Monday, February 23, 2009

February 23, 2009

Sometimes when I read I wish I could turn my inner critic off. Lately, when I read the book of someone else I find myself judging it like I do for a contest or for a critique or something instead of just reading for enjoyment.

Right now I am reading a book from someone that I would be willing to bet $10 this is one of their first efforts. In fact, Ive read several books from this particular publisher that strikes me that way so I do have to wonder if they are some sort of publishing mill, just churning out stories from anyone that submits. Probably unfair of me, but honestly the majority of this publisher's books are problematic.

This book shift points of view constantly (each paragraph), has a TSTL burglar on the first pages, an almost TSTL hero (at least I'm seriously questioning him), and blatant incorrect facts about the city it is set in. Now, I think this author probably has a lot of potential and could eventually be quite good. I would have liked to have seen more effort for this particular offering, though.

But this is what I mean. I can't just read a book for entertainment purposes. Even when I read excellent books I am left going, "Man, I wish I could write even half as good."

Sometimes, when I read in another genre, I can put aside the writer in me. Like when I read The Mist last year by Stephen King, I just let myself read it and be scared. True, I made the mistake of watching the movie after the book and going, UGH, you RUINED it. Do NOT see the movie. But then I think Stephen King is pretty much a genius and writers who say otherwise are just envious.

I just read The Elegant Corpse by A.M. Riley and I loved it. Truly one of my favorite books I've read in a long time, but even then I did have a small issue with a bit of a wanky POV near the end. For 90% of the book we are in one character's head, but then once in a while Ms. Riley gives us the other character's point of view, but not ever very deep, sort of almost like a narrator observing this character more than the other, if that makes sense. But it was very minor and I LOVED the book. I also just finished reading Fatal Shadows by Josh Lanyon. Really good book. I don't like first person in general but one thing is true, you can't slip into someone else's point of view by accident.

I guess because I did just read such excellent books perhaps I am just a tad too critical to be reading the book I am right now. I don't know. I just know it has potential and to me, so far, fails.


  1. I know how you feel. If I read a great book, then I'm left feeling like a hack of an author. LOL. But if I read a book that needs a bit of help, one that's clearly by a newer author, then it makes me itch to fix it. Not that I think I'm all that amazing, but constant POV shifts are one of my peeves. Never used to bother me before I started writing. But now that I write, constant POV shifts just annoy the hell out of me. It's not like there's some bible for writing or anything that states you can't shift POVs constantly, still...I can't ignore them like I used to. Ah well.

    I do agree - it's hard to read a book anymore for the sheer enjoyment of it, and turn off that internal editor.

  2. Yes, I'm not all that either, but when the point of view literally switches every other paragraph it gets to me too much.

  3. I like your point about reading really good books and then holding probably every thing else after that to a high standard....

    I find that even as a reviewer after reading a good 5-6 books that are really good - then i read a not so noteworthy one - I have to hold back on my review as it comes out all snarky and most times that's not my intention.

    Good post - a lot of it resonants with me.


  4. Thanks for weighing in! I'm glad I made some sort of sense.