Here’s a truism for you. If ever you are lacking inspiration in blogging, look no further than perusing your reader/dashboard. Seriously, there lies a fount of inspiration among the space you’ve reserved for favorite blogs or writers. Even if that person didn’t start a meme or picked up an outline from someone else, they are inspirations because every person puts their own signature on their scribblings. reading with personality
Today, I am writing after being inspired by the lovely Kara. She wrote a post on her reading likes and the “personality” she looks for in novels. Just for fun, I thought I’d join in. Way back when, I wrote the post, Lessons Learned from the Bookshelf which I felt was kind of explanatory for where those reading preferences lie but reading through Kara’s list, I thought, “do reading habits reflect personalities?” Sure they do! Sometimes I look at my books and wonder at my intellect since they tend to be sweet romances, but I
am telling you, don’t underestimate the genre! They are challenging.
Below are some of the things I look for in fiction, and while I am not sure it’ll number itself into a “top ten” listing, we’ll start
with number one and go from there.
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Good characters speak for themselves. They stand up for things that are right, admit when they are wrong and always trust God.
- Sometimes lines blur but it’s refreshing if the hero or heroine don’t let others sway them if what they are defending is the Truth.
- No one wants to “deal with” or read 300-hundred some pages of the “perfect” character – not only is perfection impossible, it tends to make the character an outlet of distrust and dislike as opposed to endearment. Obviously, an author should strive to achieve the latter feeling – an endearing, “messy” character is a joy to walk with.
- Not every character starts out a godly person. A fictional journey is more worth investing in (both materialistically and emotionally) if characters come into an authentic, satisfying trust of Christ when the final page is closed. (Perhaps I should specify that, sadly, this applies only to Christian fiction.)
Because we are creatures of habit, and most of us gravitate towards normalcy, it only makes sense that we gravitate towards the familiar. When a novel “speaks” to us as being authentic with a voice that is also genuine, that makes the narrative all the more realistic. Creativity might be something difficult to come by (if the books I’ve been reading lately are any indication, I’d beg to differ!) but there is comfort in the familiar. I enjoy happy-go-lucky novels even if they do fall back on clichés; which is also a charming quality I am happy with considering I actually LIVE life (nothing about it is fiction). When I read, it’s an escape. Whether it be a fantasy or contemporary novel, the primary is entertainment. Imagination is welcome; authenticity (transparency) is respected.
Once upon a time, I almost exclusively read historical. Those of you who have put up with my ramblings about my dislike of specific eras may find this hard to believe. I started with Janette Oke and graduated to Lori Wick (and to a teenager, those books were way “romantic” after the proper sweetness of Love Comes Softly). To be honest, I cannot remember when the change happened but it came… slowly. Then one day I read a little book called, My Stubborn Heart. From that point on, I was “in love” with contemporary fiction. Obviously at this point I was already happy to limit my contemporary fiction to the likes of Jenny B. Jones (whom I discovered on a whim during a book store trip) and Susan May Warren (thanks to my mother’s love of romantic
suspense). In her debut novel, Becky Wade captured everything I had been looking for from modern romances. There’s depth, fun characters and since it was set in current times, I relate way more than I may have had the story been re-worked for a historical.
Since that summer, I’ve finally dug into Denise Hunter, Rachel Hauck, and YA author Krista McGee’s novels – between them I’ve added more than one gem to that “keeper shelf.” Ironically, I almost skipped over the opportunity to read My Stubborn Heart. Fortunately I did not.
(Suspense is also one of my “guilty pleasures” (thanks for instilling love of a good mystery in me, mom). The author for whom thanks is due for re-iterating how much I like the genre is Dani Pettrey. Prior to her debut novel, Submerged, I’d fallen
away from the genre and am happy to be back!)
Whether it’s purely for enjoyment or a book I made a commitment to read, time is worth something. If I’m going to read, I want to feel a pull to finish it – not because it’s out of “duty.”
The Meet Cute
It’s no secret that I’m a romantic. I like to say that even admitting that, I am also able to separate fiction from reality – knowing that while a beautiful, poetic fictional can get a pulse racing, a real love story isn’t all about the “chase” or the first blush of love, it’s hard work. If you came by to look through the piles of novels littering my floor, you’d likely find more novels that were “branded” romance. However I appreciate those that take a more subtle approach to the topic also. Only thing I ask is, that it still be purposeful; I don’t think it’s necessary if the author adds it just for the sake of having a romantic connotation.
Inspirational II Christianity
In the past few years, most of the Christian books I’ve read seem a bit “tepid.” Too often, they’re unimpressed in how Christ is represented. And so, by the last page I’m disappointed authors don’t take a firmer stand. It takes skill to balance being inspiring and causing someone to hunger for “more” and coming across as “preachy,” which is more of a turn off than something to admire.
While actually reading, each of us have quirks. Some may highlight books, others may dog-earned their pages. I’m not fond of highlighting (and cannot imagine making use of the feature even if I own a reader), however, I’m a reader whose books look worn after one reading. I fold back paperbacks and if it’s a hard back novel, I make use of the inside flap as a book mark. Another of my reading quirks? Using paper clips for book marks – they work great!
“Quality over quantity.” This is something many of us book junkies may find difficult to live by. It’s the truth – trust me. Once, I was “addicted” to collecting every book a favorite author ever penned. That does not guarantee you’ll like a book. Do your research before committing to or buying the book – is the setting of interest? Does the plot sound good? If, after you give the book the satisfactory check, it sounds like the “right fit,” of course that doesn’t mean it will be. But my experience has taught me that it prevents a lot of the quantity that you really don’t need. Some books should be a risk and that’s okay. We do have to live a little now and again. *wink*
…and as always, I turn the comments over to you! Share some of the characteristics you look for in books; or your “Reading with Personality” assessment of yourself. Could we guess your personality by looking at your bookshelf?