Writing styles

Developing Understanding when Reading

Developing Understanding when Reading (Photo credit: Ken Whytock)

Since I got my Kindle, I’ve been reading a lot of books that are not necessarily best-sellers.  Some of them are firsts for the author, others are from previously published authors.  I always try to pay attention to writing styles when I’m reading.  Of course, we all notice spelling or grammatical errors.  I also notice editing or publishing errors that distract from the joy of reading.

But lately, I’ve really been paying attention to dialogue styles.  It seems that some authors write their dialogue in proper grammatical form (those are probably the folks who paid the most attention in English class!).  My issue with writing (and reading) dialogue written in this manner is that it’s not really how most of us speak in our everyday lives.  I suppose, if we’re highfalutin’,  hoity-toity, upper crust, tea and scones in the afternoon types, then that could be how we actually talk.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t know anyone like that in my life…and I sure don’t talk like that.  So I tend to write dialogue as I imagine my characters speak.  In my opinion, that allows the reader to better know and understand the characters.

I have to admit, I get distracted when I’m reading a book and the writing style is such that I get the feeling that English is a second language for the author.  I find myself constantly telling myself it would have been easier to understand had it been written this way, or had they not hesitated to use contractions.  Am I being overly picky?

As I throw my hands in the air in admission that I completely understand that I am by no means the most accomplished writer, and that anyone who has ever written anything at all can either take or leave my criticisms, I must stress that I’ve been an avid reader since I first learned to read.  And I know what I like to read as well as what doesn’t appeal to me at all.  Really, aren’t we all like that?

What distracts you from the joy of reading?

I Am Legend…or the book I thought I’d never finish

I Am Legend (film)

Image via Wikipedia

Okay, let me get this out there first thing, I am an avid reader…always have been.  I have favorite authors (James Patterson, Patricia Cornwell, John Sandford, Janet Evanovich, Iris Johansen, Lee Child, and so on) and I devour their books.  They always end much too quickly and then the long wait begins again for the next book that they’ve written to hit the bookstore (or Amazon’s page).

While I’m waiting for new books by my favorite authors, I pick up anything that looks like it might be good (how else do you find new favorite authors, right?).  Being the frugal person that I am try to be…I often get books on the cheap at the local Friends of the Library bookstore or Goodwill.  (Yes, I could check books out at the library, but then you have to remember to take them back…and I always forget…that tends to get me in a lot of trouble..you know those librarians…I’d rather have the school bully mad at me than have a librarian give me that cold librarian stare).

A few weeks ago, I bought several books at Goodwill.  One of those books was I Am Legend…you know, the one that they made into a movie starring Will Smith?  I must admit, I never saw the movie and hadn’t heard anything about it, so really had no idea what the book was about…but they made a movie out of it so someone must have thought it was good, right?  Oh my word…I started the book…and gave up on it, setting it aside in favor of another book.  Read a few more books, then came back to I Am Legend…having forgotten why I stopped reading it in the first place.  Started over, read a little until I could go no further.  Set it aside once again.  Read several more books until I had no books in the house that I hadn’t already read.  Kept seeing I Am Legend sitting there on the bedroom table.  I didn’t really want to pick it up, but being the voracious reader that I am, had to have something to read.  So I picked it up and forced myself to finish it.  And believe me when I tell you I had to force myself to finish it (heck, I had to force myself not to throw it across the room).

I was a little more than halfway through the book when there was an abrupt plot change.  I kept reading, thinking what in the world is going on here?  Kept reading, getting more and more confused…then it dawned on me…I had finished I Am Legend and was now reading short stories…sadly none of the short stories were any better than I Am Legend…thankfully today I managed to get out and buy some new (used) books to read…one of them by Lee Child…ahh…reading is a pleasure again.

Do I need a Kindle?

Cover of "Kindle Wireless Reading Device,...

Cover via Amazon

Sheesh..I know I don’t NEED a Kindle, but I sure do want one.  I’m an avid reader, have been my entire life.  But now I’m trying to declutter my life…trying to get rid of things I don’t use or enjoy…trying to really think things through before I make a purchase.  I guess that’s kind of what I’m doing here…trying to make sure this is something I would truly use.

I have several friends who have Kindles (or other e-readers).  They all talk about how much they love them.  Would I love one?  I pretty much think I would, but do I need one?  I don’t need it, I know I don’t, but I believe I would get a lot of use and enjoyment out of one. I’ve been researching them, seems like there are quite a few options now that weren’t available just a couple of years ago.  So not only do I need to decide whether or not to buy a Kindle, but which one…decisions, decisions…

I have to admit, the thought of buying one for myself for Christmas (don’t tell me I’m the only person who buys Christmas presents for herself?  Come on, at least you know you’re getting something you want that way) has been in my mind frequently of late.

What do you think?  Do you have a Kindle or other e-reader?  Do you get a lot of use out of it?  Are you happy you got one or is it sitting there collecting dust?

Sizzling Sixteen…summer reading fun

The Great Seal of the State of New Jersey.

Image via Wikipedia

Anyone who knows me well, knows I love to read.  I’ll read just about anything I can get my hands on, but I do have several authors who are my favorites.  One of those authors is Janet Evanovich.  She’s the author of the fun-to-read Stephanie Plum novels.  If you’re looking for something to stimulate you intellectually, these probably aren’t going to fit the bill.  But if you’re looking for books that will have you laughing out loud, look no further.

I’ve read the full series (with the exception of the latest, just released in hard back, seventeenth in the series.  I’ll wait until it comes out in paperback, no offense, Ms Evanovich, but I tend to be just a tad frugal.).  The book I just finished reading is Sizzling Sixteen

Stephanie is a Jersey girl bounty hunter, although, even she would admit it, not the most adept bounty hunter in New Jersey (or anywhere else, for that matter).  She’s cute and funny, lives in a small apartment with her hamster, Rex, works for her cousin Vinnie (a bail bonds agent), is in on- again, off-again love with Morelli (a gorgeous hunk of a cop) and is in lust with the primo bounty hunter, Ranger (hot and dangerous).

In Sizzling Sixteen, Stephanie has to rescue Vinnie, who has been kidnapped and is being held for ransom until his gambling debts are paid.  Stephanie, along with her co-workers Lulu (a plus-sized former ho’ turned file clerk) and Connie (office manager and Jersey girl through and through), stumble along trying to find and rescue Vinnie.  They end up encountering an attack alligator in an apartment, big guys with big guns, explosions, car crashes (Stephanie is hell on cars..she’s destroyed more cars than I’ve owned), funny bad guys and dangerous bad guys all while consuming more than their fair share of donuts and fried chicken.  And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the underlying sexual tension between Stephanie and both Morelli and Ranger…whew, hard for a girl to choose between those two…

I don’t want to give anything away…suffice it to say, there were times I was laughing aloud at the antics of Stephanie and Lulu.  And that’s just the escape I’m looking for during the hot, sizzling days of summer…