Saturday, 7 February 2009

Culturally different reading

A US friend has just told me she never reads what she calls "British cozies" - crime yarns. She finds them tedious and the characters intolerant - her words, not mine.
It makes me wonder about cultural differences in reading. I find it hard to tolerate many US writers of crime. The books often seem overlong, padded out for the sake of producing something long rather than literary.
I often find the characters even less realistic than those in the lightweight series by some British writers.
Good writers are much less likely to turn out dozens of books, their characters are not going to be as well rounded. The research will simply not be there. The story lines will be contrived and even formulaic. It is not Mills and Boon perhaps but it can still be formulaic.
Perhaps enjoyment also depends on the purpose in reading. If an evening's entertainment is all that is required then one of a lightweight series will suffice.
But, I think there is also a cultural difference here. I have a feeling that the traditional British village/town/county/city setting is very different from the US one. The procedures are different. The relationships are different. British characters may be reserved rather than intolerant. It can make them more complex and more interesting.

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