Sunday, 13 March 2011

Read Books...

So there I was, Stumbling through the great Web of a Sunday morning, when I came upon one of those sites with lists of "Things You Shouldn't Do Because They Annoy Me".

You know the type - people decide what they don't like about a subject or activity and post it in the form of a '50 things' list.

In this particular one, from the website "Three Guys One Book", four guys present a list of 40 things they'd rather one avoid as a writer. Apparently running short of ideas, they invite comments from the public to make up the numbers.

Anyhow, my attention was caught by the first couple of 'don'ts', "Don't use italics for more than one line," and "Don't tell me what someone looks like if it doesn't matter," and, struck by the sheer wisdom and clarity of thought, I continued past such pearls as " Don't tell the story with your head, tell it with your body. Even if it's cerebral" (what does that even mean?) and "Don’t glue your story to a cause or a distrupted (sic) group or country and call it a novel. I call that bad reporting." Not a Hemingway fan, then.

Of course, the comments were all subjective and there were the usual caveats, like "Don't listen to me", etc., but all in all it seemed a little self-indulgent.


But if I thought that was bad, the next site I came across was this one, where the writer, expressing her frequent disappointment with the content of books, prefers to admire the covers instead.

W, as they say, TF?

I should explain that the writer, Kirsty Logan, is herself a published author; however I find it strange that she should never have read those books which in her article she claims have influenced her work or otherwise resonated with her in some way.

And while I cannot deny that I agree with her feelings regarding bookshops and libraries, in that they are among my favourite places to visit, I have to wonder at an author's claim that imagining how a story should go is preferable to being disappointed by the reality.

I mean, how difficult can it be?

1. Pick up book.
2. Read first page.
3. If interested, acquire and continue.

It's not rocket science.

At least it wasn't, up to now...