Reading for pleasure, reading at leisure. Reading for news, tolerating the ads. Reading for exams, scrambling for points. Every day, we read something or the other, for some purpose or other. And our purpose often defines our perspective.
People who read newspapers and online articles do so for information. They don’t care who the writer is, how long it took to write the piece, or how the writer feels about the thing they’re reporting. That’s just news for the sake of news.
Some other people read for pleasure. My friends bury their faces in fiction or non-fiction just to get high in the power of words strung to one another. Reading, for them, is a hobby. It’s an activity that keeps their clocks ticking, at the end of which they have something to talk about, and sometimes even think about. Books for them are havens of stories, packed with adventure and action, letting them peek into a life they wish they’d had. When they read stories, they venture into a new world, a world where everything seems interesting, where everything is likeable. For such people, reading is an escape from a reality they can’t alter.
And then there’s the third kind: The ones who read the writer. I didn’t know this was a thing until I realised I belonged to this category. When I read a book, an article online, or even a magazine advertisement, I don’t just take the words in. I notice. I stop, I reread, I analyse the word choices, and I wonder if I could’ve written it better. I may, at first, shake my head at unnecessary commas, or curl my lips at descriptive repetition, but I also go wow at the imagery at the end of a sentence.
Reading for me has transcended beyond reading for pleasure. It’s now more of understanding the writer, trying to forge a bond with the author. It’s interesting how a writer’s mind works, because when they put words to paper, they don’t just communicate a story they thought we’d like. They, instead, make us realise what they realised. They educate the reader, conveying not just an idea, but a conviction. No writer ever publishes a book that they don’t believe in. Every word, every extra syllable that the reader reads is because the writer wanted them to read it.
But ever too often, we don’t acknowledge the valiant efforts of a writer. We judge a book within the first couple of pages. We verdict books without mercy. We use countless descriptions to condemn a book; too boring, a complex narrative, a stupid plot, emotionless tone, and so much more. And yet, all the while, we forget that the writer did all those with purpose.
A writer doesn’t want to write a boring book. But a boring fictional narrative from the first person point of view is purposeful. It’s a subtle indication from the writer to the reader that the (fictional) narrator had a troubled past that altered her life altogether. Throughout a story, writers drop hints for readers to pick up. And that’s why the same book feels different when we read it a few years later. We see things we haven’t seen before. We realise that the extra comma had some meaning. And so we read with extra care, we hunt for the clues, we wonder why the writer is being repetitive. And when we do that, we become mature. From reading about adventures, we make reading in itself an adventure.
I’ve signed up for the Incredible Blogger Marathon Challenge. It’s a ten-task-challenge that can span up to fifteen days. This post is my response to the ninth day: Be a baby challenge. The challenge is to give a new perspective to something commonplace.