I realize that I get very annoyed when reading obscenities in what I read. Alhamdulillah for that. I had picked up a novel at the library, along with Kite Runner, and tonight, I picked the book off the shelf and started reading, standing up. (If I had sat down, I’d probably be reading through the night) I read the first few pages and then closed it, somewhat disgusted. I had picked the book because the plot piqued my curiosity; reliving the character’s father’s life in Vietnam.
But upon reading those first few pages, I also realized another thing. Book writers often project themselves into their characters. Not in all stories, but in most. I am not joining NanoWrimo this year. But, ironically, I seem to have potential characters milling about in my head, and not surprisingly, these characters are based on people I know *cough* *cough*. And readers, readers (not all of them, but maybe most) like to read about characters they can relate with.
I read A Thousand Splendid Suns, and then I read Kite Runner, and then I read House and Home, and then I started reading this book which will remain unnamed. The shift from Kite Runner to House and Home was huge, and a lot of times I felt like putting the book down (House and Home). If I could rank these books, Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns would be 10 and House and Home would be 4, but I read it till the end anyway, because I could relate to the character. The plot, I wasn’t too crazy about. The setting, uhh…so and so, but the character, I can relate to. And I think, that’s what kept me reading. But it still fell short of the power Hosseini’s books wield in evoking feelings and curiosity about a culture and country ravaged by war and oppression.
So I thought Vietnam would be another great read. I am naturally curious about it. But the character turned me off. The obscenities turned me off. The lifestyle turned me off. I’ve really evolved in my reading preferences. Reminds me of some discussion on Islamic fiction versus Muslim fiction.
I look forward to reading Jamilah Kolocotronis‘ Echoes series. I’m saving that for the air trip to Malaysia. On second thought, if it’s not Malaysia, I’ll probably have to drive too, hours, and maybe even days (oh boy!). Maybe I’d better read them now. Good enough excuse, don’t you think? And if it is Malaysia, I’ll probably be busy tending to four bored and restless kids anyway. What was I thinking?!