Wednesday, May 2, 2012

WWR Wednesday: Little Alys!

I am so happy to welcome my friend Little Alys to WWR today to share about her preferences as a reader. I so love hearing what you all think and look for in a book. Big hugs and a happy hello to Alys! (please pardon the wacky formatting. I tried to fix it and ended up breaking the coding.)

What does this woman read? 
This woman is a die-hard romance fan. I love it in everything and it is usually a must have, but as long as it's printed and interesting, I will read. :D Granted, it has somehow became a fact that I MUST read or my brain will wither away faster than a frail flower in the desert heat. Really. My brain starts shutting down and the life seeps out of me like some jelly donut, so very often (to stay alive) I read whatever I can. Which means, I often go to several news outlet sights, scroll through as many blogs as I can, as well as visit a few science specific sites daily. Then again, even in those places I tend to pick topics I'm interested in, unless I’ve run out of stuff to read…then I venture forth ^_^.

At my highest point when my life ran like a clock with new batteries, I read at least a book a day (new or re-reading). On a pinch, I've been known to read textbooks and at my weakest point, the dictionary. Sadly, my spelling is still horrific as ever. Go figure. Lol.

Sadly life has a way of growing it's own way.

Lately, I use the internet as my reading source most of the time, but still manage to read a few books a month...mostly romance. Heh. Throw any books/stories at me and if I find it interesting, I will pick it up. Fairytales, folklores and mythology/legends, history, bios, sci-fi, fantasy, children’s books (of all ages), YA, mystery...anything. I do have exceptions, but that depends on the content. I'm so picky for such a story-addict.

What turns you on as a reader? 
Ah, a lot of stuff, but needs to be in combination. Lol. I'm so picky. >_< Basically, for a story to really work for me, several different aspects need to factor in. 1) Characters (I have a strong love of underdogs, wallflowers, betas), 2) the story itself, 3) humor! (it's a few rare and awesome books where I find myself laughing out loud while flipping through the pages and scaring people around me) and 4) being able to gleam something from the take something away when I have that last happy yet wistful longing sigh when I close the book. Lol.

1) A character does not need superpowers (although cool) for me to want to read the book. It has to be the personalities, the hidden depths, or their course of actions. Sounds simple enough, yet so very hard to write well. I like reading the unsung hero, or those average simple people that truly rise to the occasion with nothing more than their wits, intellect or even pure luck. Lol.

2) The story itself needs to be believible in its own world. Does not matter to me the genre or the age audience, a good book is a good book.

3) I think humor is the hardest part for any writer, since we all find different things to be funny. So in this case, I just hope for no angst (please see below). Still, to be able to laugh while reading a good book = awesome. I'd like the characters to be able to laugh throughout the book and I would like to be able to laugh with them. If that makes any sort of sense. And to bring it all together...

4) I prefer to have stories where I can learn something new, or see things in a different perspective. Whether it is political, historical, fantasy/sci-fi, or modern day… I want to learn something from these stories. It might be some historical fact, or personal growth, or as obscure as the name of a place that no longer exists, I love to learn from these stories. Every often, when I read a book and I come across something I do not know, I like to go look it up and expand upon it. To see characters, (the wallflowers, the nerd, the average character) be able to explore, laugh at the face of adversity and still pull through...well, there must be definitely something I can take away. Even if it ends up just me laughing in happiness at a wonderful story. 

Ok, onto the angst part I mentioned earlier... I do not like too much angst, repetition, and violence. Yes, I know these three factors are more a part of everyday life, but I do not like reading about them. I especially hate violence against women, children, or animals. This was the reason I stopped reading most mystery and crime novels (which I used to devour). Plus, the romance was always very lacking in there. Lol.

Whatever the story, I want a HEA, or even happily right now. I like knowing that the protagonist can grow and laugh at hardship and find her (and/or his) HEA. Heck, even though some of my most favorite books have bittersweet ending, the stories still contained various forms of love/romance that has managed to stay true and poignant I hold it close to my heart. So I’ve come to realize that whether there is any romance in the story was a good indicator of the story. :D

So, conclusion…romance story is the common thread. They tend to be the only books where I find strong characters willing to learn and adapt as well as rise to any challenge thrown at them. So off to read more romance! :D

*Little Alys, thank you so much for joining me here on WWR!  It was such a pleasure to have you on board for the day  :)


nath said...

LOL, you're indeed picky Alys! Just kidding :) I think just like me, you've learn over the years what you like to read and what you don't.

And seriously, the dictionary?!?

Shannon said...

We grow as readers, develop an understanding of what works for us and what does not. We also evolve. The books and topics that pull me in now may lose their attractiveness in a few years. I think it is important as a reader to allow these evolutions to happen. It is when we keep trying to force our current habits to match the repertoire of a decade ago that we find our love of reading begins to wane. Going through a reading slump is painful. It sounds like you have figured a lot of this out. It isn't a matter of being a picky reader, but one who is self aware.

little alys said...

Nath - Don't forget the wuxia stories and the asian historical dramas! :D We definitely love those and they always have romance in there. Hehehehe.

And yes, the dictionary. I was desperate. They locked away most of the internet sites, including blogs!

Shannon - Thank you for having me here. It was a lot of fun. Surprisingly, I came to a lot of these realization as I was writing! More like, "oh wait, I forgot to I like to read this! And that!" I'd walk away ready to press send then run back and exactly as you said - we evolve as readers. Isn't it amazing how some books we loved reading back in the day and when re-reading again, we start noticing all the plot holes or glitches in the story?

Yes, slumps are the worst. It's the worst torture for a reader. Booh.

Thanks again for letting me ramble on about. It was really a lot of fun for me. I don't know about all of you reading it though. Lol.

nath said...

LOL, Alys. It depends on which authors you read. I was just talking about the wuxia authors with my new summer student. She has only read Gu Long... While I think Jin Yong is the more rounded author. He has more balanced :P But yeah, always have romance in it! That's why I actually started reading the end first! Because I wanted to know if the hero was with someone and if it was the someone I wanted!! :P

What's your favorite wuxia?

little alys said...

Right?! Reading the end became very important for that reason. Jin Yong definitely trained us in that. Lol.

Ah, I can't choose a favorite, they're all soo good. >_< I can probably say that I was most influenced by Jin Yong's novels though since my parents loved his stuff and therefore, I overwhelmingly know his stuff. Lol.

Movies/tv series were hilarious because my parents would be like "oh they changed that from the book" or "that so didn't happen." Heh.

I do like Liang Yusheng, but oh oh, Huang Yi's A Step into the Past was what first got me into time travel romances. :D

What about you? Any favorites? :)