Thursday, August 16, 2007

Can't close a bad book

I have a problem. I can't stop reading a bad book, even if I am not enjoying it.
I have been a lover of books since I can remember. I think I came out of the womb loving words.
I would love to finish one of the books I have started writing but my problem is that my writing is not so great. I think that is why I have a problem dissing a book that isn't satisfying. Who am I to give up one someone who has been published?

I love to read anything. I read blogs, I read books, magazines, junk mail....
When I read beautiful prose, I feel really good. Many (many, many) times I don't "get" a book, but if the writing is pretty, I keep reading because I get some sort of euphoric feeling from reading those beautiful words. One recent example is "Arlington Park" by Rachel Cusk. The book left me feeling a little dirty and sad because the women in the book were scary to me. But the writing, man, it was really good.

In the library I usually have about 10 seconds to choose a book. The kids and I usually pick out books for them and then head over to the "grownup" section. The new books are right near the children's section, so I scan the stacks and grab one or two books before my two kids start to climb up the bookcases. The oldies don't take kindly to little monkeys disturbing their browsing in the "Large Print" section. I know... I worked in the library (loved it!) in high school and those seniors can get downright bitchy if children run wild.

This past trip I grabbed two books. I started the first one a few nights ago and it is painful. I won't name names -- as I said above, who am I to say a published writer (this one is a first novel) is crappy? It's like watching a stiff teenager "acting" in a play. You want to turn away, but you feel you owe them some respect.
I don't know if I'll be able to finish this one, but I'm sure going to try. The crazy thing about this book is that some of the writing looks very familiar. I scanned some of my own journals and noticed that, yes, I am that bad. Time to read some more quality books and see if that will help my own writing improve. I'm also about to start an online course to help improve my writing and hopefully get some criticism. I've never taken an online writing class before, so wish me luck!

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