Friday, February 01, 2013

On being too lazy to read fantasy

I have mentioned before that I dislike reading descriptive passages in books. In general fiction I already know what mountains, rivers, flowers look like and I know what people look like. By the end of the story I’m unlikely to remember if the main character had black hair or brown, short hair or long, blue eyes or green, unless it was significant for a particular reason. Maybe the murderer left long black hairs on his victim, then I might remember. Generally though I don’t have detailed pictures in my mind of the characters. I also quite quickly forget the names of the characters, long before I forget the plot.

However I have discovered that the dislike of reading descriptive passages is a serious disadvantage when reading fantasy. I actually don’t know what a goblin looks like or an elf or some other fanciful character. Likewise with scenery, if it doesn’t behave or look like scenery in the real world then I have to rely on the author’s description. If I have skipped over these details I find myself floundering later in the story because I simply have no pictures in my head for what is happening.

As I pondered this dilemma I realized that the reason I don’t read fantasy isn’t because I find it unrealistic, or because I have an ethical problem with it as a Christian but rather I am simply too lazy! I don’t want to draw pictures in my mind of goblins or the landscape of an imaginary world.

This probably explains why I enjoyed the movie based on the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe more than I enjoyed the book. Seeing it on the screen meant I didn’t have to read the descriptions and imagine it for myself.

So the challenge for me, if I am going to enjoy reading fantasy, is to take more notice!

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