Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Reading taste and the word boring

So, I wanted to post something today about the word "boring" in terms of books. First let me preface by saying that everyone has different taste and considers different things to be entertaining. I get that. I also get that there are some legitimately BORING books out there, I am in no way saying that everything ever written is worth reading. 

So, that being said, let's get on with BORING. I took a film history course in college and I seem to recall my professor talking about his distaste in hearing people describe movies as being boring. If I remember correctly, it was in regards to "classics" versus modern films. At the time I hadn't given it all that much thought, and frequently used the word myself. It, and he, got me thinking and I, in turn, adopted his view in this matter.  

Today, I have transferred this growing irritation with the word to books. It bothers me to no end to hear someone call a book boring. I think because, in terms of the books I've heard it used on, it's more of a testament to the quality of the READER rather than the quality of the book itself. 

Now I don't want to offend anyone, I merely want readers to consider this when saying a book is boring. Why exactly do you find it boring? Most often, when I hear people say this, it's because they feel the book is moving too slowly. It's okay to dislike a book for whatever reason, but I wish that more people would express these reasons rather than throwing it into the catch-all boring category. 

I think this is a direct result of the current trend for fast and immediate video-game-like stimulation. It's sad to think that readers no longer have time for character and plot development in the books that they read. They want constant action and edge-of-your-seat, three page chapters. Too much description loses their attention too quickly and the book is labeled "boring." 

I read my fair share of fluff - quick reads that require no more thought than turning the next page. Simple entertainment for the sake of letting me forget what is going on around me for a few hours. But, I don't want everything I read to be of a lesser quality simply because I can finish it quickly. 

I fear that the number of ADD readers out there who call the quality stuff boring may soon get their way. I don't want publishers to believe that this is the kind of book that the public desires. I don't think, in the end, that readers would be all that happy with the types of books they would have to choose from either. So far, this doesn't seem to be the case, but I ask you as a reader to begin to look at what you read and enjoy, and what you don't, and ponder what exactly it is you dislike about a book. Reconsider that book that you gave up on because you simply didn't have the time for it. You might find, in the end, that it's a much more rewarding read than you expected. 

I guess it goes back to leaving your comfort zone every once in a while, specifically in terms of trying something a little heftier out for size. Now don't run out and buy some critically acclaimed piece of heavy literature that looks impressive on your bookshelf, but if you find that you don't have the time or inclination to read, say Stephen King, or The Historian, try again. It might take a few books before you get the hang of it, but I think it's worth it in the end to have the occasional not so simplistic read on your list. And try to scrap the word boring from your vocabulary, unless it's in terms of watching the stock ticker on tv (not so boring these days, either, is it)!

Alright, off my high horse. 

No comments: