I’m an avid reader. In fact, there’s very little that I won’t read. My bookshelves are overflowing with all genres: fiction, nonfiction, children’s series, chick lit, science fiction, fantasy, historical fiction, autobiographies, even a few comic books.
Occasionally, though, I’ll pick up a book that, for whatever reason, doesn’t hold my attention like the others. There’s usually one main ingredient missing–the ingredient that keeps me glued to a book to the very end.
That ingredient? Character development.
Simple math, authors. If I don’t care about the characters, I don’t care about the story line.
Makes sense, right?
Well…my little book club decided to take its first foray into the world of science fiction. I was psyched!! I’ve got a couple of sci-fi books in my top 10, so I was looking forward to this little detour. The book was suggested and accepted: Dune by Frank Herbert. I was ready for some classic, old school sci-fi.
Without going on a serious tirade, and in an attempt to keep this blog from going on FOR-E-VER, let me just put it this way. I’m not that into it.
I found myself carrying my Kindle with me everywhere, in the hopes that I’d get a second to read this week’s assignment. It went with me to the salon, the grocery store, Target, the garbage can. I carried it in my bag all week and never touched it. It sat beside me on the couch, guilt beckoning me to continue reading.
Finally, one day I look up and OH SNAP it’s FRIDAY! I’ve got approximately 48 hours (give or take a few for sleeping) to read 200 pages.
I felt like I was in college again, reading to meet a deadline. And since I was a little rusty on the procedure, I had to re-learn what works for me. And since it was so danged hard, I thought a little tutorial might help those who might be in a similar situation. (My book club friend, Dana, will appreciate this tutorial the most, since she, too, is struggling through the desert of Dune.)
How To Power Through a Boring Book In Time For Book Club on Sunday:
Step One: Find a quiet spot with NO DISTRACTIONS and start reading.
The “No Distractions” rule is crucial. Normally, it takes a small nuclear bomb to drag me from the pages of a good read. In this case, though, it doesn’t take much. Case in point: my husband sneezed and it took me 10 minutes to get my groove back.
Step Two: Plan on falling asleep. It will happen. More than once.
Don’t worry. No one will judge you for drooling. Much.
Step Three: Move to a less comfortable spot to minimize napping.
If you curl up under an afghan with a kitty on your lap, you’ll be asleep in less than 4 pages. Just FYI.
Step Four: Figure out that your less comfortable spot still isn’t uncomfortable enough to keep you awake. Relocate to the kitchen table. Or the floor.
As soon as you find that perfect, uncomfortable spot, you’ll power through 50 pages, pronto!!
Step Five: Take breaks.
Wine-guzzling is my favorite way to pass the time.
Author’s note: You absolutely cannot skip this step. It becomes crucial to the process when, during these breaks, you make a deal with yourself that if you get to page 250, you’ll reward yourself with chocolate ice cream/a 10 minute power nap/a trip to Bali. Better yet, have your spouse promise you a reward: foot massage/dinner out/a trip to Bali. Now you have the motivation to KEEP READING!
Step Six: Finally find your groove.
By this step, you should have figured out the tricks that keep you interested in the story line. Give your characters funny nicknames, write furious notes on the incompetency of your main character, try to guess where the story is going (even if you inject gnomes in funny hats as the new heroes of the tale). Spend the next 2 hours tearing through page after page until you FINALLY reach the finish line. (Note: Try not to let your eyes cross.)
Step Seven: That’s it, you’re through!
Head to the computer to post your accomplishment to Facebook. Then reward yourself with 30 gratuitous minutes of mindless internet surfing. (May I suggest looking up pictures of Bali?) Congratulations. You deserve it, friend.