One of the troubles with being a voracious reader is finding stuff to read, whether you’re a tight git or not. I love roast dinners. But if I had to eat them every day of the week for months, I can see the pleasure would wane. It’s the same with reading. I like reading a lot (in both senses of the expression) but the same diet of crime, mystery, thrillers needs spicing up a bit from time to time. But with what? Choice can be a little limiting if, like me, one baulks at paying several pounds for a computer file ebook and one has no access to charity shops.
So it was my great good fortune on the commute this week after a couple of average reads to discover a PDF document of a PG Wodehouse book of Jeeves and Wooster stories on my Kindle. The first of which is called Leave it to Jeeves and had me laughing out loud at 6.30 in the morning, much to the obvious annoyance of my fellow travellers who were trying to sleep.
Just before Wodehouse I read a Stella Rimington novel, The Geneva Trap. It was a free download on Amazon. I like spy novels. I thought it a competent effort. I enjoyed the read and looked forward to picking it up. But not once did I feel any real emotion. It didn’t frighten me. It didn’t make me laugh. I never felt my heart miss a beat. I didn’t gasp. The language and plot were straightforward and easy to follow. I never once encountered a word I didn’t understand. It was uncomplicated – a sort of spy book by numbers writing. I’m not trying to diss the writing. I’m just expressing my opinion.
Straight after Stella I started on another free downlaod with good reviews. A crime thriller. It shaped up well enough but I realised a couple of chapters in that I was no longer in the mood for the genre. I needed a change of reading cuisine. Enter Wodehouse.
What a wordsmith that fellow was. And it got me thinking about what a gift it is, as a writer, to be able to inspire emotion in your reader with nothing more than a clever arrangement of words and punctuation on a blank page. (Of course, there’s a little more to it than that. The reader must bring something to the event too.) Or is it a gift, I quickly argued with myself. Isn’t it the result of someone who has worked hard at his craft and reached a high level of expertise in it? Probably like the old educational nature/nurture argument goes, there’s a good dollop of both in there.
I’ve tried reading Dracula a couple of times but never got too far with it. I’ll try again. When I haven’t been reading on the commute this week I’ve been listening to Dracula as an audiobook. It was another free one. It’s really good. The reading just brings the text to life, something which I haven’t yet managed as a reader. It’s got me thinking about audiobooks again and that I’d like to get some of my books done as audiobooks. I’d really like to have a go at reading them myself. I believe I could make a decent fist of it and it could be fun.