09 August 2009

Sunday Salon: Do You Have a Favorite Era?

Do you have a favorite era that you prefer your books to be set in? I never thought I did until recently. I've run across a couple books that didn't appeal to me because they were set in the recent past (1980s - 1990s). This seems like a contradiction to me because I love books from bygone eras. Remember my Lori Wick obsession last winter? All those books were set in the 1800s. On my bedside now I have a book from 1936 and 1956, and last week I finished a book set in the 1910s. What's wrong with the recent past?

Perhaps because I didn't live through it, a bygone era seems more exotic. When I read a book from the 1980s, it just feels dated. One book I was reading was focusing on the struggle of working mothers to balance everything. The whole attitude combined with terms like "power suit" made me say to myself, "No one acts like this any more" and throw the book aside in disgust. I also squirm when some authors mention computers and such in their books. Some incorporate tech naturally, but others sound like those morning-show anchors who get stuck talking about the new iPhone when the tech expert doesn't show up :-). Maybe my daughters will pick up books like this in 20 years and find them novel.

TBR List: Even though I feel like I've been reading a lot this week, I've only finished two books. That doesn't compensate for the 20 that I added to the list! I told myself that I wasn't going to change my behavior, but I think I need to refrain from adding new books to the list until the end of the year. That will be difficult to do, since I will forget about books I hear about if I don't add them to the list. A perpetually long list may not be such a bad thing!

CURRENTLY READING: I'm reading Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder and it isn't going as quickly as I thought. I haven't reached the point in the book where the plot starts pulling me through, so I don't feel compelled to pick the book up. It sat untouched all day Saturday, but I'm going to make a better effort today. I don't want to be stuck with this book for another week.


JoAnn said...

I can't stop adding books to my tbr list, but I MUST stop buying them and requesting them from the library! It's getting too overwhelming. I'm thinking about a moratorium until the end of the year.

Books in the recent past don't appeal much to me either, unless the setting is exotic.

Dani in NC said...

My definition of "recent past" is very finicky, too. As of right now, if a book with a contemporary setting was published between 2005 and 2009 I don't have a problem with it. Most of the references to pop culture and tech don't feel that dated.

We make our library trip every Monday. In order to avoid overwhelming myself with books, I try to alternate between requesting books for me and for the kids. One Monday I'll be picking up all kids' books, then the next Monday most of the books will be for me. In a couple weeks that may change. School starts on the 25th, and my kids like to build up their Accelerated Reader points early before they get bogged down with other school work. If all my reviews end up being for YA books in September, don't be surprised!

Table Talk said...

There are a lot of books around now set in the 1950s and these I quite enjoy, but the seventies and eighties were such dull times (I know, I lived through them) that I can't work up any enthusiasm at all.

kay - Infinite Shelf said...

I will agree that books set in the eighties often feel dated for me, too. The sixties and seventies would be the limit, and it depends on how it's written.