In my last major update post I mentioned that there were some new ideas floating around upstairs. One of the things I wanted to do last year was to just sit down with a cup of coffee and write. Unfortunately, that never really came to fruition and the troubling thing about that is I think the creative juices were at their lowest levels ever. To be honest I am not totally sure why that was, but I hope that this year things will be different. So what is the point of the Midweek Ramble? The idea really stemmed from the need to separate some of the more random ideas from the book posts. Plus, it just might help that desire to keep writing which I think is the biggest thing for me. In a more general sense this new topic is something that most of us readers think about, but don’t always feel comfortable enough to share.
For the very first Midweek Ramble it seems fitting to just launch right in and see how it goes. One of the things that as a reader is that we all deal with no matter what genre we like is deciding what our method is to find were we draw the line for a book. When I first got a Kindle whenever I saw a book was free it got added to the digital library. Some of you can identify with this no doubt. For those of us that love books collecting them is a bit like a disease and we end up with so many books it can become difficult to decide if they are any good. To be candid some of those free books just aren’t that great so personally I had to find a way to collate through them.
It wasn’t too long after I really got serious about using a Kindle as my primary reading medium that a couple personal guidelines began to surface. Occasionally I’ll break one, but I’ve found more often than not they help. The first rule seems pretty superficial, but over the last three years I have found there is a lot of truth to it. I know that I am not the only reader guilty of this one. The cover can tell you a lot about what the book is likely to be about. What am I suggesting? Yup, you got it judging the book by its cover. There are some just by seeing the cover that I know without any doubt it’s not for me or it just doesn’t pique my interest enough to read the blurb about it. This of course is not totally fool-proof since some ugly covers do in fact hide a gem of a story and others professionally done mask a terrible one.
My second and most used test for a book is what I like to call the 10% rule. Those of you using Kindles will understand that since it shows the percentages of the book read as you go. If a story has not pulled me in by that mark in some engaging and meaningful way I have often found myself wondering off to another title. I get it there are some books that are just slow-moving (I am looking at you Game of Thrones), but if the characters and events ring true we tend to just plow on and get to the action. Other times we as readers can just tell that a book just feels unfinished by that point or there is just no connection being made with the characters and/or events. Or maybe there are just too many spelling and grammatical issues pulling us away from enjoying the book. My point being simple enough we want to be dawn into the story by the author. I am glad there are many authors that have willing readers to go through an ARC. There are just as many that don’t and end up with a somewhat sub par book that had a lot of potential. I have read some ARCs knowing full well what to expect and have to remember that my 10% rule has to be pushed aside for a while. Over all it has made a difference in testing whether a book is fit to read.
Alright, I suggested that we as readers do in fact judge books by their covers to a certain extent. It is true whether we like it or not. I have also claimed there is sometimes a tipping point at which we may decide a book isn’t worth the time or effort to finish. Having put my own reading rules out there I am interested in where others stand on this. Do you just push through the book even if it feels flat and the character seem more like the cardboard cut outs standing at out local theater lobby just for the sake of finishing it? So here is the deal; if you feel up to it I definitely would to see how other readers cope with this issue. I know that I am not the only one that has created some sort of book test.