Author Topic: Reading/Book Pet Peeves  (Read 217756 times)

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Elfmama

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1155 on: August 19, 2013, 08:52:16 PM »
Romans held slaves based on who had lost the last war....i.e. NON-Romans.

Other countries, races, etc. held slaves based on much the same thing - someone taken in battle or captured after a battle was lost, as part of the "looting & pillaging" thing that was how most soldiers got PAID - the Romans paid them, "looting & pillaging" was by way of being their combat pay or bonus.....and selling captives as slaves was part of it.
And I think it was ... Plato?  Socrates? One of the Greek philosophers said that the concept of slavery was the height of civilization.  His thought was that when you conquered another tribe/nation/city-state, you killed all of the men of warrior age.  And then what would happen to their women and children?  Why, they'd just starve to death without men to take care of them.  It was uncivilized to leave the poor things there to die.  You took them home with you and took care of them.  And in return for your feeding and clothing and caring for them when they were ill, it was reasonable to expect them to work for you.  Race didn't come into it at all, as usually they were your neighbors and the same race as you.
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Jocelyn

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1156 on: August 19, 2013, 10:23:55 PM »
Racial justification for slavery pretty much arose in America after the concept of 'white' was developed. Prior to the colonization of the US, people didn't think of themselves as white- they were English, or Irish, or French or German. There was no collective category of 'Europeans'; they saw huge differences between the nationalities. It was only after they arrived in North America, started intermingling, and interacting with people who were of different colors, that the idea that there was a group called 'whites' arose....and the idea that it was morally, intellectually and physically superior to other groups, and destined to conquer, exile or enslave people of other colors. So while for the majority of history, color had nothing to do with slavery, it's been an inherent part of the history of slavery in the US. And Britain, too...check out Kipling's ideas about the White Man's Burden. ::)

Twik

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1157 on: August 19, 2013, 10:28:55 PM »
There was also financial slavery, based on debt. These slaves were ones fellow-citizens who had fallen on hard times, and in most early civilizations were still entitled to some level of rights, because one day their debts might be paid off, and they would be normal citizens again,
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KenveeB

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1158 on: August 19, 2013, 11:01:34 PM »
As interesting as the race/slavery discussion is, perhaps it could spin off elsewhere and not derail this thread?

VorFemme

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1159 on: August 20, 2013, 12:11:42 AM »
As interesting as the race/slavery discussion is, perhaps it could spin off elsewhere and not derail this thread?

I think that it originally arose from anachronistic comments about racially based slavery being applied to times & places when slavery had other causes - debt, war captives, or whatever.

I don't know about anyone else - but it is a major peeve for me to be reading along and realize that someone has essentially dressed up a modern (1990s or later) novel in costume and is trying to call it a "historical novel" because everyone is wearing clothes from another century.....

I don't care if it is satin knee breeches, a woolen toga, or caribou skins - the modern motivations and some too-close-to-modern phrasing just dumps me out of the "world" faster than seeing a camera in the corner of a tv or movie screen - or a zipper down the monster's back...
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Piratelvr1121

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1160 on: August 20, 2013, 06:40:37 AM »
Well to clarify I hadn't even used the word racism in my fanfiction, but one character was treating another poorly for being what they saw to be an inferior ethnicity and that was what had spurned the comment from the reviewer. 
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lady_disdain

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1161 on: August 20, 2013, 09:45:27 AM »
I don't know about anyone else - but it is a major peeve for me to be reading along and realize that someone has essentially dressed up a modern (1990s or later) novel in costume and is trying to call it a "historical novel" because everyone is wearing clothes from another century.....

I don't care if it is satin knee breeches, a woolen toga, or caribou skins - the modern motivations and some too-close-to-modern phrasing just dumps me out of the "world" faster than seeing a camera in the corner of a tv or movie screen - or a zipper down the monster's back...

This drives me crazy as well. And, often, writers will also ditch the historical closing as soon as convenient. I remember a Regency Romance author who loved to describe the sexy, silk and lace, transparent negligee her heroine wore on her wedding night...

Lynn2000

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1162 on: August 20, 2013, 10:22:09 AM »
I don't know about anyone else - but it is a major peeve for me to be reading along and realize that someone has essentially dressed up a modern (1990s or later) novel in costume and is trying to call it a "historical novel" because everyone is wearing clothes from another century.....

I don't care if it is satin knee breeches, a woolen toga, or caribou skins - the modern motivations and some too-close-to-modern phrasing just dumps me out of the "world" faster than seeing a camera in the corner of a tv or movie screen - or a zipper down the monster's back...

This bugs me, too. I find it a lot in the novels I read geared towards the tween audience, 10- to 14-year-olds--the heroine is always way spunkier than most girls of her era, she can and wants to read, she wants to bathe, she likes drinking milk and eating vegetables, she hates embroidery, she never looks down on someone because they're poor/of a different race/religion/country... I don't think such a person would have been impossible to find in real life, but to go by the historical tween book section there was one in every manor house throughout the entire past millennium.  ::) Oh, bonus points if they make a comment about how women's clothes of the time are awful.

I can never decide if this is a genuine problem, or just a sampling bias--no one wants to write/read a book about a conventional-for-her-era girl...?
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wolfie

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1163 on: August 20, 2013, 11:42:13 AM »
I don't know about anyone else - but it is a major peeve for me to be reading along and realize that someone has essentially dressed up a modern (1990s or later) novel in costume and is trying to call it a "historical novel" because everyone is wearing clothes from another century.....

I don't care if it is satin knee breeches, a woolen toga, or caribou skins - the modern motivations and some too-close-to-modern phrasing just dumps me out of the "world" faster than seeing a camera in the corner of a tv or movie screen - or a zipper down the monster's back...

This bugs me, too. I find it a lot in the novels I read geared towards the tween audience, 10- to 14-year-olds--the heroine is always way spunkier than most girls of her era, she can and wants to read, she wants to bathe, she likes drinking milk and eating vegetables, she hates embroidery, she never looks down on someone because they're poor/of a different race/religion/country... I don't think such a person would have been impossible to find in real life, but to go by the historical tween book section there was one in every manor house throughout the entire past millennium.  ::) Oh, bonus points if they make a comment about how women's clothes of the time are awful.

I can never decide if this is a genuine problem, or just a sampling bias--no one wants to write/read a book about a conventional-for-her-era girl...?

I think noone of our era wants to read a book (or more then a handful) of books about a conventional for her era girl. Think about what life would have been like for a woman in those eras and then think about how interesting a novel really would be if you were reading for something other then information about what life was like then. Look at novels about teens set in our era and how unrealistic they are. Noone wants to read about a teen who has a curfew and whose parents won't let her go out on adventures.

cwm

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1164 on: August 20, 2013, 11:46:26 AM »
I don't know about anyone else - but it is a major peeve for me to be reading along and realize that someone has essentially dressed up a modern (1990s or later) novel in costume and is trying to call it a "historical novel" because everyone is wearing clothes from another century.....

I don't care if it is satin knee breeches, a woolen toga, or caribou skins - the modern motivations and some too-close-to-modern phrasing just dumps me out of the "world" faster than seeing a camera in the corner of a tv or movie screen - or a zipper down the monster's back...

This bugs me, too. I find it a lot in the novels I read geared towards the tween audience, 10- to 14-year-olds--the heroine is always way spunkier than most girls of her era, she can and wants to read, she wants to bathe, she likes drinking milk and eating vegetables, she hates embroidery, she never looks down on someone because they're poor/of a different race/religion/country... I don't think such a person would have been impossible to find in real life, but to go by the historical tween book section there was one in every manor house throughout the entire past millennium.  ::) Oh, bonus points if they make a comment about how women's clothes of the time are awful.

I can never decide if this is a genuine problem, or just a sampling bias--no one wants to write/read a book about a conventional-for-her-era girl...?

I think noone of our era wants to read a book (or more then a handful) of books about a conventional for her era girl. Think about what life would have been like for a woman in those eras and then think about how interesting a novel really would be if you were reading for something other then information about what life was like then. Look at novels about teens set in our era and how unrealistic they are. Noone wants to read about a teen who has a curfew and whose parents won't let her go out on adventures.

I don't know, there are a few stories I've started reading (and then the Kindle app died on my phone, boo) that was about a normal family of girls, then the father died, they received nothing because their parents weren't really married, and what they had to go through being women and unable to do anything to support themselves. It was slow, but actually very interesting.

Then again, for the most part, you're right. If most books were like that, I'd probably never read another historical novel again.

Lynn2000

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1165 on: August 20, 2013, 11:59:02 AM »
Well, the heroine wouldn't have to be completely conventional for her era, but I sometimes feel like heroines in historical novels (especially for younger readers) often go too far in the direction of modern attitudes. I love the Royal Diaries series, for example. The whole point of those is that they're following extraordinary young women, like Cleopatra or Elizabeth II. But sometimes I feel like the authors are trying too hard to make them relatable to modern young readers, rather than focusing on how their slightly "modern" or unconventional tendencies made them revolutionary for the time and place. With a poor author you can end up feeling like the heroine is the only smart, kind person in the whole era, and that the problem with everyone else is history is that they're just mean and dumb. Kind of reductionist...
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Library Dragon

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1166 on: August 20, 2013, 01:01:45 PM »
The spunky heroine has been around a long time.  Caddie Woodlawn jumps to mind.  She's been encouraged to be wild and free to improve her health and her lack of refinement embarrasses her mother.  Her father though is very supportive. 

I think that the key to a believable story is motivation.  The family didn't just decide to let their daughter "be free".  She's also not fighting against everyone in her family.  She has support. 

Too often in juvenile and YA lit the author is so determined to make the hero/heroine the outsider that it gets unbelievable.  No friends, no family, no kind word from anyone? 

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wolfie

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1167 on: August 20, 2013, 01:09:33 PM »
I don't know about anyone else - but it is a major peeve for me to be reading along and realize that someone has essentially dressed up a modern (1990s or later) novel in costume and is trying to call it a "historical novel" because everyone is wearing clothes from another century.....

I don't care if it is satin knee breeches, a woolen toga, or caribou skins - the modern motivations and some too-close-to-modern phrasing just dumps me out of the "world" faster than seeing a camera in the corner of a tv or movie screen - or a zipper down the monster's back...

This bugs me, too. I find it a lot in the novels I read geared towards the tween audience, 10- to 14-year-olds--the heroine is always way spunkier than most girls of her era, she can and wants to read, she wants to bathe, she likes drinking milk and eating vegetables, she hates embroidery, she never looks down on someone because they're poor/of a different race/religion/country... I don't think such a person would have been impossible to find in real life, but to go by the historical tween book section there was one in every manor house throughout the entire past millennium.  ::) Oh, bonus points if they make a comment about how women's clothes of the time are awful.

I can never decide if this is a genuine problem, or just a sampling bias--no one wants to write/read a book about a conventional-for-her-era girl...?

I think noone of our era wants to read a book (or more then a handful) of books about a conventional for her era girl. Think about what life would have been like for a woman in those eras and then think about how interesting a novel really would be if you were reading for something other then information about what life was like then. Look at novels about teens set in our era and how unrealistic they are. Noone wants to read about a teen who has a curfew and whose parents won't let her go out on adventures.

I don't know, there are a few stories I've started reading (and then the Kindle app died on my phone, boo) that was about a normal family of girls, then the father died, they received nothing because their parents weren't really married, and what they had to go through being women and unable to do anything to support themselves. It was slow, but actually very interesting.

Then again, for the most part, you're right. If most books were like that, I'd probably never read another historical novel again.

That is the thing - I could probably read one or two of those and that would be it for me. It's just not interesting enough to sustain me over multiple books. And since ultimately the purpose of an author is to sell books and make money they go with what people will read over historical accuracy.

Slartibartfast

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1168 on: August 20, 2013, 03:36:00 PM »
Also, our idea of a sympathetic character changes a lot over time, too.  An authentic historical "hero" from many eras would have thought nothing of owning slaves (or something close to it), would be content to shun a lower-status woman who had been raped because she brought it on herself somehow, would have no problem with preteen girls being forced into prostitution, and would have taken an extremely lax view of fidelity in marriage (at least for the male half of the couple).  But try to put any of those qualities into a book for modern readers and everyone would hate the character.  Similarly, it would be hard to sympathize with a female character who truly believed she was not capable of making decisions, exerting her influence on anyone except servants/slaves, or doing anything except sewing and housework.

I know I'd much rather read about the historical anomalies.

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1169 on: August 20, 2013, 04:00:53 PM »
I remember reading a Regency romance some years ago where I liked the hero quite a bit. He objected to the heroine riding astride rather than sidesaddle because it was "unladylike."

When the heroine pointed out that riding sidesaddle was both uncomfortable and unsafe if you planned to do anything more than some sedate trotting, he actually listened enough that he tried out a sidesaddle (much to his groom's bemusement). And decided that he agreed with her, especially with the weight of the full skirts of a riding habit dragging you further off balance. So he tried to design a better sidesaddle.

I wish I could remember the title, but I still remember that part of the plot, because unlike a lot of heroes in romance novels, this one actually listened to the heroine and tried to reach a compromise.