Writing Wrongs

March 01, 2007

Booking Through Thursday

  1. How many books would you say you read in an average month?

  2. In a year?

  3. Over the last five years?

  4. The last 10?

Oh, how embarrassing. I was feeling quite proud of myself that Iím averaging five books per month. Then I read Marianneís answer. I never used to read this slowly. And part of that number is audio books on CD that I play in the car during my commute. Without those, Iíd be insane, seriously.

I could blame time and children and general chaos of daily living and being tired, but one of the biggest reasons I read slowly now is because of writing. I wouldnít say I analyze everything I read, but I pay close attention to it, what techniques the author uses, what I like, what I donít.

I know some writers say that writing has ďruinedĒ reading for them. My answer to that is maybe they need to read better books. Okay, Iíll still put a book down (somewhere between pages 50 Ė 100) if it isnít working for me. But a lot needs to not work. If I like the time period, the characters, the world building, or whatever, Iíll stick with it even if the writing isnít all it could be.

I like to read for structure, to see how the author introduced this or that element that then fed into a this plot development, which then made me cry when I reached page 246. It doesnít diminish the magic for me or pull me out of the story. In fact, I marvel even more that someone was that ingenious as to invent such a thing.

This is one of the reasons I really like audio books. I canít race through them (not that Iím racing through anything these days), but I canít skip, canít peek at the end. Because the story unfolds slowly, I can mull plot points and characterization. I can try to anticipate what turn the story will take, and then be amazed when it does, or doesnít go that way. (Iím pretty much amazed either way.)

And speaking of audio books, weíre in the middle of more big snow today. I anticipate some serious quality time with Life As We Knew It on the way home. Andrewís hoping for a snow day tomorrow. He might just get it.

Charity Tahmaseb wrote at 10:55 a.m.