I grew up reading heavy literature in school. I read a ton of the classics, which aren’t usually known for being lighthearted.
But for some reason, every time I pick up some really heavy literary fiction lately, I struggle with the topics.
For crime fiction, I handle it better. I wondered why, started thinking about it, and realized that the bad guy gets in trouble at the end of the book. It satisfies my sense of poetic justice, I think.
My book club has really been reading heavy literature, which is why I keep trying to read it, myself. Right now we’re reading Geraldine Brooks’ historical novel Year of Wonders. It’s elegantly written, meticulously researched, powerful…and disturbing. Basically, a village in 17th century England is hit by the plague. They decide to stay in the village instead of running away and spreading the contagion. The narrator fights against superstitious villagers and their fears about witchcraft.
It’s excellent and I’ll highly recommend it to anyone who is interested…but I’m just not in the right mood to read it.
I’m the same way with my writing—you’re just not going to see me writing books that aren’t humorous right now. Right now being the foreseeable future.
I’ll write scenes that are heavier in the book than others—dead bodies don’t make for humor, after all. But I’m not writing the entire book with a serious tone.
And then, some days I’m not in the mood to write something funny. Those are the days I’ll skip ahead and write a tense scene between my protagonist and the murderer, or I’ll describe a murder scene.
Does your mood affect your reading? Your writing? How do you handle it?