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A ‘Take Your Time’ Rant.

09 Sep

What’s all this I keep seeing about people not having a lot of spare time during their day to read, and so authors should not make books too long, and make sure to hustle the plot along. Shorter, faster paced books are what the modern reader demands. Really?

Why?

If a person only has time to read, say, for 45 minutes a day, then they’ll spend that time, well, reading. Regardless of the length of the book, eventually they’ll reach the end. Does it really matter how many 45 minute reading sessions it takes to reach the final page? For reach it they undoubtedly will. Then they can move on to the next book on their ‘to read’ list. Nobody said you have to finish a book in one sitting, therefore making long books obsolete and unwanted.

Or did they? Have I missed something somewhere? Is there maybe a competition being held to see who can read the most books in the least amount of time? Is there now some sort of penalty involved if you fail to read ‘X’ amount of pages in ‘X’ amount of days? Are friends now comparing ‘books read’ lists, much like kids used to compare football and baseball cards?

“Last month I read 6 books!” says Friend A.

“Yeah? Well that’s nothing. When I finish this book that will make 9 for the month!” replies Friend B.

Again, why? Has the culture of instant gratification now seeped into the world of the written word? Has the need to finish and move on to the next book as soon as possible now surpassed the need to enjoy, absorb, and experience the words on the pages before us?

If you really do have so little time in your life that you don’t want to ‘waste’ it reading, then watch the film of the book. I guarantee it won’t be as good or as enjoyable (and just why did they cast him in the lead role? That’s not how I imagined him…) but at least it will all be over in 2 hours or less. Then you can move on to the next one. And the next. Really build that ‘books not read but the films have been watched so it’s all good’ list to epic proportions.

While you’re doing that, I’m going to curl up with a nice long novel, a steaming mug of hot chocolate, unwind, and relax. I’m going to lose myself in another world, spend time with interesting characters, some of whom, over time, have become good friends. Maybe I’ll even help save a fair maiden or two. And above all, I’m going to take my bloody time about it and savour the author’s work. The next book on my ‘to read’ list can damn well wait until I’m good and ready.

Just sayin’.

Rant over.

~ABC~

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5 Comments

Posted by on September 9, 2013 in Books, Sport

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

5 responses to “A ‘Take Your Time’ Rant.

  1. Kathryn Goldman

    September 10, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    Alen,

    I prefer a nice, long novel, too. Especially when I’m binge reading and I binge read all the time. I have my Kindle in my hand at breakfast and lunch (not at dinner). I read when my husband stops the car to fill up with gas (when I should be buying lottery tickets). I hide my Kindle in my briefcase at work. There are days when I don’t get out of my jammies cause I’m reading. I am unhappy if books are too short and I must leave the story too soon.

    I think there’s value in the short form, but it doesn’t attract me like an extended escape into somebody else’s world.

    Kathryn

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    • Alen B Curtiss

      September 10, 2013 at 6:32 pm

      Thank you for your comment Kathryn. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one. Yes, as you said, there is value in short fiction, and I myself still enjoy good short stories. They are a different art to long novels, and I appreciate the difference. I even seem to prefer writing short stories as opposed to novels. But I really don’t understand this recent culture of ‘keep it short because I don’t have much time’. Or maybe I’m just a dinosaur.

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  2. alec hawkes

    September 14, 2013 at 11:45 am

    I love this ‘rant’ Alen, though I wouldn’t really call it a rant, more a considered opinion. I too think reading a book in double quick time, or just a short book for the sake of a short book, is daft. Sometimes I do read a book in a day but that is if I am so gripped by it that anything else I might have done that day just got forgotten. Recently I read a whole book – The Adventures of Charlie Smithers – in a day. I was gripped to the extent that my breakfast sat waiting for me until it was way past stone cold, and on the way back to reheating in the evening sun. The instant gratification you talk of is a symptom of modern society – well, some of it – give me the longer version every time, where the tension, excitement, and plot slowly builds to a magnificent conclusion. Though, as Kathryn says, there is a place for the shorter story. Good work Sir.

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    • Alen B Curtiss

      September 14, 2013 at 1:01 pm

      Thanks for your comment Alec. It’s nice to know others feel the same way. I hope you got your breakfast on time this morning!

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  3. Alina Popescu

    September 22, 2013 at 9:25 am

    I personally don’t care if the novel is long or short. Yes, I get sucked in and read for longer than I should and compensate with sleeping less ๐Ÿ˜€ I’ve been on a reading frenzy this summer and finished a book in three days max, but that’s just because I cut all movies, tv, and anything else. What matters if you like what you’re reading. Well, not like, if it makes you feel something: rage, pain, pleasure. If it does, than it can be a page, 50 or 500. No one with a real passion for reading will care. And if they do not have a passion for reading… well, shorten it to one sentence, it still won’t matter ๐Ÿ™‚

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