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Monday, June 04, 2007

Payback -- literary edition

Py Korry issued a Self-Torture Book Challenge; a challenge to read a book you would never, ever, read. In his case, he's reading Private, a fictional tale of a 15-year-old's dealings at a private school in Connecticut. Since this book is aimed at teenage girls fascinated with high school gossip, this 42-year-old, happily-married man is reading something he is sure will be utter crap. Not even sure if he could read it the whole way through, he's taking the challenge.

But I wonder: could I take the Self-Torture Book Challenge? At the moment, hell no!

My feeling is, it's taken a long time to enjoy reading books for pleasure. Why should I try to jeopardize this? If I did, is this the beginning of payback for me? Meaning, payback for all the zany and silly TV shows, movies, and books I subjected my parents to as a child? Will I have a better understanding of what parents have to go through with their kids when they're young? Yikes. Yikes. Yikes.

When it comes to free-time, I don't want to consume something I'm fairly certain I'm not going to enjoy. Nope, I'm not one to take something at face value. I know trying to read Modest Mouse -- A Pretty Good Read will make me want to throw it across the room. So why should I spend quality time with a non-quality book? Hence the challenge. In my case as an author, it's really challenging.

In the last three years, I've completed one book and have begun work on another. Lots of time has been devoted to making the material as strong as possible. Facts are checked and re-checked. Tone and pacing are looked at over and over again. Feedback is welcomed from my peers. It's a long, but rewarding process. So it makes me wonder when I see some poorly-written rush job get notoriety. Frankly, it feels like a slap in the face and fuels further impatience. But, all good things in time, right? I believe in that, but I get distracted whenever I see crappy books always in stock at my local bookstores.

So, for now, I'm passing on the challenge. What about you? Do you think you're up for this?

3 comments:

Py Korry said...

I gotta say that it was amusing when I came up with the challenge. However, actually reading the book "Private" is a real lesson in pain.

I'm at halfway point and I think the author just revealed the plot.

stevie said...

I did this last summer when I read The Da Vinci Code after buying it for $1 at a garage sale. It was the worst thing ever. I won't do it again.

Ryan said...

I hate to admit it, but I'm not reading books I want to read right now. I got out of reading for pleasure in College, and I just haven't gotten back into the swing of things yet. And working at a bookstore for 5 years didn't help. I could probably put 15-30 books(not including series) on my queue of stuff I'm interested in. So I'll pass on reading something I don't think I'd enjoy for now.