Fun with Lists (TCWT)

This month’s TCWT blog chain asks:

What kinds of published books would you like to see more of? 

I’ve seen a big push for diversity over the month so far (so much that I posted about it), but personally, that isn’t what I look for in fiction.  Sure, I’d love to see equal representation of all different styles of life, but I read books for two reasons: entertainment, or studying the craft of writing.  The main character’s ethnicity doesn’t ultimately affect her emotions, and while occasionally it comes up as a plot point, my favorite stories featuring diverse characters are the ones that don’t mention their diversity.  It isn’t that I prefer to be blind to their differences, but humans are humans.  Unless the main character isn’t human at all, they’re going to move through the story the same way any other character would.

Thus, when confronted with this prompt, diversity is not the first thing that comes to mind.  What would I like to see more of?  The first choice is extremely broad: well-written books.  And I don’t even have the right to wish for that.  I don’t want more books in the world– I want more time to read all the books in the world.  But if I’m sticking to the prompt, I might as well make a list.

  • My own books.  I know someone else said that earlier this month, but I’ll say it again.  Seeing my books published would be awesome, and there aren’t nearly enough of them in the world.
  • Classics.  I want more timeless books that will easily stand the test of time, even if newly published.  I’ve written a guide to writing classics, so it shouldn’t be that difficult.  But honestly, can you imagine living in the same time period as Alexander Dumas, claiming (truthfully) that you were one of his first fans?  What about Leo Tolstoy?  Victor Hugo?  It’s about time we had some more books that everyone loves.  I want more books like The Killer Angels or The Book Thief.
  • I guess this falls under diversity, but I want more groundbreaking books.  It doesn’t matter what genre because these books create their own, like The Lord of the Rings, or Frankenstein.  Even Twilight falls under this category.  (Paranormal romance would never exist without it.)  We’ve already proven our capability in copying what everyone else does– let’s be creative.
  • Lastly, a very specific request: sea stories.  Sea stories in fantasy.  I loved Brian Jacques’ Castaways of the Flying Dutchman and I’d like to see more in that vein.  (If you can point me to any titles that already exist, please do.)

There exists no charming way to end a list, but this will have to do.  For everyone else’s lists, check out the rest of the blog chain.

May 5th –

May 6th –

May 7th –

May 8th –

May 9th –

May 10th –

May 11th –

May 12th –

May 13th –

May 14th –

May 15th –

May 16th –

May 17th –

May 18th –

May 19th –

May 20th –

May 21st –

May 22nd –

May 23rd –

May 24th –

May 25th –

May 26th –

May 27th –

May 28th –

May 29th –

May 30th – – We’ll announce the topic for June’s blog chain!


62 thoughts on “Fun with Lists (TCWT)

  1. Good post. I quite heartily agree with what you said about diversity. Sure, it’s great and minorities should be represented, but I read so I can go on adventures with characters I like who participate in gripping plots. I don’t care what said characters look like. I feel the same way about them if they’re white or black or Brazilian or Azerbaijani.

    That basically just repeated what you said in the post. Oh well.

    Also agree about groundbreaking books and your books.

  2. I like this list. All the points (though I’m probably not as enthusiastic as you about that last one).
    Groundbreaking books would be awesome. I have an excellent idea– let’s combine items 1 and 3. *nods enthusiastically*

      1. Great! You handle the Hugo/Dickens/Tolstoy classics, I’ll do the Jane Austen.

      2. Oh, darn. Now I’m getting plot bunnies… combining 1,2,3, and 4. HELP! I DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT SAILING!

      3. Very sneaky, sir. Especially considering that should any such book come into existence from me, you will be alpha reading. Excellent– you can help me figure out sailing.

      4. Unless I’m the one saying number one and I’m not changing pronouns. “My” only refers to the speaker, unless quoted.

  3. Yay! Someone else whose read something by Brian Jaques!
    About no one at my school reads his books, and while I’m more of a Redwall fan (another series by him), I loved those books too. Very interesting and mysterious.

  4. Sea stories. I have you covered. Wait a few years, and soon, you shall see an awesome pirate story taking the world by storm. And I will have written it. *Smug smirk*

    Also, the name of this post reminded me of Big Bang Theory, and Sheldon’s “Fun with Flags” vlog. XD

      1. Ha, that’s true, I guess. But mine would be a lot larger than 64k. Actually, I estimate it would be around 100k or more. (Are you planning to get yours published, by the way? Or are you working on publishing Stakes first?)

      2. This was the first novel I’ve successfully plotted. I’m still working on those mammoth plot threads.

        (Wheels are turning. I’m not sure what’s what yet.)

      3. Wait, plotted? As opposed to pantsed? (WHAT IS THE SPELLING OF THIS STUPID WORD!?)

  5. YES. Awesome post. I never really thought about the classics aspect of it, but now that you mention, you are right on. Besides the Book Thief (and maybe Code Name Verity), I can’t think of any recent books that I can see being widely read one-hundred years from now. YA publishing has become so much more about the story that will sell in the present, sadly.

  6. Your thoughts on diversity are exactly the same as mine. And I wish I could recommend some good sea stories, but I can’t think of any.

  7. Great points! I really enjoyed reading your post. And this quote “I want more time to read all the books in the world” sums up the trouble I had with this prompt. I’ll never be able to read all the books I will love in my lifetime so why ask for more? Oh, well. I’m still new to prompts. Hopefully it’ll get easier.

    I’m interested to know which modern books will be classics in the future. Do dystopian and post-apocalyptical books have no chance?

    1. It’s difficult to make a futuristic story a classic. If they’re theoretic enough– like HG Wells’ The Time Machine– they might stand the test of time. However, all stories dealing with the future are dated. As that future comes closer and closer, the story gets less and less pleasurable. For instance, Back to the Future II deals with a future earth, with flying cars and all this technology… in 2015. In 1989, it was great. Now? It’s still funny, but only because you’re laughing at the writer’s wild imagination. Books about the past, however– like War and Peace, or The Book Thief– only get better, because the past never changes.

      Do dystopian and post-apocalyptic books stand a chance? Yes, but it’s a slim one. They’re fun to read now, but in a hundred years, possibly not.

  8. Oh my gosh, I almost forgot about this…. and I have the one tomorrow, don’t I? Lovely.

    I agree with your lists. Particularly the second one. Man, The Book Thief was amazing. Despite the fact that I couldn’t seem to stop crying after I finished it… The third one sounds like a good idea, too. I wish I could do something like that, but I highly doubt it. Most my novels spring from me thinking something along the lines of, “What if I write something like this, only maybe a tiny bit different?”

    Also… for some reason, WordPress keeps unfollowing your blog, and I don’t get why. It’s only doing it to yours, as far as I can tell, but, yeah. So sorry for continually re-following your blog….

    1. Lord of the Rings was exactly that– what if I could write this story, but in a world that’s just a teensy bit different… *twenty years later* Wow, that turned out nothing like I expected.

      Well, I’m shocked that WordPress would try to steal my followers. I apologize, and wish there was something I could do to help.

      1. That’s true…

        It’s probably just a bug or something, but…it’s definitely annoying. It’s done it three or four times now. Hehe, if it’s going to make me unfollow somebody, I don’t see why it doesn’t make me unfollow the blogs that aren’t quite as interesting and/or don’t really post at all, and not one that I actually enjoy following.

      2. Another amazing blog– that’s too bad. I don’t know if you’ve seen Charley Robson’s blog, but she’s one I wish I could follow, but Google has thwarted me each time I’ve signed up.

  9. Ah, Victor Hugo. See, I’m a fan of his CHARACTERS, but not of his WRITING, most of the time. It’s the long diversions and discussion of the sewers of Paris that puts me off. 😉

    I would argue that ‘diverse’ characters are affected by their differences as far as emotions are concerned. Maybe not as much racially, although that can change people’s self-image, aspirations etc, depending on the society they live in, but certainly LGBTQ folk are often affected by it in their relationships with family and friends, their faith, and of course their romantic entanglements. Not to mention how much a disability or mental illness impacts on everyday life. But I agree with you as far as that I think the best stories about “diverse” characters are the ones which are about more than their diversity — where it’s a sidenote rather than their entire personality. 🙂

    1. Same here. His characters are brilliant, and while his writing is good, it needs to be trimmed a bit. It amuses me, though, that the one thing everyone remembers are the sewers of Paris. Perhaps he succeeded there.

      Indeed. And of course, there are all different styles of emotional diversity, even beyond what we think of. Emotionally dead people are fun, as evidenced by the gripping nature of books like Dan Wells’ I Am Not A Serial Killer, or Amy Tintera’s Reboot. Diversity, I suppose, is hardly separate from emotion.

      1. Everyone remembers the sewers (and Waterloo oh gods don’t go there) because the sheer intensity of their despair when they tried to read that section of the book… Or in Notre Dame de Paris where the whole opening section is just a history of cathedrals…. :/

  10. Well, you ended a list with…another list! That’s a fine way to end a list!

    Your list seemed to be honest, so thanks for that. I agree about the whole diversity thing. Yeah, it’s great–I particularly love reading about people from other countries–but that’s not the number one thing I’m looking for in a book. Or even the number two thing. Or three, or…you get the picture.

    Sea stories? Oh, one came to mind, but for the life of me I can’t remember what it was called…I know Rudyard Kipling wrote it, though.

    …Ten minutes later, after a thorough search of several bookshelves in the house for the book and failing, a quick Google search revealed the title: “Captains Courageous.” Scholastic gives the summary as follows:

    “First published in 1897, ‘Captains Courageous’ tells of the high-seas adventures of Harvey Cheyne, the son of an American millionaire, who, after falling from a luxury ocean liner, is rescued by the raucous crew of the fishing ship ‘We’re Here.’ Obstinate and spoiled at first, Harvey in due course learns diligence and responsibility and earns the camaraderie of the seamen, who treat him as one of their own. A true test of character, Harvey’s months aboard the ‘We’re Here’ provide a delightful glimpse of life at sea and well-told morals of discipline, empathy, and self-reliance.”

    And the interest level is supposedly high school. I barely remember reading this one for school, but I suspect it was around 5th grade and I thought it dreadfully boring, so that interest level is probably more accurate.

    Anyhow! Sorry about that.

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