The Joy of Reading

This is a stressful time for me. I brought my computer in for added memory to increase productivity, which unbeknownst to me would start a nightmare that would last two weeks before being resolved. As a result of this I am faced with possibly losing my Outlook Express address book with its years of contacts for my writing, since I keep getting an error message when I try to import (although I haven't given up on this yet). I'm also suffering from what can best be described as clean-up fatigue – having to write letters to so-called professionals who have made messes of my personal business, like the woman at the Motor Vehicle who confused my registration and title information with my husband's, making me the registered owner of two vehicles with identical mileage, while my poor husband has no car to his name. Plus, it's already starting to get cold here in Chicagoland (just last week people were splashing around in the pool; this morning it was 44 degrees).

Yesterday an order of books arrived from Amazon (the Borders store here in Northern Illinois is one of the chain's smaller stores, and they don't stock a whole lot of contemporary African-American titles). I picked one up and started to read, and then a strange thing happened.

I found myself enjoying the book. Not having to overlook bad writer habits like overuse of character names or creative dialogue tags. Just enjoying a well-written story.

I have to ask myself how many times I find myself mentally altering narrative or dialogue and even the spelling of a story as I read it, which takes most of the enjoyment out of reading. The answer is too many damn times. I think that is why I slowed my reading for enjoyment down to a crawl. Since I've been up here and not near a good book store I've had to make most of my purchases on line, which means there's no looking inside a book to judge its quality before plunking down my hard-earned dollars to purchase it. (Maybe I shouldn't be complaining about books as an author myself, but my complaints are as a consumer; I don't like spending my money on any product I'm dissatisfied with, whether it be a book or a meal at a restaurant.)

At any rate, it is a priceless feeling to just lose myself inside a good story that awakens all five of my senses, turns me into an invisible witness to all the action and doesn't jolt me with sub-par writing.

The name of the book? I'm not telling. Sure, I have no problem with sharing the names of books I like, and while I'm confident that the quality of the writing will not fade, but what if the plot takes a turn for the ridiculous before I'm done? But stay tuned. I have a feeling that this book will be among my Best Reads of the Year, which I'll announce in late December.

In the meantime, it's good to know that I can pick up this book and immerse myself in such a well-crafted story in the midst of all the crappy stuff life has to offer.


Patricia W. said...

Here's to hoping it's a good one to the end. So you can share and we all can experience reading bliss.

I recently began the latest release by one of my favorite authors. I guess I've learned a lot because it is killing me that the writing is so passive.

bettye griffin said...

I suspect that the more you learn about good writing, the more disillusioned you will become with what's out there to read. But when you read something where the words come alive and leap off the page, with fresh metaphors versus the same old tired cliches, well, I feel like I've been given something to strive for. And I intend to.

Gwyneth Bolton said...

There's nothing like a good book... happy reading!


bettye griffin said...

I'm practically breathless, the writing is so damn vivid. I will be looking at my own work with a much more critical eye, after reading this.