31 Oct

I skim over the chapter title. Then I read the first line on the page. What? What is this chapter supposed to be about?

I go back. The title I skimmed over explained it all. Oops.

I guess after too many Chapter One, Chapter Two’s…I’m conditioned to skip chapter titles. I’d never want a writer like me, who tries to cleverly name each chapter, to know. What reading habit are you guilt of that you probably wouldn’t want the author to know?

1 Comment

Posted by on October 31, 2011 in Reading


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One response to “Guilty!

  1. Mary

    November 2, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    I rarely buy books. Having a library card and a mom who is a librarian make sure of that. I’m sure authors HATE people who pick up $.25 books at book sales.

    I don’t always finish. Yeah, you are supposed to finish what you start, but sometimes the book is so awful that I just can’t bear to have my reading time wasted this way. (Instead, I go on line and read the spoilers so I know what happened.)

    If I am going to shell out money for books, I read a lot of reviews first.

    I hate when authors force it: I love a beautiful, artfully constructed sentence. Truly I do. Tender is the Night? Swoon-worthy. But there is a difference between carefully choosing words and blinding the reader with meaningless razzle-dazzle. Does the author think I won’t notice that I’m being bludgeoned with such heavy-handedness that there is nothing to the imagination? I am reading a book now where the criticism (I paid for it so I read a lot of reviews first) has much to do with the author’s bizarre “dazzle them with words” turns of phrase. Every time I find one of these phrases, I get oddly giddy, yet seriously distracted.

    I am suspicious of readers/commentators who, with a force of conviction that should be reserved for issues of, say, morality, try to glean “great life lessons” from most books. Life of Pi as the guide to enlightenment? Hmmm. Sure, I may sound shallow or sophomoric… until you consider that Watership Down isn’t really a book about the conflict between individualism and the corporate state. The author said it was a bunny story created to keep his kids quiet on car trips.

    I hope next week’s question is about what we want authors to know.


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