Saturday, December 6, 2014

Book Blogger Hop December 5th - December 11th: The Sinclair ZX81 Was a Scottish Computer Repackaged for the U.S. Market as the Timex Sinclair 1000

Book Blogger Hop

Jen at Crazy for Books restarted her weekly Book Blogger Hop to help book bloggers connect with one another, but then couldn't continue, so she handed the hosting responsibilities off to Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. The only requirements to participate in the Hop are to write and link a post answering the weekly question and then visit other blogs that are also participating to see if you like their blog and would like to follow them.

This week Billy asks: What is your favorite part about reading a book? Figuring out the plot ahead of time, the feeling of the actual book itself, experiencing the plot unfold, getting to know the characters- or something else entirely?

I read books for story and character. I want to see how the characters interact with the story, and how the story affects the characters. When I read a book, I want well-written characters who are consistent and understandable. Optimally, they will change and grow as the story progresses. I also want a coherent story for these characters to inhabit - an interesting story with obstacles that they can deal with. I guess that most of all, I want the author to play fair. And by that I mean I want the author to have characters react to the story they are in in a manner consistent with their established character traits.

As an example of an instance in which an author failed to deliver this, I submit Arthur in Bernard Cornwell's Warlord Chronicles. Throughout the trilogy, Cornwell establishes that Arthur is a maverick who disdains most social conventions - a trait that gets him into trouble when he skips his arranged political marriage so that he can marry Guinevere instead. Time and again Arthur flouts the mores of his society to do things his own way. That is, until he has to deal with the affair between Tristan and King' Mark's wife Isoulde. Then Arthur becomes a stickler for the rules, effectively permitting Tritant to be overmatched and killed in a single combat it is obvious he cannot winn, and Isoulde to be condemned and executed.

There really is no reason given as to why Arthur should act this way other than this is the only manner Cornwell could think of to make the story of Tristan and Isoulde play out in a manner resembling the mythical version. And even this seems like an odd thing for Cornwell to have done, because as an author he had proved quite willing to alter so many other portions of the Arthur myth that making his main character act entirely out of character in slavish deference to a tertiary myth is almost inexplicable. And yet Cornwell did exactly that, which was a weird and disappointing aberration in what was otherwise a very good series of books.

That is the sort of character inconsistency that I don't want in a book. What I'm looking for is the opposite.

Subsequent Book Blogger Hop: Vercingetorix Was Born in 82 B.C.

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