So begins the deluge of non-pony books I have started to read. I put together a list from my father and someone else of important/influential/etc books and decided to marathon them over the next week or two. I plan to keep reading a bit of pony, but hopefully the majority of the posts for the near future will be actual pay-to-read literature. Some of them are even classics of various types. Problem is, I’m two books in and things aren’t looking good. I really hope the quality of these gets a lot better. Now for today’s story, To Kill A Mockingbird.
Couldn’t finish this. Gave up just before the first quarter mark. About 22% into it was when I just couldn’t take anymore. The writing is good, but oh Celestia is it boring. Nothing happens. The people are dull as dishwater. The setting is bland. Sure, the author does a great job evoking a certain feeling and place, but I found that sense of culture and place and time to be so incredibly boring. It baffles me why this is considered a classic. Most of the my little pony fan fiction I have read is more interesting than this story. It might get better later, but I doubt it’s good enough to make up for the first quarter of it being boring as staring at a wall. True story, I was reading this and ended up falling asleep in a chair for about ten minutes. This, almost literally, was so boring it put me to sleep.
A lot of it comes from the fact that I find people, in general, to be boring. I don’t really care about typical people having normal lives. I enjoy slice-of-life stories, both anime series and pony fan fiction. However, those both have something interesting added. For anime series, there usually is some supernatural element or the characters have some interesting feature or personality trait. In the pony fan fiction, there is the magical element. Slice of life is more interesting when some jobs are controlling the weather, or casting spells, or the god-queen of the kingdom might drop in for tea. Gotta have something extra to give it a spark, not just dull people having dull lives where nothing really happens.
It just disappoints me. I understand the whole bland stories get a broader audience thing, but that doesn’t make it any more pleasant to think about. I bet whatever themes or morals or ideas that are in this story, I can find in another story that also has cool worldbuilding, magic and/or spaceships.
I do want to point out that the author is a fairly skilled writer. The quality of the writing was excellent in giving me a sense of who the characters were and the place they lived. I just found those things to be extremely boring.
I don’t want to be entirely negative. Constructive advice is best advice after all. So I want to work against the bad reactions I’ve had from the first two books of this reading adventure. I’m going to try to have each of these non-pony reviews end with a ‘should read this instead’ recommendation.
You Should Read This Instead: Beggars In Spain by Nancy KressI don’t really have a lot of slice-of-life stories on my actual bookshelves. Since all of Mockingbird I got through was just slice-of-life stuff, I wanted to recommend something similar. Beggars In Spain is pretty much a slice-of-life. Things happen, but nothing huge. Just the life and times of the main character, and other sleepless, as the world turns. Good things happen, bad things happen, events occur. It is one of my favorite books and I would probably say that a lot of how I think is influenced by the things I found when reading this story.