Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Well, I only did a little writing during my vacation week, but I did a lot of reading! And it was awesome.
I am an extremely fast reader, but I am also the mother of a two-year-old. She thinks that all books should be read to her. And if she doesn't like the text of my book, she will declare, "and they all lived happily ever after!" and try to get me to read another book to her now that mine is "done." Cute, to be sure, but ultimately not helpful.
Worse, when I have free time, I often fall prey to the siren call of the internet. Or I go to bed early. Or I watch a movie with my husband, because if we try to read at bedtime, chances are we'll fall asleep and end up going to bed early when that wasn't actually what we wanted to do. I've made an effort to prioritize reading more this year, and I'm definitely improving, but man, the flashing t.v. screens and computer monitors are tempting. We cut off cable, but there's always NetFlix...
But this week, I read five new books, most while Serious Girl was swimming with my husband in the pool. Better yet, there was a mix of genres because I only brought two books with me and then selected the rest from the shelves of the place we were renting. Popular commercial fiction! I read my first Dean Koontz in years, and my first James Patterson book ever! I can see the appeal.
In particular, I can see the appeal of the recurring main character -- this week I was introduced to Koontz's Odd Thomas, and Patterson's Alex Cross (moviegoers know him as Morgan Freeman). This is sort of new to me, as I don't read that many books that have recurring characters. I mean, I've read Harry Potter, but that feels different to me, because the books were always intended to be a 7-novel set and then end. I mean, if you read Lord of the Rings, you're not really reading "books with continuing characters," you're reading the LotR trilogy. It's a package deal, and I'm used to seeing that format in YA and sci fi. You get a few years with a young character (Laura of the Little House, the Great Brain, Harry & co.) and then it's over.
Alex Cross and Odd Thomas, however, could just go on forever. There's no multi-book story arc, there's just a cool guy, and the potential for multiple stories within that cool guy's world.
Until last week, I couldn't have told you the last time I read a book that reads as a stand-alone novel (no hints of sequels or an ongoing pre-planned series) and thought, "I want to know what happens next in that person's life." But I plan to track down another Odd Thomas novel because the character held enough interest for me, all by himself, that it really doesn't matter what plot hits him next, I just want to learn more about the guy.
Are you a fan of the recurring character? Do you eagerly await the next Alex Cross or Odd Thomas novel? Or Jack Ryan, or the Shopaholic, or... umm... okay, I can't think of any others right now. Enlighten me!