Conundrum May 2, 2014

So I've gotten in the habit of showing up here, and I was thinking about something that's always confused me.  It's a given that we write the best books we can, we love them to pieces and we're always shocked and hurt when other people don't adore them.  But then we reach the point where we wisely understand that everyone can't like everything.  It's a matter of personal taste.

So far, so good.  But .... I'm listening to the new audio recording of THE WINDFLOWER by Laura London (aka Sharon and Tom Curtis).  Of course I've read the book a number of times and always adored it, but the narrator is, to my mind, perfect, especially for the hero and the Pirate Captain.  I'm having trouble sleeping because it's so good I lie in bed and listen and tense up because it's so wonderful, instead of drifting off.

Smart Bitches is doing a book club or discussion or whatever about it, and Sarah said she knows that there are plenty of people who aren't a fan of the book and she wants them to participate too and bring their point of view.

And, to use a '60s phrase (since I'm 66 today), it blows my mind.  How, HOW could anyone not be brought to their knees by how wonderful it is?  How could anyone not fall on the ground writhing in ecstasy over Laura Kinsale's books?  Why could anyone possibly reject Mary Stewart and Georgette Heyer?  Why aren't there religions based on their fabulousness?

And how could anyone not worship (supply your own here -- Black Ice, Ruthless, Nightfall, etc.)?

We've discussed my total lack of modesty.  I think I'm marvelous, but I want to point out that I don't think I deserve my own religion, as Kinsale and London/Curtis and Stewart and Heyer do?  Even I  am not that crazy.

And I should shrug and say "those books (ignore mention of mine) are just not to some people's taste.  It doesn't mean they have bad taste, just different taste."  It's logical, it makes sense, but I still don't get it.

It's easier for me to understand why people would love badly written books.  Storytelling is different than good writing -- I know people who are technically excellent and so boring it's criminal.  I know people who are sloppy and messy and laughable and yet their stories are riveting.  I don't like to diss other writers, but I can probably give you three examples where the writers are so massive that a tiny arrow from me won't hurt.  Despite the smirking and clambering I was fascinated by 50 Shades and picked up on many many wonderful things about the books.  Edward Cullen smirked like mad but I loved Twilight (I lost interest by the time the third book came out but it was a wonderful set up and characters).  Think of Rhage and Tohrment and "True, that" and "shitkickers."  Those books just suck you in.

So if you have incredible world-building, story-telling, characters and writing ability, how can someone miss it?

I could think of one possible reason.  That the reader is in a hurry to get to the good stuff and finds a leisurely opening annoying.  Or dense paragraphs make them feel itchy and they lose the subject and verb.  Or something.

I can imagine someone might find the heroine of the Windflower TSTL, but she's really quite strong despite her tears and collapses.  There's a line she just won't cross, and she risks her life and is willing to die to keep her secrets and protect her family and her country.  As Cat said, she doesn't break.

But why hasn't the world stopped to read (or listen to) this book?  What's keeping Mary Stewart from audio and e-publishing?  Why hasn't Georgette Heyer been canonized?  For that matter, why hasn't someone driven down to Florida, found Judy Cuevas/Judith Ivory, take her hostage and force her to write?

(That wouldn't work with Kinsale - she wouldn't break either or I'd have tried it).

So, why?  Give me a reason someone can disagree and yet not be tragically deluded (and I'm very good at seeing other people's POV.  That was may great sin in child-rearing.)

What fabulous classics (and I'm not talking Dead White Guys, I'm talking the good stuff, romances) have you disliked, hated, or just not cared for, and why?  I need to understand this, and that way it'll be easier to understand why the world doesn't treat me as the totally demure treasure that I am.