I'm Keen!

Enthusiasm is often derided in our society – being blasé, bored, cynical and flippant is just so much cooler.

Well, forget cool. (I was never going to be cool anyway: I prefer to be warm when it’s five degrees outside, so I actually wear clothes in winter. Wooly ones.)

Tongue out with excitement

As Simon Pegg says: “Being a geek is all about being honest about what you enjoy and not being afraid to demonstrate that affection. It means never having to play it cool about how much you like something. It’s basically a license to proudly emote on a somewhat childish level rather than behave like a supposed adult. Being a geek is extremely liberating.”

I mean, who looks like they’re having more fun?
These people:

Everyone looks happy

or these people?

01 (345)


So, in the spirit of being unashamedly enthusiastic about things we like, here’s a few things I like in books and stories generally.

I like ‘cosy’ murder mysteries, where people might be offed by their nearest and dearest, but never in a manner that is sadistic or tortuous.
I like little old lady detectives – Miss Silver, Miss Marple, and their ilk.

Knitting Ladies revisited

I am particularly fond of Miss Silver, but that may be due in part to my seasonal predilection for knitting. Her only fault is her pronunciation of French with an English accent. Otherwise, she is who I’d like to be when I grow up (if indeed I ever do).

I like drawing-room scenes at the end where the detective explains what happened – whether before or after the criminal’s identity is revealed.

I like writers who have fun with language, who aren’t afraid to be a bit silly and in whose company you can rest assured nothing grotty is going to slide past your eyeballs. P.G. Wodehouse, you are my hero.


I like historical novels – provided they aren’t modern characters acting in modern ways in a quasi-historical setting. Ellis Peters is a good example of getting it right.

I like fantasy, provided, again, that they aren’t modern characters acting in modern ways in a fantasy world. Unless of course they are visitors (unintentional or otherwise) to this other world, in which case, potentially hilarious!


Which brings me to my next point: Culture Clash! I love culture clash stories. At least the ones where culture clash is food for amusement. Where two cultures clash, take on each others worst aspects, and descend in interlocking spirals of unthinking destruction and despair, not so much.

I like well thought out worlds, with interior consistency, even if they’re consistently weird (see Terry Pratchett and Simon R. Green).

Great A'Tuin, the star turtle, bears the Discworld through space [1680x1050]

I like stories to have a structure – not such a big fan of the post-modern ‘significant meaninglessness’; and I really don’t go for teenage, middle-age, or any other age angst. (Note to Holden Caulfield: habitual liars do not get much sympathy when complaining about how phoney everyone is.)

I like imagination and wit.
I like a story I can get right into.
I like to be slightly forlorn when the tale is finished (and peeved when I find the author has inconsiderately died and will therefore be producing no more.)

What about you?
What do you like, and what do you loathe?
If you could bring back one author from the dead (in a Frogs kind of a way, not a Monkey’s Paw kind of a way), who would it be?

9 Replies to “I'm Keen!”

  1. I am right there with you, both in terms of “Geekery is fun!” and in terms of your likes and dislikes. I nearly squeed when you mentioned Wodehouse. XD I meet precious few people (maybe this has to do with my being in the U.S.A.) that even know who that master-craftsman of inanely funny prose is.
    Also, I need to look up Miss Silver, apparently.

    I’ve never been very interested in “realistic” novels, like Grisham’s, nor scary things, like Stephen King. I am, however, a fanatic Tolkien fan.

    1. Yay for finding another Wodehouse fan! And another Tolkien fan – it’s become the thing lately to run him down, which I don’t approve of. As for King, the only book of his I’ve read was “On Writing” – and that was scary enough!
      Definitely look up Miss Silver, she’s a darling.

        1. And boy, have plenty tried!
          I do like the way the excellence of his works make me feel encouraged about my own writing, instead of despairing. No idea how he worked that one, either!

          1. Lol! I had a mantra when I first started writing: “You are not Tolkien, and that’s ok.” 😉
            I definitely had an inferiority complex in regards to him, and to my other favorite writers. But you’re right. His work is also encouraging, somehow.

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