So, what is on my mind today? Reading. I am trying very hard to read Fiction. if you have read my other blogs….ha ha, who are we kidding….I do not read a lot of fiction. I am a non-fiction kind of gal. Love philosophy, history, religion, supernatural, etc. Yes, call me a nerd, geek, or whatever the “in” word is for my particular lack of “coolness.” Non-fiction is what I would prefer to spend my time reading when I am not writing. The task of reading fiction is, well a task! And this weekend showed me how hard it was.
I have been reading a book by one of my friends who is a published author. A sweet story full of murder and intrigue. It was nice, kept me interested and I finished it with a satisfaction of time well spent. This is how a book should make you feel; that you spent your very little free time doing something worth the distraction. Unfortunately, I read three more books this weekend that I literally wanted to throw against the wall! One I finished, two I just stopped reading. A sin I rarely give into. As I have said, once a book is started, it is only respectful to finish it. But, my time is valuable. I give up writing time to read….so it is quite a sacrifice. A necessary evil in a writer’s life. (And it doesn’t make my fans happy that my book is not getting done!) So, when I finished the first book that was bland, uneventful and poorly written, I was in no mood to accept the challenge of the other two when I found them…well, TERRIBLE!
Is it me, or there a lot of bad books out there???? I, as a new novelist, am tirelessly reading how to create great characters, intriguing story lines, exciting openings, and satisfying endings. But yet what is out there holds nothing to these values. There is so much crap! Boring beginnings, lack luster characters, crass language, uneventful story lines, and poor writing have been a theme lately among the fiction I have been exposed to. Authors that I have read reviews about and books that have been recommended have been far below my expectations of what I value as literary. Yet, they are published! Have readers changed in their expectations, or has the publishing world settled on mediocrity???
I was recently speaking with a friend about my own novel. She is reading it now and made a comment about how detailed my writing was and how she felt that she was in the book every time she picked up to read. I asked, “Do you think it is too wordy? Too detailed to be of interests for today’s reader?” I have some chapters that are in my book for mere layering of the characters and storyline development. I asked if she felt these were unnecessary. She explained that she enjoyed a book that took its time to be more intricate and develop. So many books skip over the added layers that bring a story alive….for the sake of being a quick read. She was not that kind of reader and appreciated a novel like mine. Her wants in a book are why I started to write….to give readers like her a true literary experience. An experience that seems to be fading away in this fast paced, get a story done quickly and move one. Short, thoughtless stories that are easy to read and over and done with to move on quickly to another one exactly like it. It is the robotic mentality of reading these days. Distract in quick increments like commercials; try to get in as much in as possible in 30 seconds, or in a book’s case, in 75,000 words or less.
Of course, there is market for this instant gratification kind of reading. Unfortunately, I am not that reader, and thus many books that I am picking up lately are not for me. Which leads me to revise my rule of always finishing a book. I now have a new rule….only finish a book if it is worth my time! I no longer will feel obligated to honor the writer if the writer cannot give me what I want: a good story, well written, and with characters I like or am interested in reading about. I am have been reading waaaaaayyy to long now to have to settle for anything less.
Are readers less discriminating? Let me know your thoughts of what kind of reader you are.