Friday, March 28, 2014

The Books We Love

Welcome to another edition of the Round Table Discussion- Spanking Hot Topics, brought to you by Spanking Romance Reviews.

This week our guest topic was provided by Lucy Appleby: The importance of dynamic first chapters, opening paragraphs, & narrative

I signed up for this topic and then immediately questioned my judgement.

Sure, I have been dabbling in writing for the past year, but that by no means makes me an expert on our topic today. Then I had a thought, I have been reading my entire life, I know what books I like and what books I don't. So I come to you today as a reader. 

What makes me like a book? Well my first favorite book that I can recall was The Eye Book

"My eyes see. 
His eyes see. 
I see him. 
And he sees me."

Okay, not exactly dynamic I guess, but to a four year old it was high quality. Also, I loved the rabbit on the cover. He looks a little crazy, and even as a kid I could respect that.

Moving on in my reading career. I have a confession to make: I hated reading when I was a kid. This seems like such a sacrilegious statement to make as an author. But I did. I hated reading. Required reading for school was the worst!

We have to jump about ten years to get to my next favorite book in life. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

Required reading for my high school freshman English class.

It may have been the only book I read in entirety during my high school career. I was wondering myself what would have made me actually read this book. Here is how it opens:

"When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.... When enough years had gone by to enable us to look back on them, we sometimes discussed the events leading to his accident. I maintain that the Ewells started it all, but Jem, who was four years my senior, said it started long before that. He said it began the summer Dill came to us, when Dill first gave us the idea of making Boo Radley come out."

I was recently wondering what it was about this book that enticed me to read it. It just may have been these opening lines. Even now it hooks me and I am thinking it has been a long time since I read this. I might have to go dig out my copy.

A while back we were all tagging each other on facebook to name ten books that influenced you. I ended up having a lot of plays on my list. I was a theatre geek and I always read plays. Well, they are shorter than books, makes sense I had chosen to read these over full novels. But I think the real reason is that they are all action. You can't have a lot of set up or back story in a play, it's dialogue, events, things are moving. The audience needs to know what's going on without someone saying "She was crying because she burned the muffins." You have to actually see her burn the muffins.

I think, to me, that is what makes a good book. Putting me in the middle of something that is already going on. As if I'm "joining this program already in progress," go on, do your thing. I'll catch up.

Taking the big picture and zeroing in on one thing you want me to focus on. It sets up an intimate relationship between me and the book.

His eyes see, and Jem broke his arm. Small things going on in a big world, but they were all I cared about for those moments in time.

Now I am all about the spanking, the romance, the sex. Please have sex! I'm not saying I don't like a book without sex, but if you are alluding to it the whole time and then don't seal the deal, I get a little ornery.

My favorite setups into a spanking romance are when it opens on the heroine doing something a little bit dangerous. Maybe a little naughty. Something that feels like it might lead to a spanking. Yeah, I guess I get a little single-minded about these things, but I'm not going to lie about what I like.

What about you? What about an opening paragraph makes you want to read?

Be sure to check out all the other Round Table posts for today! Thanks for stopping by.


  1. I LOVE this post, Miss Casey McKay. I don't know why I am calling you "Miss Casey McKay" lately, but I am.

    I LOVE "To Kill a Mockingbird." Book and movie. All-time fave, just so well done on ALL counts. The narration they preserve in the movie version makes it (that writing). Great points you make here, very well said.

  2. I love reading but hated to read what I was told to read in HS! It's my rebellious side...As for the crazy bunny, it resonated for you if you still remember it like that. I'm with you on action and as far as spanking books go, yes, please - get me set up for a spanking straight away! I'll stay to read the details of the actual event...

  3. I also hated reading as a child. I had forgotten about that, b/c I love to read so much now. Cherise Sinclair had asked her fans who was the author who stayed with them and who had influenced their life the most. Julie Garwood was it for me. It wasn't until I read my first romance novel(stolen from my mom's stash in junior high that I truly lost myself in a book. And it had me snagged from the very beginning. Great post Casey!

  4. I had my nose in a book from before kindergarten, and so liked it even better when reading was part of my school work. I know, total geek. There was never any doubt I would be an English major.

    I agree, starting a story in media res is the only way to go.

    To Kill a Mockingbird still makes my soul fly just reading that first part...

  5. The opening of To Kill A Mockingbird is excellent. Now I want to read it again. It's just filled with so much information but raises so many questions.


  6. You have good taste re To Kill a Mockingbird - what a classic that is.
    I absolutely agree that when the opener involves the heroine doing something naughty you just have to continue, because you know she's going to get in bother and earn a spanking.

    What a fabulous wide-eyed rabbit!

  7. Just reading those first lines in To Kill a Mockingbird brings me right back. It was the only required reading that I read in school. I not only read it but I LOVED it. Those first lines are probably why.

    I was firmly in the camp of loving to read & hating to read anything that was required.

    I loved your thoughts and loved this post. I'm glad you decided to participate.