Something has happened to me. I think it stems from the pure insanity of my life, but I've become a book snob. Between the day job, the night job and the fam, I don’t have time to read nearly as much as I used to. I miss the days when I could read a book and let myself get totally lost in the story, oblivious to the writing.
I’m my previous life (before writing) I’d pick up a book, and even if I wasn’t in love with it, I’d always finish it. After all, I’d already invested time into it and it might get better, right? And, honestly, I can’t remember a single book that I didn’t get some enjoyment out of. After I started writing (3 years ago) I found myself becoming more critical of the books I was reading on a technical level. I even posted about how disappointed I was to discover my favorite author wasn’t nearly as good as I thought he was. It had to do with me noticing things in other manuscripts that I struggled so hard to avoid in my own because they were lazy, or crutches, or just plain bad writing.
Interestingly, I’ve found, for me anyway, it’s the characters the make or break the story. I can forgive small plot chinks if the characters are amazing. (but not visa versa so much) I want characters that sweep me off my feet. I pine for books that leave me thinking about (and caring about) the characters long after I’ve finished them. The books I’ve read in the last three years or so that did that for me are Dreamland by Sarah Dessen, Where She Went by Gayle Forman, Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson, Cracked Up To Be by Courtney Summers, both Graceling and Fire by Kristin Cashore, Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr,
and The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. This list is easy to make, because months, and in most cases, years later, I’m still pining for the characters. These are the books that stick with me.
Those are the standards to which I hold up everything I read. And, I’ve started putting books down that don’t measure up. After all, life is short and the TBR pile is tall.
So, do you finish every book you start? What would make you put a book down? What is it that makes a story unforgettable for you?