I love books. I read them one page at a time, savoring the words, ingesting them like a fine wine. I like books that paint vivid images and invoke feelings. I like books that allow me to become the characters.
My spouse loves books, too, but he goes through them like I go through a bag of M&Ms. He reads a greater number than I read and many are shelved and read again, doubling his reading time.
My taste runs to romance, historical romance, romantic suspense, and thrillers with an occasional craft book thrown in. His taste is eclectic. Do you know anyone who read “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” by Thomas Piketty, an award-winning economics book that’s listed by weight in its metadata? I do. He ploughed through all 700 pages, right after he read “The Martian” by Andy Weir.
My spouse will read anything, including the books I read, although he will occasionally put down a paperback and say, “I just can’t get into this one.” I understand. I can’t get into some of the books he reads.
For me, books have always been a great way to escape. Not anymore. I now read for craft, for style, for cadence, for message. If I save a book, it’s because the author has done a superb job in one of these areas. Unsaved books are donated to the Friends of the Library.
But once in a while a book grabs me and I can’t put it down until I finish. These are usually the thrillers…short on character, but long on heart-thudding action, books that leave you with a question at the end of each chapter, books that make you turn the page and keep reading.
That’s the level I’m reaching for with my romance novels. I haven’t quite achieved it yet, but my goal is to write a page-turner, a book that keeps you up all night, that leaves you feeling and thinking at the end.
It won’t get raves and acclaim and awards like “Capital.” But it might help you get through your day or leave you with a bit of knowledge you didn’t have before.
Or leave you with a smile on your face.