My Dutch grandmother says I read 'prul boeken'. this means that instead of reading 'good' books, books of value, books that have meaning; I read empty, meaningless, cheap novels churned out by commercial writers who produce a book a year, all written by a formula. The literary versions of rom-coms. You know: pulp fiction.
She is right.
I read to escape. For a few hours at least, I want to be somewhere else. Living someone else's life. It has to read quick and easy, and if the story is forgettable it is also ok, because then I can get better value for my R100 by reading it again in a year or two. I have always jokingly said that if it has a fact in the first chapter, then I am put off. And if there is no murder in the first chapter, I am also disappointed.
I don't normally read chick-lit. There are a few exceptions, but generally I choose thrillers, who-dunnits and legal dramas - my favourite writers are James Patterson, Jonathan Kellerman, John Grisham and even Dan Brown. I read very fast, I can finish an average paperback in a day if you leave me alone, so I prefer it if I don't have to think.
But this year I decided to read a little wider. Try new authors. Different genres.
And so in this spirit of inclusiveness, I read 'The Time Traveler's Wife' - a book a friend lent me. And I loved it! For weeks after, the story stayed with me.
It was during these weeks, that Sam Wilson, editor at women24 and twitter-friend, tweeted that book24 was looking for someone to do a book review for them. Without delay, I set about writing a review for 'The Time Traveler's Wife', and within an hour it was ready to send off to woman24. A few days later I got an email from Tammy, the book24 editor, saying that they already had a review for that book, but was I interested in doing a monthly review?
And so it came that I write a review every month. And that means I have to read a book every month. And it has to be a reviewable book.
This has been a wonderful challenge. Suddenly I have to think about what I read, and I have to think about the story while I’m reading it. I am reading more critically. I am asking other people who have read the book their opinions. Instead of just consuming, I’m chewing. And in the process i have discovered wonderful new writers.
I look forward to further literary growth. To many happy hours spent reading.
What do you read?