Friday, February 29, 2008

Kids These Days...

Okay. Guilty. I've lamented about what "kids these days" don't know, can't do, don't care about. One of the things I've bitched about is the short attention span. How quickly "they" lose interest if something isn't on video or has exposition or whatever.

But I'll also plead guilty (or maybe I should just plead the Fifth!) to preferring books that grab me early on. I want a character and/ or story to get me from the first couple pages. I want to be drawn into the story, wondering what's going to happen or wanting to know more about the character. Don't bog down in backstory and musings and reflections. I prefer my prose zippy and snappy-- put the backstory in snippets along the way, maybe at points where I can catch my literary breath between explosions and startling revelations and shootouts.

So, I've found a little empathy for my students who complain that Mary Shelley spends a lot of time in "Frankenstein" blabbering about the title character's childhood and Washington Irving's "Sleepy Hollow" makes for a crappy ghost story with all that stuff about food and harvest. I kind of agree-- some of those so-called classics would not be published in today's market.

I wouldn't buy it. I'd buy something with snappy prose and snippets of backstory and strong, misanthropic female characters who can use their brains, their fists and their bodies… gee that sounds like a good book. =)


sandra seamans said...

The world is so much smaller now than it was in the days of Washington Irving. Books back then and even up into the seventies were part travelog, painting pictures of places most people knew they'd never get to see. With TV and the computer kids today know with a word or two what those places would look like, how the food would taste, how the people dress. They're growing up in a world where they don't have to imagine a place, they can see it with the flick of a button.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I think the Internet has been detrimental to the time we're willing to spend getting invested in a story. Sometimes it's page two and I'm out of there.