Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Unending Book

Last call for letting me know if you met your January writing month goals so I can do some kind of randomized drawing to see who gets the advance copies. I'll probably do the drawing on Thursday and announce the winners next week when I get back from Chicago. So let's say that midnight central time on Wednesday is the deadline to get your name in the hat.

I forgot to mention it, but I did get a pass for that movie screening, but that still doesn't mean I'll get in. They said when I picked up the pass that they're only going to let 75 people in the theater and at that time on Friday afternoon they'd already given out 150 passes, each of which was good for up to two people. The pass says that they oversell the screening to ensure a full house. I guess when something is free people may change their minds or forget about it and there's a big difference between the number of passes handed out and the number of people who actually show up, but I think when you make people physically go to the theater to pick up the pass you're raising the odds a wee bit. I think I'll still try to go, since I'd want to get there early anyway to avoid rush hour traffic. I'll go ahead of rush hour, check in at the theater and see if a line has formed. If it has, I'll get in it, and if not, I can do some shopping. I'll stick a book and a notepad in my purse and I'll probably get more work done waiting in line than I would sitting at home. I think my stubbornness circuit has kicked in, making me determined to get into that screening. It's a mission!

A couple of months ago, I pondered how we decide whether or not a book is really good. One of the measures for a lot of people seems to be if it makes them cry, because that then means that the book touched them in some way (and I mused that there are authors who shamelessly manipulate that by throwing in some random tearjerking scene that has nothing to do with the plot near the end, just so the reader will read the ending with tears in her eyes and think the book was really good). I've come up with a new measurement: how long it takes me to read a book.

I'm a pretty fast reader, when I have the time to read. I can tear through an 800-page tome in a day if I'm really into it. Therefore, it's a bad sign when it takes me nearly two weeks to read a standard-sized book. I realized yesterday that it's been about two weeks since I started reading the book I'm currently on, and that's probably a bad sign. It's one I'm reading to judge for a contest, so I can't just toss it aside. I have to read it all the way through. Now, I have been busy, but usually, if I'm really into a book, I will find time to read it. I may temporarily give up sleep, or I may start spinning rationalizations about how just finishing the book now will actually give me more time to work later (similar to the rationale that eating all the chocolate now will get it out of the house so it can't tempt me later). It's not really a bad book. I do kind of want to know what happens to the characters, and though there have been a few groaner spots, there hasn't been anything worthy of throwing it against the wall. I guess I'm just not that into it. There's been time I could have applied to reading if I'd really wanted to read this book that instead I've spent doing stuff like reading Television Without Pity recaps for shows I don't even watch. Sometimes I feel like this book is expanding as I read it. I'll be sure I'm about to finish it, and then I'll read for an hour, but I don't seem to be any closer to the end.

Now I'll have to test whether this theory holds true. I can't think of any book that I've really loved that's taken me very long at all to read. Even when I want to slow down and savor it, I find myself just tearing through it, and I have to struggle to put it down. Has anyone else noticed this kind of pattern in your reading?

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