Started by Steph at alittlebutalot, Six for Sunday asks us to give six answers to one question. This week’s theme is ‘six things I love in a book’.
- Headstrong protagonists. Every character has a flaw, something which makes the reader empathise with them. When the action comes, we want them to come out on top. This is one I relate to, characters on the side of right, always, but ready to hurtle into battle regardless of the likely consequences. Think Moll or Lyra.
- Fairytales whose origin informs the plot. I’m a folkie, and love it when attention is given to the how and why of storytelling. This is about the why – why do we tell stories? What can we learn about a society, hundreds of years later, by reading their stories? Examples this year include Ink by Alice Broadway, A Girl Called Owl by Amy Wilson and The Sin Eater’s Daughter trilogy by Melinda Salisbury.
- Circus settings. Circus Mirandus to Secret Heart, The Night Circus to Wild Boy. I’ve never been to a circus in real life, but you could sell me a novel in a second by saying it is set in a circus. I think this may relate to point 2. The circus is a place where we allow our subconscious free reign to imagine. Many of the books above touch on this.
- Time-slip anything.
- Reference to real places. Done badly, it can read like those dodgy stories kids are lumbered with when they visit heritage sites, but I love visiting places I’ve read about in fiction.
- Animal companions. It has become a cliché, especially in middle grade fiction, but unless the animal is clearly a token, I’m sold. The flip-side is, I’ve always got my breath held. Mortality among fictional animal friends is high.
Thanks to Steph for hosting.