Friday, June 16, 2006

Appreciating the small things in life

No. I’m not telling you something about my personal-personal life. Behave.

With my surgery behind me, (thanks to everyone for your kindness and prayers) I've come to appreciate those little things in life that at times you overlook. The ways the sun rays stream between tree limbs, a child’s laugh can brighten your heart or a good book can make you forget the world around you.

I read several books a month and probably around a couple hundred in a year. Sad to say, but many of the books I never finish. My time is too precious to finish a book that doesn’t hold my interest. At the same time, when I finish a book and say that’s good, it doesn’t necessary mean I want to re-read it. Then there are the few I will keep on my shelves and plan to re-read, study and possibly learn to improve my craft. What makes a book a keeper?

A special or unique storyline? Characters that jump off the page? Easy to read? Makes you laugh out loud? Bring tears to your eyes? Hot love scenes? Exotic locale or time?

For some, if it is a marriage of convenience, it’s a sure buy. If it has a hidden baby, they can’t turn it down. If it has a cop or any man in uniform -- Katie, bar the door! -- they’re coming for it! A second time at love or a virginal bride, they reach for it no matter who wrote it. Vampires, slayers, cowboys, spies, werewolves, knights, Scotsmen, tycoons, etc., etc., etc.

I like all the above, except maybe for the hidden baby scenario. The biggy that gets me is spies. (Bet some of my friends didn't even know that.) Throw in a marriage of convenience, a vampire, and I’m in heaven.

So when you’re looking for a book, what do you look for? What are some of your hot points for your keepers?

11 comments:

Christy said...

I'm a sucker for the revenge scenario. The hero, for whatever reason, is dead set on punishing the heroine for some wrong she or her family have inflicted. Then, of course, after he realizes what a fool he's been and falls madly in love with her, he'll grovel for pages. I do love a good grovel.

And I still enjoy the woman in jeopardy scenario, as long as the heroine is brave and feisty and doesn't wait on someone to save her because she's prefectly capable of saving herself. Of course, it's so much nicer when there's a sexy, strong man standing by her side, fighting right along with her.

Deborah Matthews said...

Unfortunately, since I've started writing, I don't read as much as I did. What makes a book rereadable for me is the characters. I get sucked into their story and forget everything else.

At one time I loved pirates and time-travel. Now, I love to read about heroes who are hunky Scotsmen or Regency rogues ready to be tamed.

As I get older, I'd rather laugh than cry, so I lean toward humourous rather than angst-ridden. That's not to say I don't enjoy a good romantic suspense though I like it when the heroine rescues the hero.

jennifer echols said...

Carla: First, I'm so glad you're feeling better! Second, do you love spy novels because you yourself are a spy? If you told me, would you have to kill me?

Debbie: I'm with you. I don't find tragedy and hardship the least bit entertaining.

I'm a sucker for a book in which coworkers or childhood friends fall in love--the h/h have known each other forever but suddenly begin to see each other in a romantic light.

As for keepers, I love a book that's written beautifully and makes me laugh out loud repeatedly.

My all-time favorite, which fulfills every one of these criteria: Jane Ausen's Emma.

Paula said...

Oo, I love Emma, Jennifer.

I love a redemption story. I adore a reunion story (which is why one of my favorite Jane Austen books is Persuasion. I love a man against the elements story, as long as man wins.

I like a marriage of convenience story, although that's hard to pull off in the present, with so many other options available to women, and with the more enlightened and modern view of marriage among those who might, oh, write a will leaving his money to a neer-do-well nephew or something. Just sayin'. :)

I'm with Carla--I love political thrillers, too. I think I secretly want to be Tom Clancy, only with better characterization skills and more romance. ;)

Kelley St. John said...

Oooh, good topic, Carla -- and so glad you're back online :) We missed ya!

I love friends-to-lovers stories (or coworkers-to-lovers) -- and you can definitely tell this by my first two books. Book 1 - friends to lovers; book 2 - coworkers to lovers.

I also love a good suspense, particularly a strong-willed woman who is in jeopardy. She can fend for herself, but she still needs a bit of help from the hero. '

Last, ghost stories. Oh man, I love an intriguing paranormal with a ghost character. My first Blaze book has a ghost hero. Really love that hero :) Hope readers fall for him as much as I have!

Kelley

www.kelleystjohn.com

jennifer echols said...

Kelley: I loved your friends-to-lovers story! And this was a really good example of the reader getting hooked in. I already knew it was a story about an alibi agency, which I thought was so funny. But when I found out it's also a friends-to-lovers story...you probably heard me jumping up and down all the way over in Gadsden!

Gaill Wills said...

If it is a book, I'll read it, and even if it doesn't keep my interest I will still plod through to the bitter end. I'll read kid's books, I'll read literature, I'll read any genre, any author. I guess I'm a book whore! The books I keep are another story all together. My husband would swear I've never gotten rid of a book in all the years he has known me, which isn't true, but there are some books that I keep because I know I will want to read them again, or in some cases, just certain scenes. The books I always keep are the ones that grabbed me and wouldn't let me go, the ones that kept surprising me, and the ones where I didn't guess the resolution too early, unless it is a manipulated ending. Manipulated endings always make me angry. I think they are unfair to the reader.
I really love a book that pulls at all my emotions, an absolute keeper is one that makes me put it down while I cry, scream, shiver, or laugh, a book that makes me need to close the curtains because I'm scared, or call a friend and tell her about a character or situation that made me so angry!

My favorite-will-never-leave-me book has got to be Incubus Dreams by Laurel K. Hamilton. The reason? She has a scene in it that was so HOT that I had to read it to my husband. He grabbed the book, threw it across the room, grabbed me and threw me on the floor. Just as we got to the really, REALLY good part, he bit my bottom lip so hard that almost 2 years later I am still dealing with the wound. See why I'm keeping that one?

Christy said...

Oh my Gaill, I know what is going at the top of my book buying list. Thanks for the recommendation!

Gaill Wills said...

I have to tell you that every night for a very long time after that if he walked into a room and I was reading he would put his hand up and say "Put the book down! Just put the book down and no one will get hurt!" I'd say "Oh, baby, just let me read this part to you!" He'd stick is fingers in his ears and start that "LAAAALAAAAA I can't hear you!"

What can I say? Our son is 15, I don't think he's ever gonna fall for the "Mom and Dad are having a tickling contest" ploy ever again!

Carla Swafford said...

Too funny, Gaill. I use to tell my kids that "Daddy and I are wrestling." And I was good at it, too. Why? I was on top!! HAhaHAha. TMI!!

Paula said...

:::lalalala I can't hear you lalalala:::

(Feeling like a kid who just walked in on her parents. There are some things I just don't need to imagine!)