There’s a debate a friend of mine and I have regularly while we’re discussing books. Sometimes, she really dislikes a book I recommend (which totally breaks my heart, by the way, because, let’s face it, sharing a deeply loved book with someone is like sharing a secret, hidden part of yourself, and if that person doesn’t like it, it’s like a rejection of the worst kind), and more often than not, her reason for not liking the book is: the main character was so unlikeable. Now, this friend of mine has awesome taste in books and I totally respect her opinions on most things; but, on this one point, we always just agree to disagree. My argument is that the presence of an awful, hateful character doesn’t mean the book itself is awful. And besides, why does a character have to be likeable anyway?
Continue reading “Musings of a Reader: Regarding Characters and their Likeability”
Honestly, I thought this column would be a breeze to write. Like I mentioned the last time, talking about books is one of my top favorite things to do. But it’s turning out to be surprisingly difficult. See, when reading books is such an integral part of your existence, it’s hard to know where to start or what books to talk about. Should I start at the beginning, from the books my mom would read to me before I could read myself? The Dr Seuss books, with cats in hats and the fox wearing socks, and Ibn-e-Insha’s Billo Ka Basta poems which I memorized and would recite to my parents during long car rides? Or is it better to talk about the books I read more recently, the works of writers like Italo Calvino and Julian Barnes, which make me marvel at the mind-blowing narrative techniques or clever turns of phrases? In the end, I have decided to talk about some books which I personally really love and which offer some great writing and wonderful stories, but often don’t get talked about or worse, get dismissed entirely. I’m referring to young adult or YA fiction.
Continue reading “Musings of a Reader: The Wonderful World of YA Fiction”
Talking about books is one of my top favourite things to do. It’s right up there with eating French fries and, you know, actually reading the books I love talking about. This was why I refused to study literature as an academic subject for a long time. “You mean you get to discuss books at length? And you get graded for it? That seems too much fun to be real. There must be a catch.” Thankfully I got over it, and was ecstatic to discover, in one of my first literature classes, that I could gush about the many qualities of Mr Darcy and it would count as my assignment. The joy! The point being, talking about literature, to me is just plain fun.
Continue reading “Musings of a Reader: The Beginning”