Tuesday, May 27, 2014

What's your catnip?

Lately, I've heard the word 'catnip' used on romance reader sites to refer to your reading weakness. What type of story lands on your auto-buy/read list? Some people love secret babies, friends to lovers, marriages of convenience, or fish out of water. None of those are mine.

Mine is books which take you to the past and the present. Back and forth, back and forth, until the past reveals what all the problems are really about in the present.

For example, I'm currently reading Wendy Delsol's The McCloud Home for Wayward Girls. There are three points of view, three sets of time, three generations: the daughter, the mother, the granddaughter. I'm almost finished with this book and I must admit that I didn't see the twist coming when we were in the past. Not at all! My attention was very, very cleverly diverted.

Kate Morton's The Forgotten Garden is another fantastic example of this mode of time-travel as is Ingrid Hill's Ursula, Under.

In the latter, the reader is drawn between the present day search for a little girl and the past where we meet all her ancestors, find out what makes her so special. In the former, the answer isn't given until the last page. How wonderful is that?

What's your catnip? What makes you reach for your credit card, makes you want to spend time in an author's world? What makes you want to say "how wonderful is that?"

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Rogue Male

It's been a month since I've written and there are absolutely no excuses! None! I shall strive to do better.

But at least the title of this post should intrigue. Several weeks ago Turner Classic Movies showed a movie entitled Man Hunt, a 1942 (?) movie about a big game hunter out to bag the prize of a lifetime, a dictator. He's captured, tortured, left for dead, etc, escapes and becomes the hunted rather than the hunter, literally going underground to survive.

And a light went off: I'd read this book! But not, like recently, or even as an adult. In junior high. Before I really understood it. But I remembered the underground bit and being hunted.

Where did I get this and what was my mother thinking to let me have it?

For starters, it wouldn't have come from the junior high library. Or the public one probably since I don't think I haunted the thriller shelves. No, I would have picked it up at my favorite bookstand: Woolworth's. I found all sorts of unsavory reading there, unsavory for a 12 year old. Gee, I wish I'd kept a few of those.

As to my mother, censorship never entered our reading vocabulary. I don't recall she ever looked at what book was clutched in my hand. Lots of times, it would be the Reader's Digest Condensed. Again, I probably didn't understand a lot of it. She'd hand me articles from her True Story, et al, magazines so I could learn lessons about pregnancy and being a teenage mother and how bad that was. Not that I was interested in joining that side of things in the '60s, but it was a word to the wise. Other than that, I was on my own.

Reading large before puberty. Think that's what makes a romance author?