I took speed reading when I was in the 5th and 6th grades. Eventually, I was reading two hundred words a minute with a 99% comprehension. For a 6th grader that is truly fast reading, not as fast as Dr. Reed on Criminal Minds but fast. That is how I was able to read two or three books in a week during the summer.
Today, I have the whole of the internet for my reading pleasure but I find it doesn't give me nearly the satisfaction that the books I used to read gave me. I have my Kindle and have downloaded all of Georgette Heyer's works that I can find in ebook format, even one that she had cancelled the publishing contract on Beauvalet.
The kinds of books ranged from drama, suspense, western, mystery, historical, romance, and a lot of the classics like Michael Strogoff, Jane Eyre, Tess of the du Bervilles, Madame Bovary, Ivanhoe, Scarlett Pimpernel to name just a few.
The quality was superb. I remained riveted to the pages until the wee hours of the mornings and sometimes I was still reading when the sun rose behind the trees outside my window. Enthralling and gripping are words that can only mildly describe stories like The Count of Monte Christo, and Gone With The Wind. Some might think those stories are far to advanced for a thirteen year old to read, but I do beg to differ on that score.
One only need read my blog Upon Reflection to recognize my disenchantment with most of the books being stacked on bookstore shelves these days. How is it that it is so difficult to acquire an agent, so nearly impossible to get a work published these days and still we consumers are offered things with barely a quarter of the quality of Pride and Prejudice? You do know that some enterprising young author updated that particular work of art, gave it a different name and attached his own to the manuscript sending it in with a kiss on the envelope. He received a note back saying the quality of the work was substandard and the storyline was unrealistic and unbelievable. I shudder.
I think it must be the fault of the consumer. If we would quit buying the unacceptable quality, then perhaps the publishers would get the message that we want more authors like Alexander Dumas to be published. Oh, they are out there. I've read good quality stuff on many blogs around the Net. Who is the next Charlotte Bronte? Where is the next Alistair McLean? I want more P.G. Wodehouse.
Q4You: What was your favorite book and why? And, is there a contemporary author that you think equals the quality of that old book?