10 August 2009

Reading - and readers

I think I've become a horrible reader. I didn't use to be, in fact - one of my favourite authors once signed his book for me by saying "I wish I was as good at reading as you are" (this wasn't the first time he signed a book for me)!

When I was in school, especially up till I turned lazy teenager, I would read a book a day. At least. At 11 I was let out to the town library once a week when my classmates went to the school library - I had read all the books there.. (No, not the encyclopaedias from A-Z (or A-Å as it were!), but you get my drift!)

I consumed books. (Not having five children did mean more sparetime...) Some I found enchanting, some horrible, some funny, some unbearably sad - but it was always about the book, the story, the characters, somehow.

Now, I don't know. Lately it seems my liking for the characters completely decide whether I like the book or not. Example - I really didn't like The Kiterunner. At all. "Everyone" says it's fantastic and amazing and possibly the best book ever written and so on and so forth. But I ... Well, firstly, when I'm told by masses of people to read a book, I rarely do. (Except when recommended by favourite authors, in person, of course!) But this one I did. And for 2 reasons I decided I didn't like it - I didn't like the main character, he was a coward and a liar; and secondly, after a while I could guess the entire rest of the book, give or take a detail or two, but on the whole - no surprises. At. All...

But does that have to mean it's a bad book (no pun intended)? I mean - the language was flowing, I obviously felt the characters were extremely true to life, as I disliked one of them so much? So perhaps it was actually a brilliant book?

I don't know anymore... What makes a book a good read? That you want to read more of the same author / about the same characters? That you can't put it down once you've started reading? That it'd be worthwhile reading again?

I'll just keep reading until I find out - and beyond.

1 comment:

Devil Mood said...

Yes, I suppose that book must have had something about it, otherwise you wouldn't have felt so strongly about the character. Forgetable books are the ones with mild characters that haven't shocked you nor left you wondering.
But I can definitely be irritated by one tiny thing in a book, a mistake or some incorrection - this author is an ignorant!
I haven't read many books more than once but the ones I did were because they made me feel good or were rather funny - I would not read tragedies again, unless I felt I could really learn something different by reading them again. Oh well, this is an endless topic!