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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

How To Read a Book

Warning: Rant ahead...

The other day, I was in my local bookstore when I saw someone do The Worst Thing Ever. In fact, this "Worst Thing" is such a pet peeve of mine that I very nearly walked up to a total stranger--disregarding what the bookstore staff would think of this debut author--to give him a piece of my mind. This is what he did...

He picked up a book, read the back cover, then proceeded to flip to the last page, the heart-wrenching/victorious/satisfying, and/or romantic ending that some author had SLAVED to build an entire book around. I mean, the ending is at the end for a reason. Am I right?!? Can you tell how much I hate this?

Anyway, if you're one of these people who flips to the ending before reading the book, please DO NOT tell me about it. I would have a very difficult time forgiving you. But in case you do need instruction, here is the proper way to read a book:

1. Admire the cover. Wonder for a few seconds of gazing at the artwork what type of a book it will be.
2. Flip to the back and read the description or any blurbs that are there. Is it what you're in the mood for right now? If not, put it back down and give it a better chance when you are in the mood. Lately I've read a few fantasy and paranormal books when I knew I was in the mood for some realism. It's too bad, because I probably would have enjoyed the books more if I'd been in a different state of mind. Shame on me. I have learned my lesson.
3. Read the bio and acknowledgments. I love having a little insight into the author's life before reading their book. Besides, it's kind of cool to know when you're reading a medical thriller from someone who truly used to be a medical examiner.
4. Read the dedication and move right on to the first page.
5. Read the whole book. Then, and only then, when you reach the ending, read the ending. Read it the way the author meant for you to read it.
6. After I'm done reading a book, I always go back and re-read the first page. More often than not, doing that give me a whole new level of respect for the author. After reading the whole book, it's usually easy to see why they started the book the way they did and why that was the perfect way to start it.
7. I usually re-read the acknowledgments one more time after all this too. I know I'm probably overly sentimental in this way, but I guess I kind of feel like I know the author better by the end of their book, and many of their acknowledgments will mean more to me at that point.

And that's my elementary lesson for today, folks! Now that I'm done my rant, I am curious...does anyone else re-read the bio, acknowledgments, and first page after reading the book?

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