Hello, all. It's getting a bit difficult to scrabble up some time to do these, but I'm ardent about staying active as a writer. Between my summer job at a bookstore and applying for loans/petitioning the UK for my visa to attend graduate school in London, all I seem to want to do is catch a breather or sleep. But, lest I forget, I'm also a writer. Luckily one thing I have been doing is reading.
This month's topic: Whatever genre you write, do you have a different one that you love to read? What do you think attracts readers to certain genres?
To this day, I have written books that draw on Greek, Christian, and Asian mythology, as well as art history and history in general. Following that thread, I do really enjoy historical fiction or even memoir/biography (sometimes. It has to read like a novel.) I'm currently reading Please Enjoy Your Happiness by Paul Brinkley-Rogers; it's a memoir from his days as a young adult in the US Navy, and it's one of the most beautiful and anguish-inducing stories I've read in my life. It is even worse because it's drawing on true life events. I won't spoil anything, but it almost made me openly weep in the break room at work. I think I fell in love with Kaji Yukiko myself.
I'm strangely attracted to sad stories, I've realized over the years. I'm not sure why. And I don't actively seek them out; they're simply the ones I remember and end up being highly struck by. I cannot count how many accounts and fictitious stories on World War II that I've read, from all perspectives: soldiers, Holocaust victims, even members of the Japanese camps here in the United States. They haunt me. Hamlet is my favorite Shakespeare play that I'll read snatches of from time to time; I own various adaptions of Romeo and Juliet such as Juliet's Nurse by Lois Leveen and Juliet by Anne Fortier. Writing this out, I realize I'm drawn to stories that center around love, no matter the circumstances or cost. It can be familial love, or romantic love, or friendship: it's simply amazing what lengths people will go to in order to express themselves or stay in contact. A lot of my own books: Monet Evanesce and Serpents and Flame (soon to be published), focus a lot of the ties between family and friends across ages and boundaries.
I think readers are attracted to things they are seeking for themselves. I read fantasy because, if I could take up a sword and go gallivanting through the woods to go befriend a dragon or go find my true love in a castle, there's no way I'd be typing on this laptop right now. I read stories of love because it is something I value highly and a thing that fascinates me. I read of times gone by because, really, people have been the same throughout the course of human existence and I want to understand our past. I read in order to learn, and explore, and to have adventures that are not possible in the real world. I don't have time to sail the Mississippi or go pirating like Tom Sawyer, or walk the streets of an eighteenth century colony and listen to patriotic whispers like Johnny Tremain could.
To further explain, I offer this poem called "I Opened a Book" by Julia Donaldson
I opened a book and in I strode.
Now nobody can find me.
I’ve left my chair, my house, my road,
My town and my world behind me.
I’m wearing the cloak, I’ve slipped on the ring,
I’ve swallowed the magic potion.
I’ve fought with a dragon, dined with a king
And dived in a bottomless ocean.
I opened a book and made some friends.
I shared their tears and laughter
And followed their road with its bumps and bends
To the happily ever after.
I finished my book and out I came.
The cloak can no longer hide me.
My chair and my house are just the same,
But I have a book inside me.