“Classic′ – a book which people praise and don’t read.” – Mark Twain

I surprised myself the other day. For a long time, I’ve felt frustrated that I read so little. From childhood up until my early twenties, I devoured books.  When I was ten or eleven, we had this reading challenge in my class. The challenge was to read at least five books during the fall semester. We had a list we needed to fill in every time we finished a book. When I handed my list in before Christmas, I think it had thirty odd books on it. As an introvert, I always preferred my own company and since I was a child and adolescent before smartphones and easy internet access I read, a lot.

Reading Book Photomontage Fantasy Dream Aircraft

Then I started university and reading became work. I had to read books like John Rawls, A theory of Justice, 560 pages of political philosophy and after a day of that I didn’t want to read another word.

Then I found fandom, and with that writing, also, tv-shows became really good. Like so many others, I have a hard time sitting down and doing just one thing, and it annoys the living hell out of me. To try and combat this inability to sit down with a book I got into audiobooks a few years back. That helped because I could “read” while cleaning or walking or hanging laundry.

Star-Magic-Sparkle-Literature-Open-Book-Read-Book-2160539

But it’s still not quite the same, is it? I love “real” books, they’re beautiful, unique and magic. With audiobooks, despite the excellent performance of many of the narrators, I feel it takes away some of the magic, I lose my own interpretation. The person reading the story to me has already decided what the characters sound like or their speech pattern. I feel like they’re intruding on my interpretation of the characters.

I enjoy audiobooks, I do, but I wish I read more on my own. But, even more so,  I wish I read more books: audiobooks, comics, paperbacks or hardcovers doesn’t matter. I wish I read more books, period.

However, I started a Goodreads page a while back, it’s HERE if you’re interested, and what surprised me was that I’ve read/listened to a lot more than I thought I had. Now, twenty-eight books are nothing compared to the number I used to get through in a year, and a lot of the books are re-reads. I’ve been feeling nostalgic and wanted to re-read some of my favorite fantasy books from when I was an adolescent/teenager. But, since I’ve read/listened cover to cover I still think it counts. It’s a lot more than I thought, it’s still over two books per month.

Magic Forest Books Story Door The Magical World

It’s interesting how different your perspectives can be. I have friends who’ll read a run-of-the-mill thriller or two while on a beach vacation, and they consider themselves readers. If I stay on track, I’ll hit thirty or so books this year, and to me, that’s kind of bad.

But, I’m going to be happy with my list. I don’t care that half are re-reads, and I don’t care that some are trade paperbacks of comics. I’m choosing to feel accomplished and happy with my little list.

How about you, do you prefer real books or audiobooks, or are you like me and enjoy a little of both? Maybe you’re a kindle/digital book kind of person, what’s that like?

Ms. F

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5 thoughts on ““Classic′ – a book which people praise and don’t read.” – Mark Twain

  1. I’ve done much the same thing. For many years I devoured romaance and mystery thriller paperbacks until the shelves in my house were overflowing with books and I ha giant bins crowded with them under the bed.

    Then I got my first laptop. And that went out the window. I’ve never really been able to get into audiobooks for the same reasons you’ve listed about the Narrators interpretation of the characters, I like letting them develop in my head, for much the same reason I avoid seeing film adaptations of books I have loved. So often the things they decide to cut out of the screenplay or leave on the cutting room floor were crucial to plotlines or character development for me when I read the original book version. You do not want to get me started on the travesty of castig that has been all of the film adaptations of Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. UGH.

    Fanfic brought me back to reading some years ago, although I was late to the game with it, although reading on a computer screen is definitely not the same experience as the tactile one of curling up with a good book which shows the wear and tear of being well used over the course of time, much the way vinyl records do.

    I cracked a real honest to god book for the first time in literally years recently when experiencing the first week of the blackout brought on by Hurricane Irma here in Florida. It was an oldie but a goodie and the characters were well known and familiar, but I never finished it. I think my interests and intellect have evolved over time and maybe I need to look for more challenging reading material.

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    1. That’s the danger of going back to old books you used to like, sometimes you find out they’re not as good as you thought they were, or in my case, and maybe yours, you realize that what you thought was good writing at fifteen isn’t necessarily the case at 35 🙂

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  2. I can’t even explain how much I empathize with this. I devoured books ravenously when I was in high school and though I discovered fanfiction at age 13, I still read books. I think it was mainly because my parents limited my computer (and tv) access to a certain extent and I still wanted to slip into those fantasy worlds. Mid way through college I felt that I was outgrowing the HP fandom world and was getting sick of the mountains of bad fics I had to sort through to find the good ones. Plus I had to study and graduate and apply to grad school and I was getting hooked on new tv shows like I never had before. And boyfriends, even crappy ones, tend to take up a lot of your time.

    I started listening to audiobooks around then too. I actually started cause I wanted those narrator interpretations of some of my favorites. I wanted to know how to pronounce some of the names correctly and listening to a book is a completely different experience. I think I got really lucky and the first books I wanted to listen to had excellent narrators and I recently caught up to a series that I hadn’t read since high school, but has continued to evolve, by listening to it and I don’t think I’d actually read the books again because the narrator was just so awesome. Still I’ve had some crappy narrators that have made a few other series far less enjoyable.

    Then just about two and a half years ago I was drawn back into the fanfiction world through Supernatural. Even though I wasn’t reading many actual books before, I was still reading the ones my favorite author published as he published them. Now I’ve just got a pile of those books that I’ve bought and haven’t actually read. His most recent one is actually still in the shipping box in my livingroom. It came out earlier this month and I haven’t even opened it. I just get so sucked in to the easy drama and well established universes in fanfiction that the pull of the actual books, even though I know they’re awesome, fails to compete with.

    It’s been a continual source of disappointment in myself. I still listen to audio books, so I’m on my 16th “book” of the year, but that doesn’t hold a candle to the amount of fanfiction I’ve consumed and none of them were actual books. I haven’t completely read a single book this year. I’ve started a couple, but always put them down and haven’t gone back to them.

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    1. Yes, that’s always a “danger” with fandom. I have to say I’ve drifted away completely from fanfiction the last couple of years and a big part of me wanting to increase my reading is that I miss stories, stories that have nothing to do with fandom and their universes.

      A narrator can certainly make or break an audiobook but usually I think they do a very good job. I listen to audiobooks a lot, I find the hardest thing for me is to actually sit down and do nothing but read. That’s why audiobooks works so well because you can clean, go for a walk, hang your laundry etc while “reading” I love that.

      Don’t be too disappointed in yourself, books and their stories are supposed to be fun.

      Ms. F

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