When we discuss books how different is our point of view if we are one of those who loves reading but has no aspirations to write?
Like most writers I read all the time and like most readers I enjoy different kinds of books at different times. I may be looking for something that either entertains or challenges me or at times both.
When on the beach, travelling or if I don’t have a lot of energy I will look for escapism and entertainment. At other times I want stronger meat, something to make me think, a book that is more complex in ideas or depth.
If you are a reader (and a non-writer) you may be less concerned whether the writing is particularly good (technically) as long as the story grips you and carries you along. You may be the kind of reader who is not satisfied unless you are reading more elegant prose.
You may read a book to its end, just because you have started it, whether or not you are really enjoying it. I know people who have said that this is what they do but personally I can never understand that attitude, there are too many wonderful books to read and I feel life is too short to waste time reading things I don't enjoy!
But as a writer I have found that the actual activity of reading has changed.
I am often irritated if I pick up a book that is that is badly written, where the research is thrown at you, undisguised and in indigestible chunks, or where plot tricks are so clumsily and noticeably used. Even if the storyline and some of the storytelling romps along I find myself being thrown out of the story because it is so badly written.
In one case when I was reading a book on a train I was so irritated by the terrible writing, more so as because I had nothing else with me to read and had picked the book up in a hurry, making the choice because of the cover, blurb and recommendations. I found myself reaching for an editing pencil which in the end was more entertaining than reading the book.
On the other hand I love discovering the occasional phrase or use of a particularly imaginative metaphor that stays in my head long after reading, as long as it is beautifully woven into the story and works for its living.
I find I no longer just read a book because I am always subconsciously looking at the construction - how the characters are developing,at times admiring the author's skill. The problem is when this interferes with the flow of the narrative and I find myself more interested in structure or technique.
That is when I realise that the plot or characters are obviously not quite gripping or fascinating enough to hold my interest.
The books I enjoy most are those where I have been so carried away with reading that none of these considerations occur to me until I have finished reading it or had put it down for a while.
Do you read as a reader or a writer? If you are a writer, has how you read changed?
Read my blog - Bookwords - writingthebookwords.blogspot.com
Visit my website - lindastrachan.com to find out about
my new book Dead Boy Talking - published June 2010- Strident Publishing