Monday, August 20, 2007

Just Read It

We may think that all people read for the same reasons – plot, characters, beautiful language, ideas, facts, relaxation, stimulation …. But there’s the problem. There are so many reasons people read.

I read for probably all of those reasons, but tend to value characters over plot, language over facts (unless it’s nonfiction), relaxation over stimulation. I’ve quit trying to finish Bourne Ultimatum because I’ve lost the characters. That book it plot driven. And while I like a fast moving plot, I need to be able to track the characters. With Bourne Ultimatum, they all got mixed up. I couldn’t remember who was who. My husband, on the other hand, zipped right through it.

I have a friend, Doris Lakey, who loves the language in books. She sees phrases or alliterations or words that move her, stand out to her. She often writes them down, remembers them, savors them. I tend to notice phrases that I think are wonderful, wish I had written them, mean to write them down, but keep on reading and lose track of them.

I have another friend, James Lee, who reads primarily nonfiction. He reads for the ideas, the stimulation, the thought process. He reads the classics, the masters, the thinkers. I read very little nonfiction. Yes, I read news articles, information online, magazines, but few nonfiction books unless they are related to writing or resource material related to writing, like Stiff, the book I most recently finished. On the other hand, I consume fiction.

No matter what or why you read, I think it’s important to read. It seems to be an art dying out in this modern age of Ipods, video on demand, books on CD, Internet and movies on your Iphone.

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