Today my house smells delicious. Bryon and I spent this morning spiffing rooms, cutting back on the Christmas decorations, and prepping for big cooking. I began cooking a ham at 1, and I’ll add a turkey breast to that at 2. As the day progresses, there will be a corn casserole and some fresh rolls also in the oven. I’ve got a key lime pie in the fridge, and Bryon will whip up some more rommegrot when it gets closer to time for guests to arrive.
I apologize for being critical. No names are mentioned of books or authors, because these are largely issues of taste. However, I find myself wondering about the old convention of point of view.
Within the last couple of months, I’ve read a couple of popular books that are doing things with POV changes that I would have expected an editor to fix. In the instance of the first book, there were so many POVs, the books was choppy, and I couldn’t bring myself to finish it. That, and, honest to God, there was a POV shift within one paragraph.
The second book is one that I’m reading for our SF book group. I’ve just started it, and there were three POV shifts within one chapter, back and forth, without any signaling at all. Doug Lain, a fellow writer, suggests that it might be in part because books are being written for non-readers, and this might be an emulation of television. I have always viewed telly with the idea that POV shifts are signaled, but perhaps I watch telly as a reader, rather than a non-reader, so I don’t know if my perceptions can be accurate.
At any rate, I wonder about this. Have any of the rest of you noticed a change in how POV is written? Most books I read still signal POV change, and try to rein character POV in. In my own writing, POV is a problem, and I’ve become very conscious of reining it in and thinking about it. These books were so commercially popular that I was surprised that these authors were doing things I was being encouraged not to do. Based on a quick glance through Goodreads, a few of their readers minded, but the majority did not. Clearly, it’s not them. It’s me.
And while I’m at it, I’ve found this out: Maybe I am just not a very good reader of paranormal romance, urban fantasy. So much of it seems the same to me, which obviously makes me not the target audience for these books. There are, mind you, notable exceptions (thank you, Ilona and Jeaniene!), as well as many books I have not yet read.
My problem lies in part with the supernatural mish-mash that these books have become. A society must have every kind of supernatural creature now, as one is not enough. I’m not certain where that assumption comes from or why. Maybe today’s writers have too much White Wolf in their background? Or that lots of people are doing it in their books, so now it’s a convention.
And then there’s my steampunk problem. The problem lies in having read so many independent, unattractive spinsters who marry difficult men in about every genre that I’m not sure that idea can be fresh to me any more. Perhaps my problem is that Elizabeth Peters was there first, and she is an impossible standard by which I evaluate other authors, including Elizabeth Peters’ later works.
Frustration abounds in my reading life. Can you tell?
To end, then, on a positive note. I really enjoy an author who gives me something different. Thank you, Cherie Priest. I don’t like zombies and still don’t, but thank you for giving me an independent woman who doesn’t go through the spinster trope, as well as a portrayal of non-stereotypical China men in Bone-shaker. And only ONE kind of supernatural critter at a time.
Oh yeah, and while I’m at it, I’ll thank Jay Lake for Librarian Childress. Who doesn’t define her life by her spinsterhood.
Yes, you can let lose with the guns of anachronism if you want to. I know marriage was how many women defined themselves. It’s just nice to see something different. Even if the stubborn spinster was full of true, rather than spirited regret, well, that would be something…