Reading Is A Challenge

Reading has been a challenge lately and not in a good way. I’m not sure if it’s the books I’m picking up or my mind set, but I find myself setting most books aside unfinished. Usually, I give a book three chapters to grab me, but I can’t seem to even push myself that far with some of them. My Kindle library is littered with reading material that will probably never be picked up again.

I can’t be too disappointed when they are free or under a buck, but when I spend four, five, sometimes more…well, that kinda hurts. I know not every book is going to ‘do it’ for every reader, but I’m hitting maybe one in ten here. I’ve also given up on reading reviews, again not every book is for every reader. Just because seventy-five percent of the readers out there loved it, doesn’t mean I will. But I’ve been playing it smart and reading the sample chapters, if the book grabs me, I hit the buy button. Sadly, by about the fourth or fifth chapter, many of these books fail to keep me interested.

There are a few things that make a book an insta-no-buy—keep in mind this is my personal opinion, taste, whatever. You can read and enjoy whatever your little heart desires. Again, not every book is for everyone.

Verbosity—yeah, I know, a ten dollar word, we’ll get to those later—too many stinkin’ words to describe something. I don’t need two pages describing a character or the setting—worse yet, something so insignificant it will never be mentioned again—when it could be said in a sentence or two, or a paragraph.

Big vocabularies, a.k.a. ten dollar words. Yay, you have a thesaurus and know how to use it, but that doesn’t mean you should. Sometimes the best choice is the simplest word. I think writers forget, or we feel the need to flex our literary muscles for an ego boost. I’m not saying dumb down your writing, I’m saying make smarter choices. Consider your audience and your genre. The last thing I want is to insult my reader’s intelligence, either by using a ton of words they have to look up—yanks ya right out of the story—or by making it too simplistic. They call them ten dollar words for a reason, use them sparingly.

The perfect character. They’ve mastered every weapon. If they’re just coming into their powers, they can wield magic like a pro by page five. We all need time to learn things and so do our characters. Another annoyance is having nothing in common with the character, as in they have no faults, no fears, they brush off trauma like it’s dust. Now, I’m not saying they need to wallow in it for the entire book—that’s annoying too—to wallow is human, but they need to work through things. Events and emotions haunt us, but they’re sprinkled through our lives. We’re reminded of things as we go about our daily lives, but we keep going. We learn to live in the moment, not that moment. I guess what I’m saying is I want characters—doesn’t matter if they are human or not—that are more relatable.

I’ll jump off my soapbox now.

Here’s a couple of books I’ve read recently and enjoyed:

Monster Born by Kris Austen Radcliffe

Awesome urban fantasy, with lots of elves—Minnesota elves—and a twist on a classic horror character.

Power Surge by E.J. Whitmer

A turn your brain off and enjoy the ride—laugh out loud fun—paranormal romance with super heroes.

What have you been reading?