Today, I have a renewed fierce admiration for fiction and the people who spend their time writing it.
First of all, I was reading Lemony Snicket; The Unauthorized Autobiography. I may have said this before, but Lemony Snicket is my hero. He is a genius at writing with the right mixture of humor and tragedy. He writes about things that should be horrible, but his narration is so hilarious and the situations so ridiculous and satirical that it makes you laugh in spite of yourself.
Also, he never says anything outright. A lot of children's books I've read seem to assume that children are stupid and need things spelled out for them. His books are based on the assumption that children are curious and intelligent and can piece things together for themselves. The Series of Unfortunate Events is really just one big conspiracy theory with tiny clues and hints throughout the books. Some of the biggest clues aren't even in the series but in the companion books. You have to search to figure out the many unanswered questions that come up in the series, and sometimes a guess is all you have.
Another thing I love is the little covert jokes he makes with names. For instance, when describing Uncle Monty's snakes, one of them is called the Virginian Wolfsnake and they are instructed not to let it near a typewriter.
The second thing that triggered this wave of appreciation for brilliant writing was a book I picked up at the library today. This book has an intriguing title and cover and seemed like the kind of book I would like-- I have pretty good instincts when it comes to (literally) judging a book by its cover. I had seen it several times before when shelving in the YA section and wanted to check it out, but there was always a reason why I shouldn't that day, usually the fact that I already had several books to read.
This morning I stopped in at the library and was drawn to this book again. I finally checked it out, and once again, my suspicions are confirmed. I started reading when I got home, and was shocked to find myself in there, from the first page. The main character has a thought process and habits and logic that I recognize. They are thoughts that I have actually had, almost word for word. She is realistic enough to keep me reading even when she makes some mistakes and gets into trouble. Normally, when a character starts being stupid, that's when I lose interest in the book. This time, I find I can't condemn her for making a bad decision because she's me.
Plus, it's a mystery. I love mystery.
Anyway, those are my thoughts for the day. Have you ever read a book that made you think the author must have been reading your mind? How do you react when characters in books make the wrong choices?