24 comments on “Booking Through Thursday: It’s Personal

    • I mean there are plenty of great books that use all kinds of narration styles… it’s more of a “all other things being equal” kind of thing, I’d take third over first, just because there are too many ways first can be done poorly (or, if not poorly, then at least distracting to me personally).

  1. You know – I think about that sometimes whether other people have a preference, but I really don’t have one. I just care that it’s done well. I like reading from the different perspectives.

    • As long as it’s done well, absolutely. Sometimes I wonder though about the choices authors make… is it a conscious decision to choose one over the other, or is it just what they’re used to and what’s comfortable for them? I’d like to think that every author weighs the options and puts that extra thought into it, but I don’t know that they always do. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I prefer third person most of the time. What drive me crazy are the books that are told in the first person of all of the major characters.

    • That used to bug me too, but I’ve read some good books where it worked. My biggest thing is it needs to be 100% clear who’s telling the story (or, if it’s not, that there’s a reason for it to be ambiguous that pays off in the end).

  3. “I don’t think I’ve ever come away from a third-person book and thought, if only it was written in first…” Exactly. I completely agree with everything you said. :) I don’t avoid first person narratives but I’d rather read in third person.

    • Yup. In general, first-person narrators make me more aware of something that I’d rather not think about. I’d rather be able to lose myself in the story than be focusing on, “I wonder why the author did it this way…” Granted, some of my favorite books are first-person and those particular books worked for me, but… all else being equal, I prefer third. Thanks for reading!

  4. I don’t really care as long as it’s done well. I tend to like third-person omniscient, where you can know their thoughts, etc. anyway without it being penned in first person. Plus, with first person it limits what your character can know, because they cannot be omniscient. Just my two cents. :)

    • It’s rather amusing that my favorite kind of third-person is so close that it almost may as well be first. I like when the author focuses on one character at a time — I know what A is thinking and feeling, but since he’s not sure what B’s thinking, I don’t know either… until there’s a scene break and I’m now inside B’s head (but it’s all still third-person). Truly omniscient narration, where we’re told everything about everyone all at once, can get overwhelming and confusing. But, as always… there are books where that works too. Stephen King usually pulls off the omniscient style effectively.

  5. First person for all the characters does not work for me unless they have distinctive voices…and even then, there has to be some way to identify each narrator. The ones that work have done something to differentiate between them, like entitling the chapter after the “speaking” character.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts…and for visiting my blog.

    • Yes, it absolutely needs to be clear (or, if it’s ambiguous, it needs to be purposely ambiguous and pay off in the end… I’ve seen something like this work, but it’s tricky). Thanks for reading!

  6. I’ve never really thought I had a preference, but when I like a character I think I really like the story to be in first-person – it’s great to live in their head. But it’s just hard to find that really strong, amazing and hopefully funny character. This is a great discussion!

    • It’s great if you have a great character, but on the flip side it can ruin a book if you just can’t connect… this can be an issue with any book, but to me third is a lot more forgiving, and easier to connect to the story in other ways. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Nodding my head while reading your take. “So many variables” – that’s it! Like we always say in gradschool ‘it depends….’


    • Yup, it always depends on the story and how it’s written. Even having my preferences there are always going to be exceptions. Thanks for reading!

    • I think even different styles can work if there’s a reason for it, if there’s a story reason that it makes sense. Even something that feels off to me at the start can win me over if it’s done well enough. Thanks for stopping by!

  8. I am fine with most POVs, as long as they’re done well. First person makes me nervous only because of the unreliability factor. I tend not to like second person at all, though.

    • I’ve read two books that used second person sparingly throughout. One of them was interesting (it basically came across as the character talking to herself), but not that effective and certainly not necessary. The other one actually worked pretty well, but I didn’t like the book anyway so I don’t remember the details. But I don’t think I could read a whole book in second person.

  9. You know, this is one of those things where I know some people have strong preferences, but it never occurs to me to have one. I like third person and first person both just fine. Both have some amazing books written that way, and some really awful books. I remember reading Edward Eager’s books when I was a kid, and the children in those books always talk about hating “I books”, and I am just as surprised at it now as I was then. :p

    • I don’t know that mine is even so much a preference (as in, “my ideal story would be in third person”) as it is the experience I’ve had with each. But when it comes to that experience, yeah, I guess I do feel pretty strongly about what I like and what I don’t. But then I’m sure there are plenty of other aspects to a book (of course none come to mind at the moment) that other readers feel strongly about and I don’t.

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