I wonder if there's a difference in who might like two types of detective stories -- "whodunit" and "howcatchem." The former involves following a sleuth along as he unfolds the story behind a crime, the latter from an omniscient viewpoint where we track how the sleuth arrives at the answer.
Also, fiction versus nonfiction; direct message versus indirect message; and so on.
I prefer the process of problem solving, mostly nonfiction, and direct messages. I can appreciate more indirect messages, but for me it's unreliable; the more meanings something can have the greater chance I'll miss the most relevant ones.
As far as time travel goes: I like the past in so far as I can insert myself into it in interesting ways. I'm a pretty nonlinear person. I like learning about how people did things in the past and how they lived because I like to re-create those things. Just learning facts is boring without an application or underlying theme.
I too have dreams of writing, and I've written mostly analytical things so far. I'm not that good at developing plots- I have to take a long time to do it and go from general to specific. Once I get essentially a detailed outline in my mind I'll write it all down. There's one fiction story I have going in my mind; I have the main characters mostly created (just working on fine points), the general plot and some of the specifics, and scattered scenes. There are a lot of questions I still need answers to.
^It's a futuristic story. It draws from elements of the past though, as it's set in a post apocalyptic small society. People have created some advanced technology, but it's all sustainable and nature oriented and they mostly rely on agriculture and hunting and gathering.
Do you like it if the story is disjointed like a puzzle? What appeals to you the most in a good book? (Characters, plot, interesting vision of the future, etc.)
I think that would confuse me. If it's clear that something is a flashback that's ok and enriches the story. Jumping around among characters is a little aggravating if it left off at a point where something interesting was about to happen. Otherwise I like different perspectives. I like all of the elements you mention.
I mostly read nonfiction, but the fiction I read is mostly sci-fi/fantasy done in a realistic way. I like really different versions of reality, but only if they're believable and genuine possibilities. That's the biggest way I'll criticize a book or movie- if something appears contrived, just pulled out of the air for the fun of it, too cliche, or otherwise unrealistic.
Originally Posted by Saturned
What about if the protagonists don't align with your own values or opinions of life or whatever?
For me this is fine, as long as I get a really good idea of what it's like to be in their head. That's part of what makes a book interesting; I'm in my own head all day, and it's mentally stimulating to see different perspectives. I do prefer characters I can relate to on some level most of the time.
I thought the LOTR movies were good. But the books . . . the books . . . they are magic. Nothing will ever equal them.
But I've read all but the last two Wheel of Time, all of the Sword of Truth, most of the stuff Brandon Sanderson has written, all of Game of Thrones. I have a high level of tolerance for long, somewhat draggy stories, especially if I like the world. And Tolkien could build a world.
“There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.” ~ John Rogers
I'm not sure what my type is, but I'm a voracious reader--I enjoy a lot, except maybe science fiction (which is weird, since I enjoy science nonfiction). I read a lot of fiction, especially the classics. The style of reading I have depends on the genre--I tend to go quicker when I'm reading nonfiction, more slowly when I read fiction, so I can pick up the ambiance, the general feel, theme themes of whatever I'm reading.
Fi-Ne Side: I really like poetic novels that I can relate to personally, and that help me make sense of life. An element of fantasy or whimsy isn't necessary, but is often appreciated.
I love those meaty, beautiful classics from Proust, Tolstoy, Dumas, Hugo, but I also like simple, brief stories like hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales. Man's Search For Meaning, Fifth Business, The Little Prince, Siddhartha, and The Last Unicorn. I often make notes in the margins, so I can refer back to something when I inevitably do a post-reading journal entry.
I adore kids picture books too (Oliver Jeffers, Mo Willems, William Joyce, and Robert Munsch are practically my heroes!).
As much as I like fantasy, I can't handle a lot of detail like in LotR, WoT, or GoT--I start to zone out. My eyes also cross, when I'm reading very complicated, technical stuff that has no human element. I can read biology and psychology, but I have a very short attention span for in-depth books on chemistry, math or physics.
My Si-Te side: I get into weird Si-Te ruts, where I compulsively read reference books about subjects I am interested in (I have a weird baseball history fetish), and then organize it into spread sheets and charts. I definitely do that with Personality books too.
John Hodgman's hilarious fake reference books also appeal to my love of almanacs/encyclopedias.