“Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it.” – William Faulkner
I cannot think of a time that I have ever not finished a book which I have started, always pushing through to the end…until recently that is. My first read for 2017 made me seriously think about the reasons behind finishing a book which provides no enjoyment at all. As I painfully pushed through to the last page, feeling an actual physical sense of relief once the last page was read, I questioned my sanity. This author is one of my favourites and I have read many of his books but this particular one? It was torture to read.
Many of the authors we look up to emphasise the importance of reading as part of our growth as writers. Raised by a family of book lovers my love of reading is natural, possibly even genetic. Even if I did not have a passion for writing I would remain a bibliophile. In my younger years I stuck to favourite authors and genres but as the years have passed and I have matured I like to try out different genres and authors, especially books which are recommended by fellow bookworms.
This weekend I picked a book from my tbr pile, got comfortable and started reading. By the end of the first chapter I was irritated and shaking my head. I looked at the pile of books on the counter with longing, wishing I had chosen something else. I put the book down, staring at it, questioning myself as to why I feel like I have to finish it. So I closed it. Put it to the bottom of the tbr pile and chose something else. No regrets.
My inner writer contemplated what it was about the book that I did not enjoy. The characters? The storyline? The actual style and quality of the writing? I am very open minded as everyone enjoys different things. If we were all the same the world would be a very boring place. Even if we stick to our favourite genres and authors there is still the possibility of disappointment, and possibly worse, we could miss out on something different and amazing. So a question – As a writer do you mainly read the same genre as you write or are you open in your choices?
The book lover’s dilemma… have you ever stuck with a book that wasn’t doing it for you? Do you always finish the books you start, or are you able to just let go, shut the book and put it out of your mind? Let’s confess in the comments!
“I don’t care if a reader hates one of my stories, just as long as he finishes the book.” – —Roald Dahl