Frustrations with the Written Word

Originally posted in Year In Reading by Stacy N. Elliott on April 9, 2012

It is week 15, and I am eight books behind schedule.  Lately, I have been stumbling on one bad book after another and frankly, it is getting frustrating.  I like to read in my preferred genres, but I have been deeply disappointed by some of the books that were allowed to be published. 

One book I read flaunted a woman’s wealth; dangling it like it was a prize to be had.  I have only read two chapters so far, and the unhappiness of this woman who has a fulfilling life is grating on my nerves.  I have been trying to read it for the past two weeks, and I am unable to relate to this character.  I may just finish reading this book.  It is well written, after all.

Another book I read did not flow right and the secondary character was introduced too late in the book.  If felt like a new story began in the middle of it, and it seemed that this character’s whole life story was irrelevant to the story at hand.  I ended up skipping the rest of the book to read the last two chapters so that I could satisfy my curiosity.  I was deeply disappointed that the editors allowed this one to go to print without more refinement.  Needless to say, my frustrations has led me to drop this book six chapters into it, and I felt that it was not worthy of a review.

I do not like being hypercritical and judgmental on another author.  The pain of judgment hurts.  Especially when so much hard work and effort was poured into the publication of their dreams.  My mother had taught me that if I don’t have anything nice to say then say nothing at all, but my inner book goddess is screaming for literary talent!

Thus, I am going to leave out the names of these authors and their books.  If I don’t have anything nice to say, then it is not worth my time to finish the read.  However, I must voice my frustration with the written words that publishers deemed read worthy.  I love the unique and different reads, but I am unable to tolerate mediocre writing.  This is proof that anyone can be a writer, but it takes talent, education, and a team of brilliant editors to make a writer an author.

I am unsure of continuing this journey with the depressing reads I have been encountering, but I love books.  And I am determined to see my goal.  Since Kristin Hannah has become my new favorite author, I have decided to pick up a couple of her books which are waiting to be read.  My other favorite author, Sarah Addison Allen, has her latest book The Peach Keeper in paperback on store shelves.  It would make a great birthday present come June (Hint Hint to all my family and friends)!

In the meantime, I have been questioning my spiritual beliefs; a journey that started last year and is continuing today.  I picked up a book called Letters From a Skeptic by Dr. Gregory A. Boyd and Edward K. Boyd.  It is a Christian non-fiction which is not typical of the genre I read, but hopefully it will be able to answer some deeply thought provoking questions I have been contemplating.  My intent is not to witness or share the gospel, but to understand more clearly what I seem to have forgotten and remind myself why I believe the way I believe.  I have read the first 31 pages and find that the intellectual level of this book is right up my alley.  It is well written and will keep me intrigued throughout the duration of this read. 

Finally, a book I can finish!

(Note:  I realized that I may have been too harsh on publishers in general in this post, and therefore I would like to extend my apologies for the harsh criticism.  My intent was not to bash publishers, and I know that not all publishers are the same.  I understand that time is money in the publishing realm, but with all do respect, I cannot emphasize enough of the importance of appropriate editing techniques prior to print.  Readers notice these things and they share it with other readers.  If someone asks for a good book, readers will let you know which books to read and which to avoid.  I understand that I may be hypercritical with errors of a published book (and am aware of the numerous errors that may possibly be in this post), but I plead with the publishers to please keep the reader in mind when sending books to press.  If the story does not flow right, feels choppy, or contains grammatical and spelling errors, please do not print it.  Save yourselves from future loss and take the time to get it done right the first time.  Your sales and reputation will increase because you did.)

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