Monday, June 20, 2005

Shallow reading

Before I ever put pen to paper or finger to keyboard, I was a reader. And I maintain that position throughout my writing career. I read. Actually, I inhale the written word.

When I read, I have great expectations. The words must be effective. They must take me away to where they live. Show me the sights. Engage my mind. And if they don't?
Then I shallow read.

Shallow reading to me means that I can read and have half my mind somewhere else. Sometimes this is the fault of the author. And sometimes, frequently, it's mine.
I read approximately seven books within two days time late last week. I read a Kay Hooper, a James Patterson, a J.D. Robb, a category romance, and the Nora "Key" trilogy.
And this is what I discovered. I was immersed in both the Hooper and the Patterson. Immersed. The kids were snarled at, the dishes were neglected, and I loved both books.
The category romance was intermittent. I would read it sometimes. I'd pick it up. I'd put it down. No big rush there. I studied the "Key" trilogy and soaked up every word. It was still a good read, but then again, I thought it was entirely too predictable. And the J.D. Robb? I'm sorry to say that I solved whodunit about a fourth of the way through. The best thing I can say about the book was that I LOVED a scene in which Eve is trying to show Roarke how much she loves him. She goes WAY out of her comfort zone to try to give him an evening he won't soon forget. It's a keeper scene. Too bad I didn't feel that way about the entire book.

I know that some people will mentally rate the books they read. They have the "keepers" and the "throwers." But I've come upon another system. The water test.
1 starfish-A flea couldn't even get his ankles wet
2 starfish-My cat could walk across it
3 starfish-Deep enough for me to float
4 starfish-May need a snorkel
5 starfish-Deep sea diving-Do NOT disturb-Total immersion has occurred

What rates a four or five starfish with you? And is anybody else picturing Patrick from "Spongebob Squarepants?" Or is that just me?


Michelle said...

For me, if the characters are so wonderful I remember them after I close the last page, that's a 5 starfish. :) If I can't remember who they are a week later, it's a 2 or a 3.

chryscat said...

Michelle: I agree. Remembering a character's name LONG after I've finished the last page is key. That is worth some major points.

Tess Harrison said...

Wow, girl, you can read fast! I'm lucky these days to get through a book a week.

And I love your rating system.

chryscat said...

Teresa: I've always been a quick reader. And when I go on binges, it's nothing for me to finish half a dozen in a day or two. Thanks for the kudos on the rating system. I REALLY wish I had a Patrick smiley. Heh

kacey said...

well, crud, I'm terrible with names..real people or characters, so remembering a character's name would be a terrible way for me to judge a book ...

I like books that make me FEEL. What ever they make me feel. Sad, happy, angry. I want to FEEl what the character is feeling. That's a 5 starfish book.

chryscat said...

Kacey: I also like it when I reach the last page and don't want it to end. I need more WORDS!

Lyvvie said...

I thought you wanted examples of books that I thought were a 5...Well I'll give 'em anyways.

The Duchess by Jude Deveraux (I don't know why, but I've always remembered it. I even think it may have been the inspiration for Shrek minus the Egyptian lady.)

Voyager Series by Diana Gabaldon (Actually just the first three...the rest are boring and wordy.)

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin (I admit I saw the colin Firth version before ever reading the book, and I now love the book so much, I've re-read it a dozen times.)

Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 3/4 by Sue Townsend (I love this feller, he's just too funny, and thick.)

Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling (Well, I just love them and I have the new one pre-ordered and will read it too fast the first time, and slow as muck the second.)

Well...I'm sure I could prattle off a few dozen more, but I don't want to be rude and take up too much of your comment box space.

chryscat said...

Lyvvie: You just comment all you damn well please. I LOVE the Harry Potter books. I also have my copy pre-ordered. And I do the same, exact thing. Inhale then savor. Can't wait!