(24th post on mythic moments for the A-Z Challenge)
Many readers have very clear ideas on what they want out of a book. A YA dystopia with a bit of romance. A crime novel with a tough, jaded protagonist. A romance set in the Renaissance. An epic in which the good guy wins. A book with a lot of buzz. Any book on the craft of writing. Or the history of rock and roll. Or the redemptive qualities of dogs. A little knowledge of keyword searches, a glance at the reviews, and one can do quite well with this approach, only tumbling into occasional disappointment.
I get myself into trouble because I tend to like things that are less tangible. Things that cannot be found easily with an Amazon search or summary review. I seek out books that have 'x factors,' books that do something (extraordinary) that no other book does. (I realize this is partly an attempt to mythologize my own tastes, but I think there's a deeper point, and I needed a topic that began with X.)
In this view, it's the strangeness that sticks with us. The work that does something unexpected, and in doing so does not deceive the reader/viewer but instead makes them feel slightly elevated, slightly expanded, as if their creative worlds are now just a bit larger. Works that make us go, 'Huh, I hadn't quite realized that was possible.' It's hard to order that up, but we all need quests.
Do you prefer the strange or the familiar? Is there a distinction in the way people approach books, or do we all think that our tastes catch these tough-to-define 'x factors'"?