Top Ten Tuesday: Unpopular Bookish Opinions

TTT-NEW

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week’s topic is unpopular bookish opinions, and while I’m sure my list of these is infinite, most of them apply to individual books and aren’t very generalized.  I’m also scared to write this post and offend my blogging buddies.  (Asking forgiveness and apologizing in advance.)

Historical fiction is a lot like fantasy.  On the surface, they seem like polar opposites, but I feel like historical fiction pre 1700’s has a lot in common with fantasy, and that becomes truer the farther back in time you go.  Sure, they’d be low fantasy and there will never be any outright magic, but how many fantasies are inspired by actual mythology?  Actual history?  I love historical fiction that feels like it could be fantasy and fantasy that feels like it could have happened IRL.

Witches and Wizards don’t interest me.  I realize this is tantamount to blasphemy on a blog dedicated to fantasy, but I’ve never read Harry Potter (I’m sorry okay!) have no idea which house I belong to (I probably can’t even name them all), and really have zero desire to read it beyond an academic interest in seeing what the fuss is about.  I’m not saying they are bad books- I’ve never read them.  I just prefer swords to spells.

On schools in general…. I’m not a fan of this trope either.  Protagonist attends magic/assassin/dragon rider school.  Protagonist screws up a lot and gets picked on by the rich/popular/overachieving kids, throw themselves into practice and studying and totally crush it at the final battle when they become valedictorian (or save the world).  Listen- as much fun as school is, I’d sort of rather just skip to the part where they’ve graduated and use their skills to do awesome stuff.  (Admittedly, I mostly enjoyed The Poppy War, but more so the second half than the first.)

Modern Writers Do It Better.  There I said it.  They just do.  Of course, they couldn’t have done it without all those classic writers that came before, and I’m sure I’d feel differently if I had been born 200 years ago.  Those writers were products of their times and societal context, and I’m in no way turning my nose up at them, but writers today are free to push boundaries as far as they like, and they are better for it.  Aside from that- most classics were penned by white males, and while diversity is still a huge issue in publishing, it’s a lot better than it was even fifty years ago and books will continue to improve because of it.

I don’t mind seeing the movie first.  I’ve never been that person that has to read the book first, and I’ve never really understood why this is a thing.  Whether you read it first or watch it first either way you’re going into something knowing the ending.  On top of that, the books usually are better.  So if you see the movie and like it, just think of all you have to look forward to in the book.  If you see the movie and don’t like it, you might still like the book (assuming you still want to read it).  The thing is- I love seeing a big box office film in the theaters. If I wait until I’ve read the book I might not ever get to see it on the big screen.  If I never see the movie at all I might never read the book.

Kindle

I prefer ebooks over physical copies.  I know books smell great and have fantastic covers and don’t taunt me with a percentage completed on the bottom of the page- but they take up too much space!  I can’t read physical books in the dark, and I can’t carry around 400 of them in my purse.

Ambiguous endings make me insane.  If I wanted to make up my own ending I’d write my own book.  I want to know what the author intended.  I want definitive answers and conclusions.  I don’t want to be left hanging.

Ambiguous scenery is okay.  Which is to say that if an author is waxing poetic about fields of heather and the blueness of the sky I’m probably skimming most of it.  More blasphemy I know.  The thing is- I’ve probably already formed an image in my head of what the setting looks like based on one or two sentences or general tone and vibe, and reading scenery descriptions is wasting my time.  Some authors are super wordsmiths I know, but an author has to be exceptionally talented to make me appreciate words on a page just for the love of words (I’m not that reader- I like stories not words.)

Hyper-competent protagonists don’t bother me… Is it realistic when the protagonist never makes a mistake?  No.  Is it realistic when they singlehandedly knockout 10 other guys twice their height and size and escape unscathed?  No.  Does it make for a fantastic and flawed character?  Probably not.  But as long as I’m having fun I don’t really care.  (Side note- Uhtred is incredibly flawed, just don’t expect him to lose in battle.)

Audiobooks

Audiobooks are just okay.  If I listen to a book instead of eye-reading it, I’m only going to absorb half the story.  Why bother investing the hours in a book I really wanted to read and love if I’m only going to absorb half the story?  I usually save audiobooks for non-fiction and memoirs, where if I only absorb half while I’m doing house chores, I don’t feel that bad about it.  I will say- I think audiobooks are great for short story collections where the narrative thread I have to follow is very short.  I’ve stopped listening to whole novels.  I just can’t do it.

I’m sure this is far from a comprehensive list of my unpopular opinions, but that covers a lot of it.  What unpopular opinions made your list?  Leave me a link below!

 

49 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Unpopular Bookish Opinions

  1. I’m the same with audiobooks. They don’t work that much for me when it comes to novels, while they do for novellas and other shorter things. But I love magical schools – maybe because they feel familiar, I don’t know (I did grow up with Harry Potter).
    And I definitely agree about modern writers. I understand the importance of knowing the history of a genre if you’re going to write in it, but I wouldn’t want to read Lovecraft for fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m a firm believer in live and let live. I don’t begrudge anyone their love of Harry Potter or magic schools/training academy tropes. My favorite writer is Stephen King and I’m sure plenty of readers don’t love him either.

      And my personal classical nemesis is Charles Dickens. I feel like I should love him and I just don’t.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this list, I agree with some and not others, which is the point, I think! I’m not a big audio listener either, although I understand it’s a learned skill. But I’m much more likely to remember things I read, as opposed to things I hear.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! I wish I had the skill to listen to audiobooks because they can be a lot of fun and very well done, but I just don’t. I do love the serial box audio, but the episodic format works really well with that medium.

      Like

  3. I think I agree with pretty much every point you’ve made here, and honestly I could probably write a short essay in reply to all of them. Sending comments back and forth wouldn’t do justice for discussing these points. I don’t know how you keep coming up with great content, but please keep it up!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. While I don’t agree that ebooks are best (I love my paper copies too much) I love having them as a part of my reading arsenal. I feel the same way about audiobooks — they’re a great tool and I love them for it. I do listen to more non-fiction in audio, but depending on the narrator I also enjoy some fiction books in audio as well.

    I never thought about your comment on (early) historical fiction, but it does make sense. Many fantasy novels are very similar to some of them. Especially given that you prefer swords to spells.

    I’m 100% with you on being okay with seeing the movie first. I’m a fan of doing whatever works for a given situation — for example, I watched the Hulu miniseries of King’s 11/22/63 first because I wanted to see if I could handle the book. (With a book the size of that one, I didn’t want to commit to reading it without knowing how creepy I could expect it to be.) Also, the movies are faster and often more convenient than the book. I’m not going to tell my husband we can’t go on a movie date just because I haven’t read the book yet.

    Liked by 1 person

    • However you’re reading- just enjoy it! That’s all. I think most people probably still love physical books and audiobooks seem to be growing pretty rapidly in popularity.

      I probably should have specified about the historical fiction thing- a lot of people read historical fiction set in colonial America or World War I/II, but the kind I Like is usually set in the 9th/10th century or earlier, and I’m willing to go up to 15th/16th centuries, but I don’t often read historical fiction beyond that.

      What it should have said is: “Some historical fiction closely resembles low fantasy” or something. It works both ways for me- I like low fantasy a lot where magic isn’t the focus of the book, and I like historical fiction that includes elements/mythology the people would have believed at the time (bad omens, superstitions, etc) things like that, kind of giving it a magical realism feel.

      Like

      • Your thoughts made me start thinking about things like stories of King Arthur. There’s often no actual, visual magic. I mean, we’re told Merlin is a magician, but we rarely see any actual magic. So really, where is the line there? It makes perfect sense.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s exactly where a lot of it came from. The Winter King and The Once And Future King are both books about King Arthur. The Winter King is shelved first as Historical while The Once And Future King is shelved first as fantasy.

        Granted- I’m sure there’s more magic in T.H. White’s version, but I also know Cornwell pretty well and he works magic into his books too, he usually just also reveals the men behind the curtain so to speak. His Last Kingdom series is a lot like that anyway. I still need to try The Winter King.

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      • Interesting! I want to read more Arthurian fiction, whether it be fantasy or historical fiction (I never thought about the difference) but I also have shied away from it because I want to avoid the angst that I’m afraid modern re-tellings would include.

        Liked by 1 person

      • You could try The Winter King. I am pretty familiar with his work and it is definitely not angsty.

        However- I have also heard it is much denser and more difficult than his usual texts (which are usually pretty easy).

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  5. Ooof you went after my Bernard Cornwell favorites there.

    I get what you mean with audiobooks. I love them but only if its a narrator I can really pay attention to, otherwise I realuze I’m halfway through and gave no clue what’s going on.

    I’ve had to return half finished audiobooks to Audible so often I’m amazed they haven’t banned me yet.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Lol- I actually wasn’t going after Bernard Cornwell at all! I love his stuff! I was just saying maybe other readers might dislike Uhtred because he’s too good at his job, and that The Winter Kind is an example of historical fiction that could border on fantasy.

        And I hear you about the audiobooks- it’s cool Amazon let’s you return them though!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I agree about historical fiction and fantasy- the two can veer pretty closely together at times. I know Juliet Marillier’s stuff seems to be that way, from what I’ve heard, the way she kinda melds myth and history. And I think seeing the movie/ not reading the book is fine!

    I don’t do well with audio- I just get distracted.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Talk about getting close with Historical Fiction to Fantasy! Sometimes I feel that authors only use a historical event as a plot device within their faintly veiled Fantasy novel!

    I love to listen to audiobooks while I’m sitting in the car, or working on a mindless assignment for school (probs not the safest option but eh, I’m not failing!), but I find that I can listen to different authors for different things. If it is a simple book, I don’t mind listening to a dull narrator as it means I can quickly pick up what I missed, but complex books with a dull narrator make me go ” Wait, who is this? Wait, who’s dead? Wait, I thought they were in Australia and now they are on an intergalactic space ship because they’re interdimensional fugitives??”

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh my gosh, Robert Jordan is the WORST when it comes to describing every hair on everyone’s heads. I loved his characters and his stories (though he also did like to wander into subplots a little too much for my tastes), but the descriptions just killed me. I listened to the whole series on audiobook so I could finish it and it was a crazy number of hours!! (I’m sure I just tuned out those descriptions.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I haven’t read it yet. I want to- but I’m dreading this knowing that. I just don’t care about description that much. Give me an idea and move onto the story!

      Like

  9. Team Ebook here, all the way 🙂
    They are not only practical, take no space (nor do they gather dust on the shelves) and can be carried around in bulk so we can start immediately a new one when we finish the current read (which happens to me on the subway quite often…). What ebooks represent is also instant gratification: I see a book I like, or one I was waiting for, go to my favorite site, buy, download and start reading. Bookworm heaven… 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bwahahaha!! Right?! Or there’s the hyper competent “strong female protagonist” who still requires a man to save her from certain death because in fact she is TSTL.

      Actually- this bothers me more than straight up TSTL.

      Liked by 1 person

      • YES, exactly. if it’s a character like Bella who is a fragile teen girl surrounded by inhumanly strong vampires, well, it’s not likely she can save herself unless she’s really smart and resourceful. but when you have books about, say, super accomplished assassins and then they’re basically helpless after so much as a broken nail and constantly needing to be saved due to dangerous situations they put themselves in…ARGH. it makes steam come out of my ears because why assign this skillset to the heroine if you’re never going to show her using them? that whole ‘I’m a strong independent woman, no man tells me what to do so I’m gonna do exactly what I was warned NOT to do…whoopsy, it was a trap, who knew! Save meee!’ thing is just the WORST.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I had to quit reading YA for awhile because that “trope” became so prevalent. It really annoyed me. Not saying Strong Protagonist anyone doesn’t ever need help, if you do that, make sure the protagonist is also shown being able to handle it themselves.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: I’m Just Not That Into This… More Wildly Unpopular Opinions | Hamlets & Hyperspace

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