I'm a slow reader. Always have been. I even once checked out a book from the library about learning how to speed read, but I couldn't get through the whole thing before it was due back. As a guy who actually enjoys reading a good book, not to mention trying to write a good book, it is a problem.
There are, of course, the typical problems with getting through a book. Finding time, for one. It is so easy to plop down in front of the television and get an entire story visually fed to you in two hours. That same story, in book form, takes, oh, about twenty hours.
Back in college, I had a literature class that involved reading one book every week, including writing a paper. You know how many of those books I actually finished? One. (At least, I'm pretty sure I finished it.)
The side benefit to being a slow reader, however, is that I'm a pretty good judge as to what is a good book. Not that there aren't plenty of good books I don't read (or finish). But, if there is a book that I actually read and finish from cover to cover, typically others will like it as well. Granted, I have no real way to test this theory, aside from a small samplings of friends. In fact, what I'm saying might be totally arrogant on my part, and that I can't tell a classic from a catastrophe. But this is my blog, and I can say what I want!
Anyhow, I was recently saddened when I found out that of the top 100 books according to some Important Publication That Rates Things Like This, I had only read three. Three! How pathetic! For a fleeting moment, I thought I had read four, only to recall that I had read the script to the stage play version of the story, not the actual book upon which the stage play was based.
So, I want to change that. Uh. Not the stage play, nor the book upon which the play was based. I want to improve my score.
But I had a horrible revelation that in order to do that, I would have to actually read some of the books on that list. And I just don't have the time for that!
But I came up with a solution. Since I'm such a great judge of books (refer to paragraph 5), rather than trying to read from the list...all I have to do is convince the Important Publication That Rates Things Like This that their list is wrong. And then, I will simply tell them what books should be on their list. So, without having to read another word from another book, I might be able to up my score from three out of a hundred to, say, thirty out of a hundred.
And here are some of my suggested titles:
- Encyclopedia Brown: Boy Detective...I mean, who doesn't love a good mystery. Right? And if they include the first book, perhaps they can include more of the books!
- Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing...Judy Blume is a mainstay of American pop culture. How could one of her books not be on the list?
- Dragonlance Chronicles...I was a little leery about including this one. After all, it is a trilogy. And a trilogy of three relatively long books. Not really ideal reading material for the slow readers of the country. But, I realized I really needed to up my average word count, so I decided to keep it!
- Fox in Sox...Oh, you laugh. But, come on. Really. How can Dr. Seuss not be included? And on top of that, of all his books, this one is most definitely the most challenging. Have you ever read through the entire book out loud without making a mistake?
- and the truly classic, Choose Your Own Adventure series...Honestly, I don't care which book from the series. Personally, I think as long as you read at least one book from the series, and you actually played out each and every possible ending, you deserve credit. Don't you?
Slow readers, unite!