||[Sep. 16th, 2013|10:20 am]
Expectations play a huge part in our lives. As a child we often have expectations of what we will do when we grow up. Sometimes those come to fruition. Other times they fall by the wayside. Then again, they may lie dormant for a while and spring into life later. As a child I wanted to be a writer, among other things that got pushed aside for a long while in the press of life but eventually resurfaced.
We can have expectations regarding relationships too. There will be certain expectations about who we will marry, if marriage is on our hoped for agenda. I don’t mean the tall, dark and handsome expectations so much as expectations about the character of the person we will marry. I had clear ideas about that when I was young. Many years of marriage later, my husband is still my dearest love and best friend.
Whenever we pick up a book at the bookshop or library we have certain expectations. Sometimes a title may appeal but one look at the cover is enough to show that book is not going to meet expectations. I got caught recently. The title of the book looked good, the cover showed a serene country scene but as I started to read I soon saw it was not for me. Had I seen the original American cover of this book, which very clearly identified it as what is termed ‘a bodice ripper,’ I would never have gone near it. But the cover I had gave no indication of this. I felt duped.
Another book I started pulled me quickly out of the story. I overlooked the first instance where the character ’chirped.’ By the time I came to the second instance where the character ‘trilled’ I decided enough was enough! With too many good books out there to read, I just couldn’t waste time reading a book where my expectations were not being met. Birds chirp, phone trill. People don’t. I was glad it was a library book and not one I had bought.
When I open a book I have the expectation that the author will carry me away into another world for a period of time. I love it when a book meets or exceeds expectations and totally absorbs me in the lives of the characters. If you’ve had one that has pulled you right in recently or had a big impact on you, I’d love you to share it with us here. Maybe you have more than one you want to tell us about.
Here are a few that for different reasons impressed me:
The Light between Oceans by M. L. Stedman,
Dear Thing by Julie Cohen,
The Good Dream by Donna Van Liere
Marshmallows for Breakfast by Dorothy Koomson (don’t judge this by its sugary sweet cover. It’s not as light as you’d expect but covers some serious issues)
Absolute Certainty by Rose Connors
The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry
Things We Never Say by Sheila O’Flanagan
A French Affair by Katie Fforde
The Son- In- Law by Charity Norman
The Glass Painter’s Daughter by Rachel Hore
You will find reviews of all of these on my Goodreads page http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/4800708?shelf=read
But for now, over to you to tell us books that drew you into their world.
2013-09-16 02:00 am (UTC)
Kaz Delaney says...
Not sure why this won't let me reply through my Wordpress account - but here you go...
Hi Dale, loved your post and I agree wholeheartedly that expectations often define what we enjoy. However, I also believe that it's wise if we can put those expectations to one side for a while and just live in the moment. I'd have missed some great things in life if I'd let my expectations rule.
I laughed with you about the trilling and chirping - yes that can be annoying - although an author who used these to great success was Agatha Christie who often had chirping or trilling speakers. And you know? For me it worked. Perhaps she conditioned me, set an 'expectation' in my mind but when she used those phrases, I immediately knew the kid of person I was meeting in that book, and I could hear them so clearly. I think they probably work well in cozy mysteries more than other genres - though I've seen it done with some success in kids chapter books as well.
Which all means of course that we're all blessedly, beautifully different - just as different as our individual expectations! LOL.
Agree with you on covers. Having just been through cover hell for my next book,(I swear it took longer to get right than the book did to write(!)) I certainly know the importance of getting the right message across to the reader, and I bow down in awe of my publishers. I'm so sorry you got caught with one that didn't send that right message - that's certainly one instance where our expectations should be respected.
Your book list is impressive! I must look at some of those. I've just finished two crime books as they're my fave non kids genre. Jaye Ford's 'Blood Secret' certainly won't let you down nor will the cover send any mixed messages. It's a superb, gripping read. And the same for Barry Maitland's latest - The Raven's Eye. Both covers will support the reader/buyers expectations of what lies inside.
Lovely discussion, thank you!
Thanks Kaz for sharing your thoughts about expectations and a couple of crime books. I've heard good things about Blood Secret.
Enchanted Glass by Diana Wynne Jones met my expectations. I'm reading it slowly, to make it last.
Oh, I can never do that unless it is poetry. With a novel the more engrossed I am the more I speed up, Sally. Thanks for telling us of a book you are enjoying.
expectations can be both good and bad. Great post. I haven't read any of those on your list.
Thanks and too true. I hope you might find some of those book suggestions helpful Michelle.
I have very high expectations when I'm reading a book.
I want the story to be engaging and the characters believable.
if the book doesn't live up to these expectations ... I slap it down quickly.
Then I seek an incredible book that I will NEVER forget... Karen Tyrrell :)
Sounds like you are a reader after my own heart, Karen.
2013-09-23 09:53 pm (UTC)
Sometimes books exceed your expectations. I have learned that if you read books by lovely middle aged, middle class, middle American ladies they will be spectacularly violent. But I'm just reading one now which pulled me up short and made me stop reading for a time.
The heroine gets rescued by a friend and taken to be part of a clandestine organisation, where she trains as an "agent". Americans always love to be "agents", which usually involves weapons. So this heroine is taken to a firing range and given her gun. She goes on an on about how powerful it is, how she feels when she fires it, how easy it is to conceal about her person. It's beautiful, it's powerful. I think it's gun porn. I was't expecting that from this particular author. I'm still deciding whether I will pick it up again and read to the end.
'I have learned that if you read books by lovely middle aged, middle class, middle American ladies they will be spectacularly violent.' That's an interesting observation Ken. It sounds like you got more than you bargained for with this author. Be interested to hear whether you go back to it or not. I admit sometimes I have decided not to read a book because it gets too graphic for me.
2013-10-02 09:53 pm (UTC)
It wasn't graphic. It was just a woman alone in a shooting range with her new gun. What struck me was the lyrical, emotional and romantic manner in which it was depicted. Shooting an actual victim might have been a case of three's a crowd. Makes you realise why Americans can't give up their guns. They are having love affairs with them. Another book sent to me was about a woman with a security company specialising in the art world. The first half was quite interesting. Her task was to replace forged paintings in institutions with the real ones, without letting anyone know. Basically it was a series of break and enters for a good purpose. Towards the end of the book it suddenly breaks into shoot outs at airports between crooks and FBI agents. It was as if the publisher had told her the book wasn't violent enough and she had to ramp up the bullet count so it would sell.
Another writer sent me her book which started out as a cozy, with an older lady in a small town running a detective agency. She mostly found lost people and things. By the end of the book she was running from the oil refinery across the river as it was blown up. I think sometimes younger people today write the novel as the basis for a movie script. Anyway, this woman emailed me several months after sending her book to say she wasn't writing for some time until she had recovered. Her husband had come to her place of work and killed himself in the car park with a shotgun.
Perhaps these writers don't understand that they are writing graphic scenes. They just live in this atmosphere of guns and violence and think it is normal. Have you picked up on the fact that American English has a range for words for the sounds of different guns?
Have to say I have never understood the American fascination with guns. Can't say I have noticed that about the words in American English but then I don't read too many novels with guns in them.