Friday, May 5, 2023

The In and Out Book Tag

A few weeks ago I saw this Book Tag at Cath's blog, Read-warbler. I enjoyed it so I decided to give it a shot. Also see this book tag at Lark Writes on Books and Life and Fanda Classiclit

Would you be In or Out on these book-related questions?

Reading the Last Page First: OUT

I would never do that. If I open the book even close to the end my eye always finds some spoiler. 

Enemies to Lovers: OUT

Not my favorite plot type, but then I am not a big reader of romances. The end results always seem too obvious to me.

Dream Sequences: OUT

BUT... I don't remember reading any books with one in it. I don't care for them in TV shows or movies.

Love Triangles: OUT

Similar to above. I like a romance within another type of story, like a mystery, science fiction, or fantasy, but not as the main story. 

Cracked Spines: IN

I am not sure how cracked this spine would be. And this is not something I think about that much. I don't mind having used books, I like very old paperbacks, and it is rare if they don't have creases on the spine. Sometimes a (new) book binding is so tight that you can barely read it without cracking the spine a bit.

Back to My Small Town: IN

I like this story line fine in the hands of a good author, but I do think maybe it is overdone a bit now, from the number of new books coming out with this theme. 

No Paragraph Breaks: OUT

No, just no. I might force myself to try a book like that if there was a good reason.

Multi-generational Sagas: IN

But to be honest I don't know that I have ever finished this type of series. I would not reject it though.

Monsters Are Regular People: IN

Another type of story I don't have a lot of experience with but am open to.

Re-Reading: IN

I often reread vintage mysteries and I have reread all of the Nero Wolfe mysteries by Rex Stout multiple times. I have a group of spy fiction authors that I plan to reread someday.

Artificial Intelligence: IN 

I don't know how many books with that element I have read, but I do like the Murderbot Diaries series by Martha Wells, which features an android with Artificial Intelligence.

Drop Caps: IN

This is a decorative element that can look very nice, although I have seen it where the drop cap letter was so large it was confusing. Usually I don't even notice one way or the other.

Happy Endings: IN

I like happy endings. It is especially nice if they are realistic and believable. I know all endings cannot be happy, but downer endings are not my favorite.

Plot Points That Only Converge at the End: IN

I wasn't sure what that meant exactly but I am interpreting it to mean there are multiple plot lines which seem totally unrelated, and then finally in the end the connections are revealed. And I do like that type of story when well done.

Detailed Magic Systems: IN, sort of

I haven't read that many books with this element. And if I had answered this question a month or so ago, I would have said OUT. But the fantasy book I read recently, Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb, used forms of magic, so I guess I am open to just about anything if the writing pulls me in.

Classic Fantasy Races: IN?

Same answer as above. Not usually my cup of tea, but I am sure that the author and the writing makes a difference.

Unreliable Narrators: OUT

Years ago, I read a very good book with this element. But now this element is used too much. And with blurbs and reviews telling you that there is an unreliable narrator, what is the point?

Evil Protagonists:  OUT

I haven't read any books with an evil protagonist although I have a couple that I want to try.

The Chosen One: OUT

Not a favorite trope. But I haven't read that many books with this element so...

When the Protagonist Dies: OUT

I would not reject a book for this reason, but I am never happy with a book with that element.

Really Long Chapters: OUT

I definitely prefer books with short chapters. But I would not reject a book only for that reason.

French Flaps: IN

I like the way they look. See answer below.

Deckled Edges: IN

Don't particularly care one way or the other. I love books with beautiful covers and design, and I have purchased books for the cover art alone, but that would not be my sole basis for purchasing a book. Except that type of a decent size to read is important to me.

Signed Copies by the Author: IN

Doesn't really matter, one way or the other.

Dog-Earing Pages: OUT

I think anyone has the right to do whatever they want to the pages of a book that they own, but I would not do that to a book. Mainly because I often pass them along to a charity book sale, and I want the resale value to be good.

Chapter Titles Instead of Numbers: IN

Nice but not important. Unfortunately, I often ignore the chapter titles when I should have been paying attention to them. I noticed that the book I am reading currently, Slough House by Mick Herron, does not have chapter numbers or titles; the next chapter just starts about 1/3 down the page. Each chapter is divided into small sections, so it isn't a difficult read, but different.


Todd Mason said...

I'm feeling the hour, so will give a further response, perhaps, later...but I don't understand why some book collectors will fetishize deckled edges, aside from the make it more difficult to leave fingerprints on the page-edges (perhaps most problematic on ex-library copies). (Or if one was a grease-laden young teen, and noted how easy it was to absent-mindedly touch one's face while reading a particularly a paperback or fiction-magazine, when the sebaceous glands were working overtime.) When Doubleday did it, it was because they were mostly too cheap to trim the edges of their books properly...also true of a number of pulp-magazine publishers.

Cath said...

Completely with you on Cracked Spines. They don't worry me in the slightest because like you I'm always buying or being given older paperbacks. And when a book is huge, how you not supposed to crack the spine in order to read it? I don't do it on purpose but sometimes you just can't help it.

Todd Mason said...

Sadly true, on poorly-bound books, mostly paperbacks (particularly if also poorly trimmed so the text does get lost in the binding gutters) or glue-bound hardcovers (hello Doubleday for most of its run, with most of its "category" books, at very least, and nearly all its book club editions while they still owned the clubs). I hate to see a crease in paperback spines, and will make every effort to not do so, but if I've picked up a book on a library sale or the like with one, I'll simply try not to make the damage worse. Annoyed the hell out of my father, when I started buying adult books, when I would ask him to be careful with them.

TracyK said...

Todd, One of the trade paperback books I bought recently had both French flaps and deckled edges, although I ordered online and did not know that when I ordered. It is very nice, but... I agree, what is the point of deckled edges?

TracyK said...

Cath, I consider that cracked spines show that a book has been read a lots, and that is a good thing. But I do try to be careful with books, and especially so if the books belong to my husband. New thick paperback books give me fits because I really try to keep them in good condition.

TracyK said...

Todd, I do try even harder to be careful with older paperbacks like Dell mapbacks to keep them from falling apart. If I had a choice I would not even read those books and use an alternate copy but sometimes the only copy I have of older books is a Dell mapback. My copy of Murder in a Nunnery was a 25 cent Dell book and actually fell apart while I was reading it.

Margot Kinberg said...

I think this is a really interesting meme, Tracy. And I completely agree with you about stories with no paragraph breaks. It's just about impossible to focus and follow the story when authors do that. I agree about evil protagonists, if I'm being honest. I prefer more layered characters. Oh, and I totally agree about not reading the end of the story first. No.

TracyK said...

Margot, I wasn't sure if I had never read a book with an evil protagonist, but I looked at a few lists of such books, and I had not read any of those. I did read one very long book whose protagonist turned out to be evil, but I did not realize it until the end. And it was far from one of my favorite books.

Kathy's Corner said...

I agree with you on many of these questions. I'm thinking that enemies to lovers romances started with Jane Austen's brilliant Pride and Prejudice and that's the gold standard that writers have been trying to capture ever since. But it's very hard to pull that off because both characters have to change their mind about the other and I am not sure that happens often in real life.

TracyK said...

Kathy, You are right. Pride and Prejudice is a good example of that type of romance, and I did like that one very much. Most of the romances I have read are classics.

Lark said...

So fun to read your thoughts on this book tag! We are similar on almost all of these. :D

TracyK said...

Lark, I think you read more fantasy and romance than I do. I am sure I could enjoy romance if pointed in the right direction, but I already have too many books on my shelves to read.