Tuesday, April 25, 2017

How Do You Read?
A more common question is ‘Why do you Read?’. It never occurred to me to question that, but when I Googled the question...wow.  Lots of answers.  
 When readers answer, they say things like entertainment, escape, knowledge, experiencing something new.  When the arbitrators of our lives answer, they have much more esoteric reasons—improving memory, improving verbal ability, reducing stress, etc.  I’m going with the readers on this one.
 But how do you read?  Do you approach a book as a reader or as a writer?  Yes, there’s a difference.  When I began to write novels, my experience as a reader changed dramatically.
What happens when you pick up a book?
Do you dive into that first page, ready to experience a different life?  Do you float along on the story—as long as the writer has done his/her job well—and cruise through the twists and turns with enjoyment?
Or do you approach it hopefully but with a Show Me attitude?  Does that Show Me attitude get in the way?  Why did the writer do that?  What is the reader supposed to think now?  Is that a red herring?  Is that character going to die at the end?  Etc. etc.
The truth is, you sometimes do it one way, sometimes the other.
Neither way is right, neither way is wrong.  Do you get more out of a book if you dissect it as you go?  Well, that depends on what you want, doesn’t it?  If you’re a writer, you’re always, on some level, looking for hints about how to do it better.  And believe me, it’s annoying to want nothing more than an hour of escape and then end up thinking how to do it better.
Maybe you’re a critical reader.  I think of this as a hybrid, a literate reader who notes—and sometimes even marks typos and grammatical errors on the page...or highlights them on the ereader.
The downside of critical reading?  It can get in the way of the story.  The upside of critical reading?  You may see  more levels of meaning in the writing.  Example?  Sure.  My poetry-reading sister-in-law once read me a poem and explained the subtext of the wording.  Who knew that ‘daisy’ comes from ‘day’s eye’ and, knowing that, she understood much more of the poet’s intent.  (Okay, you knew about the whole daisy-day’s eye thing.  I didn’t.)
And does it matter?  No.  Just enjoy.  As my license plate frame says:  Read Books!

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