It was great to get the feedback from yesterday's post. Dialoguing with other writers and bloggers is so much more interesting than just me saying my thing to the great silence of cyberspace.
So the topic: reading critically. I am starting an experiment in which I jot down thoughts that occur to me when I read a book, positive and negative.
Several people commented on how they cannot read like this, and I actually don't know how long I can do this either. And those of you who do read with a pencil tend to focus on the positive. I find that I learn as much from what doesn't work, as what does, so I do both. I hope I'm not being unnecessarily judgmental.
Last night, I was pondering how long I can sustain this exercise; It does seem an unnatural thing to do. But then, maybe it is somewhat natural. After all, I started this experiment because my critical mind kept intruding when I tried to read. Sometimes I can shush it up, but other times it is just such a distraction I can't enjoy the reading.
That was the original reason for me to read this way: to find out what happens if I give in to my critical thinking and not try to push it away. Kinda like if you let your kids have a little bit of ice-cream sometimes so they won't feel deprived and pester you all the time.
Lady Glamis brought up another good point, and that is when a book is published, it has gone through the eyes of the author, the author's early readers, agent, and editor. We should read and enjoy, not read and nitpick. (I am not talking about celebrity books here; just the real books written by real blood, sweat and tears authors.)
A book has to have achieved a high standard to be published, very high standard. But "good" doesn't mean the same to everyone. I used to wonder why there were things in published books that were not very good, and thought that I needed to adjust my own thinking. I still think that my thinking needs adjustment and tweaking--all the time, as long as I am writing and learning--but I also believe that I have put in a lot of work and now have at least some ideas of what works. So when I do see something that doesn't, I take note. Not to be disrespectful to the author, or to feel smug in that I-know-better-than-you-even-though-you-are-published-and-I-am-not manner, or to gripe about how some authors can get away with drivel, but to learn. I know I make enough mistakes for a whole village of writers, but I see no reason why I can't learn from other people's mistakes, even when they don't consider them mistakes.
So, thanks for your comments. Keep them coming. And I will keep you posted on how this book is going.
And oh Cheryl, I am going to let people guess the title. It's not an obscure book. Recent. Well-received.
First person to guess gets a free book.