! Hope you're having a good week.
I check in over at the www.eHarlequin.com discussion boards almost every day (it's a good way to spend my lunch--no turning on the TV or my time management schedule is doomed!). And on the site this year, Harlequin.com is sponsoring something called the 10,000 book challenge, in which teams of readers have pledged to read 10,000 books (not necessarily all Harlequins, and certainly not all new/current releases) over the course of 2007. Last year they had individual pledges from readers to read 100 books and it was a smashing success. They encourage those readers to then blog about the books they've read. (I'm sharing the details in case anyone is interested in checking out reader opinions on a huge range of books)
As I skimmed through some of those blogs (no way could I read them all! How cool that there are so many intelligent, energized super readers out there!), an interesting discussion I came across was on how one reader can read a book and say wow, it's a keeper--and recommend it to a friend--and that same friend can read the very same book and just say okay. And vice versa.
So what is it that makes a book become a keeper for you? What makes it a classic for one person, but only a pleasant diversion or even a pet peeve for someone else?
Of course, there are personal tastes involved. Some readers like lots of steam or more realistic violence and are hard to shock, while others prefer a tamer read. Some like more mystery with their suspense, while others lean toward the thriller end of things. Some are into feel-good comedies; others prefer emotional angst. But assuming that a friend knows your general taste in books, what makes the difference between wow and ho-hum for you?
Is it your particular mood at the time you're reading the book? Have you read so many books that it's hard to surprise you anymore? Is it the characterizations? The tone of the writing? Are there certain topics/storylines that make you squirm?
I, for example, love JANE EYRE. It's my favorite classic romance. I love the strong heroine who overcomes adversity and winds up with a stronger spirit and the ability to not settle for less than happiness in the end. Look at what I write--I, of course, love a dark, tortured, brooding hero (who, incidentally, is smart enough to know a real woman when he sees her--whether she's plain or not, he sees her spirit and intelligence and falls in love despite himself) like Edward Rochester. But others think it's a snoozer. I suppose what draws me to that book are the characterizations, the passion hidden beneath the mores of the time period, and the tone/atmosphere of the setting.
So...what makes a book really memorable for you?
(We're having more snow and ice and COLD! here in Nebraska)