Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Angst, Angst, oh how I yearn for thee

Not in my real life, of course. I clearly have enough angst in my real life . . . hence this post being 12 hours late. I'm sorry. My pirate self is really crappy at time management. All those hotties handing out shots make it really easy to procrastinate.

But in my reading life, the more angst the better. My heart aches, my hands tingle, and I cry. I cry a lot. Ironically, these are my favorite books. I generally read near a box of tissues, in private so I'm not humiliated by the snuffling. Then I'll catch sight of myself in the mirror, all puffy-eyed and red-faced, and burst out laughing. It's a BOOK! And yet I can't wait to get back to it and cry even more.

I find the roller-coaster ride of angst-filled book to be exhilarating. I always have more energy when I set down a book then I did when I picked it up and started (which can be a problem when it's four am and I need to get some sleep).

So I'm curious . . . what do you find exhilarating and energizing when it comes to reading. Is it the angst? The sexiness? The humor? Does angst make you cry and humor make you laugh out loud? What's the best combination? Anyone love a perfect laugh-out-loud joke in the middle of a tear-inducing, angsty scene?

18 comments:

MsHellion said...

All of it. :) I love humor and sexiness definitely, but I do love that moment of "OMG, how is this possibly going to work out?" and the black moment. Love me a black moment.

I don't like to be depressed the whole time though. Humor is essential...so I like it all, equally. :)

And yes, I love a perfect laugh out loud joke in the middle of a tear inducing angsty scene!

Maureen said...

Make me chuckle and smile. Make me unable to put the book down with the unknown rearing above me.

I'm not big on tears as energizing. Books like that exhaust me!

I like it when my lip lifts and I get a twinkle in my eye from some well written bit of cleverness!

Janga said...

I'm with Hellie. I want it all, preferably in one book.:) One of the reasons Anne Gracie is one of my favorite writers is that I can count on her to move me to tears and to laughter every time. Of course, I also have favorites who just write angst and who just write light-hearted. Sometimes it's just a matter of what I'm in the mood for.

TerriOsburn said...

I love when a joke comes through at an otherwise serious moment. And I'm all about the angst, but I'm finding too much of other things bothers me. Too much over-the-top sexy gets on my nerves now. Didn't used to. (Is that a product of getting old? Forget I asked. I don't want to know.)

I've read a couple new-to-me authors in the last year and their voices are really...intense. I'm not sure how else to explain them. There are few if any lighter scenes. It's just THIS IS SO TENSE through the whole thing. And these are Historicals, not suspense novels. The ones I've read have been shorter stories, but I'm wondering if as a reader I could stand that much tension for a whole novel.

For me it's balance. Kleypas and SEP, though two very different writers, both hit the balance just right IMO. There's sexy, serious, funny, sad, heartbreaking. It's all there but it all works together. Masterful.

haleigh said...

Hellie - there is a fine line between good angst and a black moment, and just straight up depression :) Every now and then I hit on a book that's gone too far, and it just leaves me sad and depressed until I give up and stop reading it.

haleigh said...

Mo - ah those clever little turns of phrase. I don't spot them very often (not sure if that's due to what I read or the way the story pulls me in - I usually don't notice the writing at all). I love how you mark and highlight those lines that stand out at you - I totally need to start doing that!

haleigh said...

Janga, I haven't read Anne Gracie, but you've raved about her. I checked out her website, read the excerpt for "Bride my Mistake" and now I MUST track down this book and read it. It looks amazing!!!

I'm the same way about my mood. Sometimes I like the deep emotion and angst, sometimes I like more sparse thrillers that are scary.

haleigh said...

Ter - yikes, tension can definitely be taken too far. I was reading a category once that had a new disaster pop up every other page. At one point I actually had to set it down and take deep breaths, just to because I was so exhausted by the tension.

I'm a big fan of SEP. I like her characters, especially in the older Chicago Stars series. Lisa Kleypas isn't dark enough for me - imagine that!

TerriOsburn said...

Wow. Really? Have you tried the new Rainshadow Road? Not sure it qualifies as dark in places, but darker than SEP for sure.

haleigh said...

No, I haven't tried her contemps. I usually give up on her historicals in the middle. Maybe I'll give a contemp a try.

Yeah, SEP isn't dark at all, but she's funny enough to keep me into it even without the angst :)

TerriOsburn said...

I know many would argue, but I really prefer Lisa's contemporaries. Definitely jump into Rainshadow Road. I read it without reading the first in the series and didn't feel like I missed too much.

haleigh said...

Nice - good to know! I've heard good things about it, so I'll give it a try.

Maureen said...

It's funny, it's not that I want to read comedy, but I treasure clever. Clever characters, clever plot twists, clever situations...

Perhaps I just have too much of an affinity for the darker side of viewing things, but I find it contagious. I quit watching House when I realized he was slowing converting me to the cynical side of viewing everything. The dialoge was so damned clever and compelling, it was sucking me in. But I don't want to view the world through cynical colored glasses, so I left the show behind.

I think it's the same for me with writing. I find angst terribly exhausting! I find clever invigorating, but make it amusing clever or diabolical clever. I think it's why I truly enjoy reading Crusie.

haleigh said...

Jenny Cruise is such a good example, Mo. I love love love her dialog. She's very clever. I know exactly what you mean - that moment when you hear or read something and just smile because it's so perfect and so right and so . . . well, clever!

TerriOsburn said...

Agree! Crusie is diabolically clever. I always remember that moment in Welcome To Temptation when the dead guy is wrapped in the fish covered shower curtain and one character says something like, "Well now he's sleeping with the fishes."

Love that.

haleigh said...

ha! I haven't read that one, but it's on my hold list to get it on audio from the library.

I just listened to Agnes and the Hitman, and it was amazing. Ah-mazing.

Maureen said...

I love how Crusie can do clever without it devolving into snark. I mean, I can appreciate snark, but snark is based on nasty. Crusie is based on clever observation. She seldom dives into snark.

I've grown allergic to snark. It just isn't clever! Give me clever!

Shouting from the top of the rum keg CLEVER!

haleigh said...

I couldn't agree with you more. Snark can be funny at first, but I agree that the nasty shines through quick and it just feels mean.