Thursday, August 28, 2008

Booking Through Thursday

If you’re anything like me, one of your favorite reasons to read is for the story. Not for the character development and interaction. Not because of the descriptive, emotive powers of the writer. Not because of deep, literary meaning hidden beneath layers of metaphor. (Even though those are all good things.) No … it’s because you want to know what happens next?

Or, um, is it just me?

At a library conference this past spring I had the privilege of attending a talk given by librarian extraordinaire Nancy Pearl, who spoke about the four general appeal factors that books have for readers- character, plot, setting and language. In other words, most readers, most of the time, will prefer books that emphasize one or two of those aspects of storytelling. Some people like strong, page-turning plots; some people like rich characters; some people like to armchair-travel to exotic places and some people like gorgeous or particularly stylized writing. For me, books appeal that are strong on character or strong on plot, and are written in a literary style. So if my reading preferences were to be expressed in Boolean terms (yeah, I'm a nerd) it would go like this:

(plot OR character) AND (language)

So it's not just you! But sort of.