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?
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.