Old Moon

Friday, July 11, 2008

Reading for pleasure

Whatever happened to "reading for pleasure?" I've just made my way through the Pulitzer Prize winner by Junot Diaz. This isn't the place for a review, though if you want to read one you'll find it soon on Senior Women Web. It's unbelievably grim in spite of the large doses of humor, but it's such black humor! The literary journals seem to be specializing in fiction that is harrowing or horrifying or both.

I remember reading great stories in numerous long-gone slick magazines. They weren't funny--at least most weren't, but they were both serious and entertaining. They often had upbeat endings. Maybe I'm losing my courage and my stomach (the proverbial one, I mean), but I don't want to find the grittiest reality and the worst socio-economic tragedies in every magazine and half the books I pick up in the hopes of a good read. I'm tired of words unprintable except in the most literary or avant guard publications; I'm sick of shock and awe on every page; horror isn't any fun for me and I can't comprehend why it is for practically all the rest of the world under the age of 50! Thank goodness for the wonderful writers of good mysteries!

Please, just tell me a good story?


Glenda (Writerlady) said...

Joan, I so, so agree with you. My older brothers and their wives are visiting me this weekend and we have enjoyed talking about wonderful movies we've seen and how we hate the way all movie makers now must blow something to smithereens in every other scene.
In books and movies today, the stories are lost in the "gritty" "reality" of life in places I can't even imagine. Most of what I see is definitely not in my realm of reality or that of anyone else I know.
I like stories that could be about me or at least someone I know. That is why I like Settling, by Joan Cannon. That is why Vicki Lane mysteries are popular and why I can't relate to shows on TV like Sex and the City. Who really lives like that?
Guess I'm not a fantasy fan, because, not since I saw Cinderella at a young age, have I wanted to believe in fairy tale.
One evening recently I saw on TV Jack Nickolson shot in the chest and a red spout of blood shot from his mouth like a fountain. Too realistic or too much special effects? Anyway, it was all too much for me.
Growing old, dealing with death of loved ones, illnesses that can't be cured by a magic pill, watching young ones make mistakes I know they will regret later in life, is all much too real for me. Give me a good love story, not unreal love, but a realistic relationship with two people, flawed as we all are, who make it work or not work, but told in a way that makes me feel their happiness, hurt or pain.
Best sellers today seem to be bogged down in mud and mayhem, with characters so weird and way-out that I can't relate at all.
I enjoy your blog and appreciate your giving the opportunity to discuss such as this.

Tipper said...

Today's books do seem to be more "shocking and gritty". Maybe its because the younger readers have already become so accustomed to today's more violent society that they expect it. Personally-sometimes I do seek out those kind of books, I think I like to know someone else has it worse than I do. Even writing that I'm ashamed because I don't have it very hard at all.