Feb. 3rd, 2017

stevenpiziks: (Outdoors)
I've actually run out of stuff to read.

I know, right?

So I'm auditioning books.  It's kind of frustrating, to tell the truth.  My standards on books have gone way, way up.  Anything that doesn't absolutely enthrall me, I toss aside, and when you write novels, enthrallment is difficult--you know the tricks, and even the slightest authorial quirks quickly get under your skin.

I've been searching for some nice reading, but a number of honking big red flags on the cover copy of a book will send me running.  I've learned from experience these books will not appeal to me and chances are, they'll be poorly-written to boot.  Some samplings:

"Now that Barabara's husband of twenty years just dumped her . . . " Nope.  Not interested in whiny protagonists, even if they reform later.

"In this breathless, poetic novel . . . " This book has no plot and the sentences are unreadable.  Run!

"Comes to a heart-wrenching and tragic . . . "  No.  I have enough tragedy in my real life.  I don't need it in my fiction. You, of course, are welcome to have your innards stomped on all you like, but leave me out of it.

"National Book Award Winner . . . " Translation: a judge decided "unreadable, purple prose = great literature."  Pass.  (Yes, some NBA winers are worth reading. I've read exactly one. The rest were awful.  So I've stopped.)

"Told in lilting . . . " No way.  See "poetic" above.

And any cover that has two shirtless men on it makes me shake my head.  I WANT fiction with a gay protagonist, but I can't stand I'M GAY FOR HIM! OUR LOVE IS THE CENTER OF THE BOOK! gay fiction.  Especially when it's always--ALWAYS--so badly written.  I've read maybe fifteen or twenty shirtless-men-on-the-cover books, hoping for something cool, and every single one has been a disappointment.  So I've quit.  Some of my friends have tried pointing me toward this or that author with shirtless men, and on the rare occasions I've given in to my better instincts and read their recommendations, I end up wondering what the hell kind of literary tastes my friends have.  (Yes, I know about Josh Lanyon.  Reading his books is like eating cereal made of shredded cardboard laced wtih broken glass, and why in hell he's so popular, I don't understand.)

This makes book shopping difficult.  I'm trying to find good books with a gay protagonist in which the main plot DOESN'T revolve around the main character being gay.  I want a spy thriller in which the main character dodges bad guys, then goes to his boyfriend for help; or a medical book in which an ER doctor saves lives, then goes home to his husband; or a small town story in which the local librarian handles whacky patrons with outrageous requests, and falls in love with one of them while trying to save the beloved library's funding.  Or something.  And I want them to be well-written, with riveting plots that make sense, dynamic, empathetic characters, and fascinating settings.  Is that too much to ask?

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