I’ll be transparent here for a
second and disclose one of my pet peeves. Well, I’m not really sure
it’s a “pet” but it’s definitely a peeve.
I bristle when I read a review
with these words, “it was a fast read” or “great for a light summer
Unless the read is a novella,
how can it be a fast? Unless the book weights an ounce, how can it be
Wait a minute, I know what
you’re thinking, “Rachel, I read really fast. I can put away two trade
fictions a week.”
I hear you. I believe you.
My concern is not about the time
it takes for a reader to complete a book, but the manner in which it is
Did the reader slow down long
enough to pick out the universal truth woven in by the author?
Most authors I know never set
out to write a book that is completely surface, airy or light. Even
those of us who write with humor.
Kristin Billerbeck considered
the plight of Christian single women over thirty in her Ashley
Stockingdale series. For many women, this is a painful predicament. The
thing they want most, eludes them. Billerbeck wanted to give them a
stage, share their pain, but wrap it in the humor of Ashley.
Almost every book idea begins
with a darker theme. A life observation or experience that was painful.
In my book, Sweet Caroline, the
ending is not the typical Happily Ever After (HEA) of a romance or
A reviewer loved the book but
dinged me for the end.
Yet, there was a reason for my
madness. The conclusion of Caroline’s journey, the answer to her story
question, was not determined by a genre rule or reader expectation. The
ending was determined by Caroline. The choice she made was right for
her, ending a life of indecision, and beginning a new phase of
adventure and self-discovery.
it possible as readers we
move so fast through a novel we don’t pause to see the beauty and
wisdom the author is conveying? Do we gloss over the tone and
underlying themes of truth without pause?
Fiction is full of golden
nuggets. Why else would we still read Jane Austin and Tolstoy, Dickens
We look for something of the
human condition in those stories. We want to feel the heart of the
characters, and cheer for them when the succeed, or even if they fail.
Characters in a book reflect the
circle of life. Characters we don’t identify with can open our hearts
and minds to new experiences.
I wrote a book about a women
dealing with infertility. I didn’t identify with her until I slowed
down and let my heart beat in rhythm with hers, until I let her
thoughts become mine.
So, this November, slow down for
the “nuggets” hidden in the books you plan to read. Consider the
character. Don’t expect them to do what you want, expect them to do
what they want. Let the character ring true to themselves!
Remember the author spent a lot
of hours with “backside in chair” to deliver the best possible story to
Read and be blessed.