46 Following

Gurglings of a Putrid Stream

Thoughts on books and other assorted topics.

See also:  http://goppf.wikidot.com/swstart

My name:  Brian Martin

How Do You Read?

In a discussion recently, I was told by a guy that he prefers books to movies. Not much of a newsflash on a book site, and if that was all that had been said, I wouldn't be wondering now. But his reason for this (at least the reason he gave) was such that I just have to ask the question, How do you read?

This guy, he said he liked books better because he wanted to "cast the role" and he wanted to "pick the location." He said he wanted to "decide how big the explosions are" and he wanted to decide "whether or not to spray blood all over the walls or trickle it onto the floor."

How many people read like this? There's nothing wrong with it, of course, not as a matter of private recreation. In fact, I can see a problem only if you then went on to rate and the review the book. In a review, I want to know about what the author wrote, not what a reader has re-written in their own mind. Because what this person likes to do is writer's work, not reader's work. There's a big difference between visualizing a scene painted by the author and using it as a springboard to satisfy your own predilections. A very badly written book could become a terrific piece of literature with this kind of approach. Again, good for you, but not very helpful to me.

Readers, of course, have to fill in a lot of blanks -- although, in good fiction, not as many as non-readers might think -- and I'm not talking about that. This guy was pretty specific as you can see. So I'm curious: is this person's approach a common one?