Friday, 25 July 2014

Good books/ Bad books- part 4

So what do I like in a novel?

Linear narrative, plots centering around individuals, characters in whom readers can invest large emotional capital,and clear resolutions that give emotional pleasure.  
   In fact, that is the definition for the Victorian novel. ("How to Read Novels Like a Professor") And that's what I enjoy!
  However,times change, and,in 1921, Freud and Jung brought a big change in consciousness, resulting in a change in literature. Stream of consciousness!  It only lasted 30 years but changed the simple flow of narrative that I enjoy so much. Some authors still use this style of writing.
   Also, Henry Ford changed the speed of movement and it was felt that readers were impatient with the conventional novel.  So it was replaced by the experimental modernist novel. 
"When men fly and pictures move and sound travels through air, what can you do but try something new!" ("How to Read Novels Like a Professor")
  And now, it seems that "anything goes".  We have a cornucopia of approaches to the novel. An inexhaustible supply of originality.

  But I still favour the old-fashioned storytelling techniques. I love a solid introduction of characters and setting, followed by development of the plot, building to a climax and ending with a clear resolution.  Isn't this what we learned in English classes?  And please- could modern novels still use proper punctuation?  Books often leave out quotation marks.  Irritating!
  A simple sentence can become so interesting with a few literary devices thrown in and great description of both exterior and interior landscape.  I love a good sentence and often stop to reread it or copy it for future enjoyment.  A good sentence! Is that too much to ask?

But I am very aware that my opinions are often not the popular opinion.  I posted this observation at the opening of my blog.  And this will be apparent when I start talking about "Bad Books" -in my opinion. I am hesitant to do this, but I will take a deep breath and proudly announce the books that I think are "bad books"- in my next blog!
   Lisa Moore, a Canadian author, was a panelist for Canada Reads.  She said, "I think a real engagement with a book means that the reader has to chase after the story.... If they know what's happening, then there's no pleasure".
   I strongly disagree. I like the old-fashioned storytelling method-  "Once upon a time..."  It sets a great foundation for the story.  You can learn about the time and place and characters.  That's what I expect from the introduction.  That's the author's responsibility.  Then I can jump on board and be swept along.  No chasing for me, Lisa Moore.

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