Weaknesses (of the Bookish Variety)

I have lots of weaknesses, unfortunately. Diet Coke. Sugary cereal with cartoon mascots. A certain baking show set in Britain. Hell, baked goods in general. Skin care products that promise dewy complexions. Puppies. The list goes on and on and isn’t devoid of some literary ones as well. Here are a few bookish weaknesses that I just can’t shake:

Magical realism- I read House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende when I was a sophomore in high school and was instantly hooked. There are so, so many that I haven’t gotten to, but I’ve loved seeing how the genre is represented in different countries by different authors (man, that sounds like the makings of a great class to teach, or take). I’m a pretty realistic girl, so I’ve always steered clear of fantasy. Magical realism offers a tiny sprinkling of imagination in a probable plot, which makes it so attractive to me.

Medical memoirs- Once upon a time I was going to be a doctor. In fact, in my eighth grade yearbook career goal quote I claimed I was on track to be a pediatric cardiologist. I’ve always been a fan of medical shows, worked for a vascular surgeon for my entire undergraduate career, and even studied for and passed the test to earn my biology credential. Since my pursuit of this interest never actually came to full fruition (as I stare at papers to grade… womp womp womp), reading about real-live doctors who lived and breathe medicine is the next best thing.

The quirky protagonist- At the end of the day, I fully acknowledge that I can be lean a little towards the eclectic side, especially in my interests, so I guess these are the type of people I most find myself identifying with. I also find more depth in characters who are written from this perspective as well, since perfect cookie-cutter people can be a bit boring (or perhaps I’m projecting).

Anything about running- I have been a runner for over a decade, and while I’m not fast, I am consistent. I also have a deep appreciation for people who have spent their lives training to be great at my hobby, as well as those who have overcome great odds to fulfill their dreams. I also find reading about running to be incredibly motivating- I’m quite positive that there is a direct correlation in my mileage ticking up the weeks I read these types of books.

Interconnected short stories- I am such a sucker for short story collections that have interwoven threads between the narratives. Perhaps there are just little Easter eggs here or there, a minor character showing up multiple times or the same even occurring in the background. Or maybe it ends up being a larger factor, like in Tommy Orange’s There There. This concept, the interconnected short story collection, is actually something I am exploring in my own writing right now (it’s heard, guys… more later).

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