Back in the days when I spent my hard-earned, part-time dollars on paperbacks at the old B&N, I read books cover to cover always. Now that I have less time and virtually limitless access to books both inexpensive and free (oh yeah, the library–what was I thinking?!), I find myself growing impatient with some books. So, I occasionally succumb to what I once considered a grave insult to the soul of a book. I skim.
I usually hit the threshold of, “Yup…gonna skim this,” for one of two reasons. I might find there are no layered plots, new interesting characters (that add to the existing story), or instances of rising tension to carry me along. It just draaaaags. Or maybe the book has the opposite problem–a bunch of new characters, settings, and problems drop in seemingly out of nowhere and proceed to bump around like plastic toys in a washing machine–ruining what was a delicately woven story.
When I skim, it’s no more than 10%–I swear!. I skim for sanity because otherwise I’d take what seemed like a very promising book and hurl it at my backyard gnomes. My gnomes deserve more respect than that.
I can’t really blame the writers on this–only my own lack of patience. I’m struggling toward an ending right now that makes me want to chuck my laptop out, too so that it spins end over end before landing happily in a flooded ditch. I know how hard it can be to first envision a fitting conclusion and then get your characters there without taking a major detour through the Oh-My-God-Where-The-Heck-Is-This-Going Forest. Still.
Do you skim? How do you feel about skimmers? Would you like to throw us in a ditch?
Michelle Joyce Bond