A work in progress!

Timing, reading and writing

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Have you ever noticed that some books take longer to read than others? Sometimes I just blaze through a book in six to eight hours or two long reading sessions, and other books that are the same length take several days instead. And usually I can't tell any major obvious difference between them. The ones that go quickly tend to be more humorous, an urban fantasy book with a lot of banter perhaps. But not always. It certainly isn't a reflection of the quality of writing, some of my very favorite writers fall into the category just mentioned, skilled beyond my ability to describe, so the fact that I blaze through their books is both fun and frustrating because the joy is over way to quickly. Of course sometimes the shortness of the reading experience it is a reflection of one of my big pet peeves, when publishers these days sell a book with huge margins, blank pages between chapters and double spaced text, so a hardback book sold for full price is really the length of a novella, but that's an obvious problem. Does anyone have any ideas about this? What makes a book read quickly or slowly for you?

And how come some reviews are so easy to write, and others are such bears? Again, this isn't in any way a reflection on the quality of the book either, in fact sometimes it's the opposite. Sometimes the easiest reviews to write are the ones where the flaws in the book just jump out at me. Unfortunately, the ideas for the review seems to flow more easily that way. But when I've loved a book the ideas tend to be so much more complex and layered. There is so much that I want to say and I can never say it the way I want to, so I wrestle with the review and it never turns out quite the way I want it to. It can take hours to labor over these reviews, but it's still some of the most satisfying and rewarding time that I spend these days. I don't really enjoy pointing out the bad stuff in the books I read. I do it because I think I should; as a reviewer I think my friends and people who read my reviews are looking for honesty from me, so I try to tell it like I see it. I really try not to be mean, just as honest as possible. But I do really enjoy sharing the good stuff, especially when it's an author that I've been following for a long time, or a new author who's just starting out. It's a chance to express myself and my thoughts on the book, to support their careers a little bit, and to maybe turn a friend onto a super cool book that they might not have read otherwise. And the Internet and blogging gives me a chance to get feedback and to find out if I'm having a little bit of an impact, which is really rewarding. When a friend on Twitter says that she's going to read a book because I recommended it, it's just a really satisfying feeling. Or when I get an email that says that someone has "liked" one of my Goodreads reviews. Or when I see that I'm starting to get hits on this blog for my reviews. So thank you, everyone, for your support. And I'd love to see any comments you have about what makes reviews easy or hard for you to write, or what you think makes books read quickly or go really slowly.

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