#LetsDiscuss2018: Am I becoming as grumpy as my characters

Gossiping WomenRecently, I have been feeling a bit grumpy when it comes to reading.  I can’t say it’s a slump because I’m still reading books at pretty much the same rate I always have.  But, picking those books up just isn’t giving me the thrill it once did, even with some of my favourite authors.

I’ve been scratching my head as to the why a fair bit and I think I’ve come to a conclusion that too many of the people in the pages are grumpy, ornery or just down-right angry and it’s beginning to rub off on me.  The Dark Lake, which I read not so long ago is a case in point.  Whilst I liked the story, I didn’t like the main character, Gemma. She was generally an unhappy person and that unhappiness rubbed off on the people in her life.  I think it rubbed off on me as well because she is still floating around my brain, popping up unexpectedly and making me go grrr just at the thought of how she behaved.

Then there’s Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh, an author I love for her clever plots.  Rating wise, this would be up there for me.  I just wish I hadn’t felt so annoyed by the central character Anna, another one who won’t quite let me go and keeps rearing up as I read my current book because I am seeing similarities.

And just to show it’s not only female character that are driving me potty, there was The Killer is Dying by possibly my favourite of favourite authors, James Sallis.  There, all three central characters left me groaning in frustration and one I could have just done without altogether.

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Partly why I’m feeling grumpy I think is that unless I like the characters I struggle to truly love any book.  It feels like forever since I have just fallen headlong into a read and lost myself.

As well as that, though, I think I am just a bit fed up of reading about people who are damaged, who have baggage, and who seem to be determined to make silly mistakes and hurt people around them.

In crime fiction, it seems that every female detective has to be unloved and unlovable.  She can’t have friends, can’t have a life and can’t take care of herself.  All she can do is focus on the crime at hand.  There is a similar trend with male detectives (with the added annoyance that the older, uglier and drunker they are, the more attractive the females on the team find them).

I would love to read something different, and not just by going outside my favourite genres.  It would be nice to have a female detective with a good home life, a place she could escape at the end of the day, or to find an attractive young woman who didn’t immediately give up her common sense because a rich handsome man whisked her off her feet but trust that if he seems to be up to something dodgy, he probably is.

Now, you might say that where would the stories be then and you are probably right. But it doesn’t stop me complaining or going Grrr Arrgh!

What about you, do you find characters can have an effect on how you are feeling? Or should I just go and watch some TV for a while and give up on books till I feel more zen?

Emma x

This post is linking in with Nicole at Feed Your Fiction Addiction and Shannon at It Start’s at Midnight for their 2018 Book Blog Discussion Challenge. Head over to their sites to see what other book bloggers are discussing.

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18 comments
  1. Oh, yes, the characters in books (and in movies and TV shows) do affect my moods…but I keep picking the same books and shows. Sigh.

    Then I remember why I really loved Sue Grafton’s alphabet series. Kinsey Millhone is quirky, interesting, and I always love spending time with that character. She is a detective and the books are set in the 1980s…so that might explain how much fun I have with this character.

    She is predictable and I adore how she goes about her tasks.

    I hope you find some characters to love.

    1. I do too! My husband is always saying “another crime drama!”. I really need to learn my lesson.

  2. Have you read the Kay Hunter series by Rachel Amphlett? Female detective with a lovely home life.

    1. No. I will give it a try. Thanks x

  3. I’m sure you aren’t getting too grumpy:)). BUT I do know what you mean – there are times when I groan at the prospect of another feisty young woman who has had a difficult upbringing, but there is something SPECIAL about her… And when she is singled out, she comes over all of a flutter, or suddenly turns into a ninja diva after having a couple of lessons with a marvellous weapon that only bonds to someone from a SPECIAL lineage…

    I am exaggerating a tad – but there are those tropes that sometimes feel very tired… Perhaps after the latest James Wallis (I downloaded it today and am up for starting it tonight!) you can take a break and we’ll read one of my offerings together… x

    1. Glad it’s not just me and not just crime fiction. I think part of my grumpiness is because I think authors are lazy.

      1. Or that publishers are becoming increasingly risk-adverse and discouraging authors from experimenting and being more adventurous with their characterisation and plotting (this is more likely, in my experience…)

        I’m thoroughly enjoying Willnot, by the way – what a very unusual writing style! But very beguiling in the way it has already pulled me right into the heart of the story.

        1. He has a great way of writing I think. I started nine today so we will need to start discussing!

          1. Oh yes – I am still cogitating over this one… I’m looking forward to being able to have a good old chat with you about it…

  4. Total agreement from me! That’s why I’m reading so little contemporary crime fiction these days – the detectives are usually more damaged and more badly behaved than the criminals. Oh, for the good old days when the detectives were the good guys (and occasionally gals)! And usually had either no personal life to speak of, or a happy marriage with a supportive spouse. My tedium with the angst-ridden drunks and losers of current crime has driven me back to the classics, crime and otherwise, and what a joy that has been. Somehow we seem to have got stuck on ‘gritty’ these days, and while that can be good occasionally, I don’t want a constant diet of grim misery…

    1. It is tedious isn’t it . I really need authors to change things up. I might try some classic crime – good idea?

      1. I’ve certainly been enjoying some of the classic crime re-releases that have been coming out recently. It can be variable in quality though…

  5. I think I know where your coming from…lol. It seems this year I have been more critical of my reads and have marked a lot down because of it. It’s like I get bored really easy this year. I have hated books that others have loved (The Chalk Man and The Woman in the Window) being the most popular ones…lol.

    1. Yes, I am getting bored to. I want something to excite me again!

  6. i do understand. I recently said that I had psychological-thriller-itis. And need to take a step away from the ‘roll your eyes because too stupid to live’ characters. I agree that current crime fiction seems to be overloaded with the damaged, the unlikable, the prickly, the addicted, and the opposite of the ‘shining’ good characters. I would agree with perhaps some classic crime or even just change it up entirely. I’ve started inserting some different fiction in between and also some things from my ‘classics’ list. It seems to be helping. Good luck! Maybe some favorite movies where good wins soundly over evil. 🙂

    1. I have the itis! I have to do something to mix it up, I really do!

  7. I feel like lately there’s been more of a trend to write unlikable MCs, and it’s not a trend I’m fond of. I don’t mind a little snark, but I need to like the MC to truly connect to a book.

    1. No, a little is fine but some of the women I’ve been reading lately just aren’t nice at all.

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