Ziggy has recommended The Hunger Games as our next book. I think it’s a great choice. I read the series some time ago, but would enjoy reading it again, so how about we plan this for June?
She also suggested we each talk about whatever books we’re reading in May. I love this idea, too! I think everyone should write a post and email it to me at mail AT funkandweber DOT com so that I can post it here. Will you do it? Pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease?
I think this will be a great way to get some suggestions for our TBR lists.
In the meantime…
I’m on the fence about dialects. On the one hand, people talk all kinds of different ways, and it’s both accurate and interesting to try to depict that in writing. The way a person talks is part of his/her personality. It seems like a valid literary tool.
On the other hand, it can be difficult to read. Sometimes, when Mike reads oddly-spelled words aloud, they don’t make sense to him. Looking at them, he doesn’t know what those words mean, and he has to stop and translate. Oftentimes, I can recite back to him what he’s said. It made perfect sense to me because the sounds, while technically incorrect, made sense, and I, as a listener, don’t have the added confusion of misspelled words to contend with.
Because I listened to The Help, the dialect problem was all on the heads of the readers–there were three–and they handled it superbly. For me, the dialects were definitely a plus. They seemed natural to the characters, appropriate, and were entirely enjoyable.
Writers are cautioned to use dialects sparingly. Sometimes, we’re advised to start with them and then reduce the usage with the expectation that the reader will take the cue and “hear” it without having it actually (mis)spelled out.
I don’t cotton to that fading-out approach because it feels like a dropped story thread, but I suppose the “use sparingly” advice is good. You don’t want a reader to have to stop and translate frequently.
So what did you think? Was the use of dialect a delight or a drag? Did it improve the book or weaken it?
Have you had any significant experiences, good or bad, with dialects used in other stories?