Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts with the label bestsellers

Old People Who Read

Note: I was going to call this post "Old Readers," but I was afraid it might bring to mind the original Kindle. I'm looking at those of us who've read all our lives: Old Readers. My husband started reading in his fifties. My father started even later than that. That isn't me. I can't remember when I didn't have my nose in a book. Reading is wonderful, but a lifetime of reading leads to a problem: What to read next. When I was a kid, my choices were limited to what books our school library had, though I eventually moved on to reading my mom's mystery novels (MacDonald, Carr, Christie, etc.), and gothics (Stewart, duMaurier, and the like). As a young adult I read historical pot-boilers from Frank Yerby (lots of rape threat) to Rosemary Rodgers (lots of actual rape). I also read a lot of biographies back then, mostly movie stars like David Niven and John Wayne. Now I'm pretty old, and I've read a lot of stuff. When people gush about the ne

What Is a Good Book?

Which Are the Good Ones? I've read a lot of books, but we probably won't agree on which were the best ones. Why? Because each book speaks to us as individuals: where we come from, what we value, and how we want our leisure activities to go. Reading requires commitment: time for sure, concentration (some books more than others), and a degree of background preparation. The ability to read is the most basic level, but requirements build after that. For example, a person isn't likely to enjoy a book about modern immunology if she doesn't understand the vocabulary used or a book about WWII if she doesn't know or care who Winston Churchill was. Reading serves different purposes. Many people read to escape from hum-drum, daily stuff. They want to escape reality, and they don't mind how wild the plots get as long as they're entertaining. Others demand that their fiction be realistic, with characters who could be real and plot-lines that might actually happen.

As a Reader, I'm Tired

Tired of what, you might ask? (Even if you didn't ask, I'm going to tell you.) I'm tired of "must-read" books that depress the heck out of me. Families that are breaking apart. Teenagers who are going through hell. People in crisis who don't deal with it well. I know books have to have such characters to create tension, but in many recent bestsellers these are the protagonists; the people I'm supposed to keep reading on for. Last night I started one of the current must-reads. It's really well-written, and the hook was excellent. I read on, chapter after chapter. Things got worse for the main character, and as a result, he got worse, acting out, making his family suffer, cutting ties with those who might have helped him get through it. As page after page of humiliation and despair crawled by, I began to feel that I was wallowing in misery, the main character's and that of everyone around him. Now, I worked with teenagers for decades, and I