Do you want this man rampaging through your house?
ARE readers actually reading books these days? It is a fair question.
How many Amazon reviews have you read where the reviewer says, ‘I didn’t like the main character.’?
What about a rebellious undisciplined control-freak? How does he grab you? That’s Randle Patrick McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. An insecure adolescent inverse-snob. Holden Caulfield. Another wild adolescent with barely contained simmering violence. Heathcliff. In real life, you would not want any of these people traipsing through your house.
But you invited them in. So suck it up and read the goddamn words from page 1 to the end without passing judgement until you have it all in your head.
Wiki tells us, ‘Nell (1988) showed that there is substantial rate variability during natural reading, with most-liked pages being read significantly slower.’
The first thing to say about this: it is not the adjective slower but the adverb more slowly Wiki is searching for. At our next Pedants’ Society meeting, I am going to propose a strongly worded letter of admonition to Wiki over that one.
The second thing to be said is, Nell is spot on.
The much vaunted page-turners are turning us from being readers into scanners. Poorly constructed thrillers have all those irritating questions to recap the plot. Oh yair, I forgot that bit. Or maybe I skipped a few pages where that stuff was in it.
With the classics we know to read slowly and savour everything. Unfortunately we do not show the same respect to contemporary literary novels.
Read more slowly. Or even slower if you are grammatically challenged.
Start reading groovy!