Nibbles & Bits, Vol. 2
A plot-driven novel that some reviews say it "jumped the shark."
Character-driven novels, often called Literary fiction, are focused on the character, and while there is a plot of some sort, the character drives the plot forward. I love the development of the characters and the in-depth knowledge of why characters do what they do, but sometimes in these novels, I find my mind wandering because not a lot seems to be happening.
In looking at the books I’ve read this year, I’ve been on a plot-driven adventure that I hadn’t noticed until lately, and I’m excited to share a few of these books with you, beginning with last week’s Vol. 1 of Nibble & Bits. In plot-driven novels, the plot is compelling and is what moves the story forward. The action starts immediately, and if it’s done correctly, there are twists, turns, and surprises all along the way. It keeps you guessing throughout while leaving clues as to what is happening and why. If it’s written well, the clues sometimes take you down paths you aren’t expecting, and you cannot put the book down until it’s finished.
Long-time favorite author Lisa Scottoline’s recent thriller, What Happened to the Bennett’s, takes place over a short time, and if you can get through the first few chapters, you can sit back and enjoy the ride. The tragedy happens almost immediately, and it’s hard to get through. When you do, you are taken on an adventure through the witness protection program with twists and turns, some expected and others a complete surprise. Some reviews indicated that it was far-fetched and “jumped the shark,” but I disagree. Everything that happened could have happened, and it made complete sense for the book's premise. It was fast-paced, and the end of each chapter kept you from putting the book down unless you absolutely had to.
What I saw lacking in this book is what I see missing in many plot-driven books, character development. While you come to understand each character somewhat, the in-depth knowledge isn’t present because it’s not the book's focus. I enjoyed the book immensely as I have many of Scottoline’s books in the past. Most of her books have been mystery/suspense/thriller type books, but she has written one historical fiction book, Eternal, that I’m looking forward to reading. I’m interested to see how she did with a book outside of her usual genre.
I armchair travel all the time, through various means. And one of my favorites is with US-based writer Alex Wolfe and his “pop-up” newsletters about his walking adventures. His newsletters are full of people, buildings, and beautiful photography of what makes America the country it is, both good and bad. His latest newsletter, Sun Song, combines walking and the rails for a thirty-plus day adventure beginning in Boston and ending in Miami on June 19th. The newsletter website comes down shortly after he finishes his walk, so check it out soon.
I wrote a little about Sara Novic’s latest book True Biz here. I have yet to read True Biz, but it is working its way to the top of my TBR. This article is an even better article authored by Novic herself on how she found her voice as a deaf author.
It was not easy going back to work this week after having ten glorious days off work. I thoroughly enjoyed my time off. I completed seven books during this time. I can’t remember the last time I read this much in such a short time. I do believe I could get used to retirement without much effort at all.
Overall, I’m feeling good about my reading life right now. Are you doing anything different or unusual to feel good about your reading life? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.
Have a great weekend, and happy reading!
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