Booking Through Thursday is a weekly meme about (mostly) books and reading. Here is this week’s question:
All other things being equal (good writing, enthralling story, etc), which would you rather read—something serious, angsty, and tragic? Or something light, fluffy, and fun? Or a blend of both? (Since, really, isn’t that how real life works?)
I prefer to read things that are a blend of tragedy and comedy. You need the light to appreciate the shade and vice versa. Take Macbeth for example – even though it is a tragedy, Shakespeare inserted a drunk porter rambling about the kind of people who would be trying to get into hell. Shakespeare knew his audience needed something amusing to break up the doom and gloom. The Nurse in Romeo and Juliet fulfils the same function, as do Polonius and the Gravedigger in Hamlet.
I really appreciate good comedy as it is one of the hardest genres to write successfully. My favourites include: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde and To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis. My job is fairly challenging and reading comedies is a welcome relief. I don’t have to concentrate that hard and can just let the humour wash over me.
I’m a little warier when it comes to my tragedies, particularly dense ones. I don’t mind the protagonist going through great hardship as is the case with many urban fantasies, but unrelenting tragedy depresses me. It took me quite a while to read Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy for example as the heaviness of the text weighed me down. Don’t even get me started on Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy. Ugh!
Paranormal romances with Byronic heroes feed my need for tragedy and as I can’t take them too seriously, provide a dollop of humour as well. What do you think?