I hosted book club last night, and, as usual, some people liked the book. Others, not so much. There was a difference of opinion on whether the book was well-written, whether the characters were fleshed out and well developed, and whether the plot was believable or too predictable.
That’s the way it is with books. One woman’s trash, is another’s treasure. There is rarely a right or wrong, good or bad. There are only opinions!
In my book club, some of us like real life-like dramas. Others like fantasy or science fiction. Some like cozy mysteries or non-fiction best. That’s one of the cool things about books – there’s something for everyone!
I enjoy reading slice-of-life books, and that’s what I tend to write. I recently created an ad for a couple of my romance books using the tag line “Romance that feels Real.” If you’ve looked at the homepage of my website, you know that I portray my characters as “someone you’d want to be friends with in real life.”
Other slice-of-life books that come to mind are Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner, Plainsong by Kent Haruf, and The Woman Next Door by Barbara Delinsky. These are all books about people, their lives, relationships, jobs, issues, etc. Like my stories, they present everyday situations that a vast number of readers can relate to. Some people hate that kind of book. It’s too close to reality, they say. They read to escape reality. They want to be transported to another world.
Luckily, like I said, there’s something for everyone out there!
I’ve recently received several new reviews for my novel The Storm Within. It’s about a woman living in a small town who has trouble coping with the death of her son and her husband’s request for a divorce. Her world is crumbling, and she turns to alcohol for relief. For some people, this is a depressing dose of reality. Even if the book is well-written, the characters seem believable, and the depiction of alcoholism is accurate, they can’t enjoy that kind of book. For me, the author, that’s unfortunate.
But, as reading goes, everyone has a different perspective and their own opinion. What one person found depressing, others find dramatic and realistic, and they form an emotional connection with the character and story. Whew! For me, the author, that’s an incredible affirmation.
It’s humbling and gratifying when readers write in a review things like this: “What I liked about this book was the fact that the way the two main characters were feeling was totally normal and the inner thoughts they had were similar to what we, normal people/not book characters, would have. It was as if was listening to my friend telling her story and the hard times she’s going through…” And, “the struggle to pull herself out of despair and depression and to stop drinking with the help of friends and her daughter is honest and touching.”
Basically, these readers found the story realistic. That makes me happy. I accomplished my goal. I made a connection. I know it’s not what everyone likes. Some readers will hate the book and feel the need to share their opinion with everyone. That’s part of the system. I’m just so grateful for the readers who take the time to let me and others know that the book seemed “real” and made an impression.
Here’s to finding the type of book that suits your moods and needs. Happy reading to all!