Does anyone want to invest time in reading a book anymore? I’m finding, in reading posts on other blogs that people like to read a book in the afternoon by a pleasant fire with a cup of cocoa. The whole book, mind you, not just a few chapters. I believe this is a reflection of the way we live now – the minute and by the minute, rushing to tweet, post, etc., at the speed of light lifestyle way. I wrote a very long book and I’m not complaining about a bad review here, in fact I’m glad for the criticism as it has helped me in writing my subsequent books, but the main complaint I received was the details I provided.
I will admit here that I wrote the book for my family and didn’t want to leave anyone out, hence a plethora of characters, but I also wanted readers to see what I saw. I didn’t know how to abbreviate the action. I’ve read books on writing fiction and blogs on the craft of writing, and I believe I’m a better writer now with more faith in my audience.
But this criticism reminded me of a book I read in high school when I was seventeen called Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. Not only was it considered a classic forty years ago, it was a best-seller and had been made into an Oscar-worthy movie. So I bought it in paperback and began to read. Talk about mundane details! The slow pace of that book nearly drove me crazy, but I believed I had to finish it and I read on. I almost threw in the towel. When I finally reached the last two chapters, it ultimately paid off – the twist at the end was a total surprise. I ended up thinking “what a great book.” I never forgot how hard it was to read that book and what an investment it was. It wasn’t easy, I tell you.
So now I wonder, are we willing to invest that time and effort in reading a book anymore? This is where reviews are valuable, because if someone actually reads the book and loves it because of some twist at the end or some character they just couldn’t forget in an otherwise mundane story, then at least we know in advance and it may drive us to finish the book when all we want to do is hit the home button on our reader and go to the next book on the list.
What books have you invested in? I read all James Michener’s books when I was a teen, and Taylor Caldwell, too. I kept a dictionary by me because Taylor had an amazing vocabulary and I picked up a lot of words reading her books that I’d never heard of before. I don’t know if I could read these authors today as I’ve adapted to our new “get it done so we can move onto the next thing” culture, but those books are the ones I remember forty years later, perhaps because I spent so much time with them.