A friend told me the other day that she was deliberately reading my book, Unchained Memory, slowly, so as not to get to the end too fast. She wanted to savor it, she said, so she was holding herself back.
I wasn’t sure whether to be complimented or insulted. I have to admit I don’t really think of my work as fine wine, to be sipped and rolled around on the tongue. It’s more like a good beer on a hot day—drink it down in a rush of pleasure and plunk your mug on the table with a grin of satisfaction at the end.
So when people tell me that they couldn’t put the book down, or they stayed up way past their bedtimes reading it, I feel like I did my job. That’s the way I read—in great gulps and marathon binges. I developed my reading style as a child, when I could take a thick book—Swiss Family Robinson, maybe, or Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland—and get lost for a whole rainy afternoon. I don’t have the time to do that anymore—an hour is usually all I can manage at a time these days—but occasionally I will get caught up late at night and forget to go to bed until the couple in question finds their HEA.
But the reader I was speaking to is not the only one out there who might be described as “story sippers” in reading style. These folks like to take their time with a book, lingering over the passages, thinking about the characters. My childhood friend, Joyce, who provided professional advice for UM in her role as a psychiatric nurse, is one of these kinds of readers. It took a while to get the manuscript back from her!
It should be noted that reading style need have nothing to do with actual reading speed. Story sippers don’t read particularly slow. And I don’t read particularly fast. I wish I did. Then I could read more books and join the ranks of those Super-Readers out there who fuel the romance-buying engine. These readers buy (and read!) multiple books per week; they become loyal to certain authors, series, characters; they are active online in book-related forums; they are voracious; and they are the Holy Grail of book promotion. (Cue Heavenly Choir Music.) (Read more about these Super-Readers here.)
In the meantime, my story-sipping friend wanted to know when my next book would be out so she could time the conclusion of Unchained Memory to coincide with the debut of Trouble in Mind. Since that would be some six months from now, I proposed a different solution. Why not give in to temptation and finish this book that you like so much? Then you can read it over again while you wait for Book Two in the Interstellar Rescue series. After all, people do it with movies. I’ve seen LORD OF THE RINGS countless times. (Of course, I’ve also read Tolkien’s trilogy every other year or so since I was 16.)
My friend nodded her head. “You know, that just might work!”
Maybe it would work for all you other story sippers out there, pondering what to tell your writer friends about their latest work. As for us speed readers? All we ask is five more minutes.Really. It’s just getting to the good part . . .
OVER TO YOU
What about you? What’s your reading style? And do you even have time to read anymore?
MELANIEANU, WHERE ARE YOU?
MELANIEANU was the winner of my launch week giveaway of an ebook copy of Unchained Memory plus a signed cover card. I still haven’t heard from you, MELANIEANU! Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your email and home address so I can send you your goodies.