Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Do you read? Do you read something other than the U S Today, or the occasional Spider-Man comic? If so, when you read, do you read to the end of a chapter in your book before you stop for the day or night? Or does your stopping point, providing you are not forced to stop by some outside event, depend on what it is you are reading. Can you zip through to the end of each breath taking chapter of Zola's "The Masterpiece," but Chandler's "The Campaigns of Napoleon" slow you down to just getting 5 or 10 pages done at a time? Is it material based whether or not you read to the end of the chapter, or are you a plugger? Someone that has to, out of some sense of obligation to the author, finish the chapter. Or is it that you just do not have a decent bookmark handy, and if you get to the end of the chapter you can remember the next chapter number? I am currently reading a lovely book titled "Beware of Pity" by Stefan Zweig, a previous hero, and an outstanding writer. However, this book poses a dilemma to the above question(s), it has NO chapters. It has a short introduction, and then is a 360 page story (a lovely story so far, I might add), but there is no chapters. The same can be said of Sir Terry Pratchett's "Discworld" series. Sir Terry can not be arsed to write chapters either, and why should he? It is his book, and if he wants to do without them then fine, that it is right, that is his privilege as the author. However, I, as the reader, have rights and privileges as well. The first one is, of course, whether or not to read the book at all. The second is to read it in my own time, and that is the important part. I read in MY own time, and I do not let the author push me around by telling me "hey here is the end of a chapter, now would be a fine time to stop." Bollocks to that, I will stop reading when I want to stop reading, and besides half of the time, chapters end in some sort of cliff hangar like plot device, so you do not want to stop at that chapter anyway. Read until you are tired, or read until you pass out, or read until you feel like you can not comprehend anymore, but certainly do not allow the author to hold your time hostage to his or her whim. I have been told that, since I do read chapters, I am both a bit of a snob (I can not deny this), and/or a person who is so stubborn, and hardheaded that he will not be told what to do even by some (in some cases) long dead writer (I can try, but I can not effectively deny this accusation either). To both of those charges I have to plead "guilty as charged." The scary part of this is that I have took a bit of a poll amongst my co-workers and friends, and the majority of them read to the end of the chapter. The one that does not is a bit goofy, and it is a little disconcerting that he and I share similar reading patterns. Either way read how you want it is your mind, do not let it be stripped away without your permission. I can only hope that I was able to hold my vast readership's attention long enough so that they could get to the end of this post. After all, there are no chapters.

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