Weekend poser

Sigh. No.

No snaps here of models to keep you thrilled for the next two days. Go away, you dirty person.

To the other readers, a question -

You probably allocate, consciously or not, a certain 'tone' to the works of certain authors. A distinctive style, a 'voice', if you will. And not just the truly great writers, whose work can be identified in a blind-test, but even the lesser ones who you may read regularly. This is normal, right, because writers work on creating a unique style of writing anyway.

But....have you noticed if you tend to read books by different authors at a different pace?

And I'm not talking of just because of the way the author writes - it's difficult not to read Hemingway and not feel like you've just heard an M-16 tell you a campfire story, or read Raymond Chandler without your lips sneering on their own. Reading at a certain pace because of key words that deliberately raise or lower the speed of the book is inevitable.

No, in a sense, I'm asking about assumptions again.

Do you, when you pick up a book by an author whose style you are familiar with, or a book whose review you've read and whose style you anticipate, automatically begin to read the book at a certain speed, in a certain frame of mind - regardless of what the book's real 'pace' may be?

And if you do, have you noticed whether and how it affects your reading habits?

Comment away.


Personally, my answer to both questions is yes.

I've realised that I am guilty of this assumption. I pick up certain books by certain authors, or in a certain genre, and assume they'll be of a certain pace. And every so often I find myself....discomfited...till I realise that there's a lag in the assumed and real pace of the book. It's almost a physical uneasiness, as if you've set out for a run after a gap of a few months, and realise a little while later that the pace you've set in your mind is in sync with the ones your legs are really producing.

And even when I'm not assuming, I've found that I increasingly read certain books at certain times. And this is not just because of their content, but because of the activity-level which the book induces in me. There's no way I can read a Heller at bed-time, for instance, while a Pratchett is reserved for evenings and weekends.


To clarify, this is not the speed at which you read the book that I'm talking about, but the pace at which you assume the words would read if they were heard aloud. Not the same difference.


shyam said...

I did that with the latest Terry Pratchett. B'cos I had no idea what the book was about, I got through the first 10-15 pages without really registering the difference. This wasnt a Discworld novel with known characters and it didnt seem Terry Pratchett-y at the start. But once I'd got my head around the fact that it was different, the book turned out pretty darned good. There is SOME Discworld-type humour there, but on the whole it's a lot less frivolous, and a very good read. I hope he manages to stave off Alzheimers for many many many more years!

km said...

Interesting questions. I am not sure my reading pace varies with the writer or maybe I just haven't paid attention to it.

What does help (me) when reading certain authors is slowing the hell down.

(Cue in the classic Woody Allen joke about speed-reading...)

Cynic in Wonderland said...

It differs with the writer, and occasionally for the same author, it also differs with the state of mind.