So the other day, Audible had a daily deal on The Color Purple by Alice Walker.  Super cheap.  And it was narrated by the author.  This is one of those books that I've been meaning to get around to reading.  And I had a feeling that, getting to hear it narrated by the author would either be totally awesome, or a flop.  If it's a flop, I could just switch to reading the actual book, which is somewhere here in the house, though it would take me a bit to find it.  I had an instinct though, that the narration would be good, and it is.

You might think that reading by the author is always top notch.  After all, if anyone understands the nuance of the words on the page, it should be the author, yes?  While there's certainly some truth to that, not every author is meant to be a narrator.  Oh, sure, it's well expected that authors will go to events and give readings of their works, especially either their famous ones or their newest.  That comes with the territory.  But not everyone has the gift of oration.  Not every author can get up and give a great reading.  Many of us, well we make do as best we can.  Some, however, are exceptional.  Professional narrators can definitely make a book even more enjoyable.   When an author approaches or reaches that level, well, that's a wonderful bonus.  I think Alice Walker is right there.   So, it is a pleasant and happy surprise instead of a disappointment.  Now, I'm not done with the book just yet.  So, not going to discuss the contents or anything, other than to say it is exceptionally good to remind myself that I do need to continue to branch out from my usual fictional stomping grounds.  There's nothing wrong with enjoying fantasy and sf, but it's important both as a reader, and as an author to make efforts to keep the mind open to many different types of stories.  If you let yourself settle on just one kind of tale ever, you'll miss out on large territories of great stories.   Maybe it takes you out of your comfort zone, maybe it pushes you a little.  But I think that's just fine.

What book have you read lately that took you out of your usual stomping grounds? 

From: [identity profile]

I make myself do that every few months. Sometimes I abandon them, thinking, there's a reason I'm not the audience for this. Mostly, in fact. (I suspect that is a function of old age.)

From: [identity profile]

There's something to be said for broadening one's horizons, as well as understanding when something just isn't really appealing. Life isn't school. No one should be *forced* to read stuff that just doesn't work for them. I think the fact that you still try, that's far more important. Then again, having seen the breadth of your reading list, I don't imagine you are in danger of insular reading habits.

Despite having a degree in Literature, I managed to miss out on huge swaths of classics/"Literature" and I know to some degree or other, I feel obligated to "catch up" on a lot of things I missed. I realize lots of folks who write in our genre, and many more who read in our genre aren't fans of "Literary" fiction, and I think that stems a lot from being crammed down our minds over the years by well intentioned teachers who also belittled our own proclivities. (Heck look at the recent nonsense practically yelling at adults for *gasp* reading and enjoying YA.) I believe the fact that I'm coming to many of these books in my own time and way makes them feel more accessible, as well as the fact that, yes I can just decide to put them down if I don't like them, and I don't *have* to read them just because some teacher/professor says they are supposed to be deep and awesome.


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Edward Greaves

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