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"Hard is not hopeless." - General David Petraeus

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Books That Wear You Out

Not a lot of writing going on during the month of September.  Chaos at work, preparing to take a class about how to design web pages, researching possible career alternatives have gobbled up my days and nights.

On a good note, I'm looking forward to the release of Hawaii Five-0, season 1 so that I can FINALLY see the half dozen or so episodes, including the series pilot, that never got shown as reruns.  BTW, the season 2 opener was fantastic!

But more to the point, I ran across a great quote while visiting Port Yonder Press's website today:

“A good book should leave you slightly exhausted at the end.  You live several lives while reading it.” – William Styron

There has been a good deal of discussion on message driven fiction recently and about the different types of readers out there--ie. those who want escapist fiction or those who want a deeper read.

While I think it's necessary to experience both types of fiction, I prefer the deeper read, which is why Mr. Styron's quote really resonated with me.  The best books leave you worn out because they took you on such an intense ride.  This is VERY hard to accomplish as a writer.  Of the books I read, I'd say 1 in 20, if that, have that kind of power over me.  That is why most fiction is "mass market"--while certainly readers varying tastes make this subjective (what one finds intense/deep another reader finds trifling), to me, a deep read requires a special skill at writing that not all are equipped to achieve.  I know that is certainly one of the things I have wondered about myself many times.  Will I only ever achieve surface level appeal or will I one day write something that reaches down deep and wears out my reader?

If I manage to wear out my reader, every bit of the strain and struggle will have been worth it.


KYLE said...

i also like reading!I'm chinese;when i was young i found a lot of classical chinese books on the shelves,then they aroused my interests in reading.Now i read both english and chinese,enjoying two totally different literature worlds!

B.K. Jackson said...

I agree. Reading is a great way to explore.

Nicole said...

The Hawaii Five-0 premiere was good, wasn't it? Yay! I love fall television.

B.K. Jackson said...

Oh, the season 2 opener was awesome! Steve nearly gave me a heart attack tumbling out of the back of that ambulance and nearly getting made into road pizza. Great stuff. I hope the rest of season 2 will hold to that high caliber.