Too much suspension of disbelief

Yet again I am a day late in posting (blame Read Tuesday – I had to get the word out that my first and second novel are discounted), and yet again I am posting an interlude to my 26-Week Book Challenge rather than a proper challenge question. Still, since last week’s Twilight rant was my response to ‘a book you hated’, this week is the appropriate time to discuss why I will not be giving you a book everyone hated but which you loved.

The answer to this is twofold. First of all I’m a lazy reader, in the sense that I dislike heavy literary stuff. I like my books light and fluffy, heavy on the fantasy and light on the existential angst. Heavy on good-looking bad boys and light on numerous pages worth of soul-searching, lamenting and heart-rending grief. I don’t mind it if my books are predictable (as long as they’re believable) and happy endings make me squee in delight. If I did something as girly as that.

Secondly, while the above is one aspect of my reading preference, I put an awful lot of value on believability. I adore romance, but if the plot doesn’t make sense I’ll toss it in the corner in disgust. This is one of the main reasons why Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey are such bad books – not a single thing the ‘heroes’ do is even vaguely believable to normal people living in a normal world. I have no problem whatsoever with believing in love at first sight (or lust at first sight, which is probably the more accurate term), because that can happen. Whether that love then endures is all down to how believable the further developments in the relationship are.

The upshot of those two things combined is that it is much more likely that there is a book which everyone loved and which I hated than for things to be the other way around. In this past year I have read a number of books with pretty decent average ratings on Goodreads. (3.72, 3.96, 3.02), and I hated all of them. The first one I only finished because I promised to, but it had a heroine I loathed and the most ludicrous ending imaginable. The second one I never managed to finish and the third one I only finished because it was about 3000 words long in total. In all three cases I’ve read five-star reviews from people that left me utterly baffled. Were they reading the same book?

So no, I’m not going to give you a book which I loved that everyone else hated, because there really isn’t one. I’m a judgmental bitch and I want my books to not suspend my disbelief to the point where it snaps. I also want my characters to be likeable, or end up likeable.

And with that said I am going to leave you with this wonderful rendition of Shosholoza by Ladysmith Black Mambazo, in memory of the great Nelson Mandela. Rest in peace, you were an inspiration to the world.


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