Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What Did You Learn From the Last Book You Read?

I’ve been on a reading binge the past few weeks. I leaped—unknowingly—into a five-book series. I say unknowingly because I bought the last book first. Standing in the WalMart book area, a romantic suspense grabbed my attention. I read the blurb and the first page and was immediately hooked. Only after I got home did I realize it was the last book in the series. Yeah, yeah, I know they say all these series books stand alone, but if you believe that, I have some real estate in . . .

I read the book, googled the author and I found the other four books. For a week or so I did little more than read and study.

Funny what you can learn when you read five books in a series, one right after another. First, authors have their favorite phrases and boy, do they overuse them! They probably don’t even realize it. That’s something we should all be conscious of—smiles pulling at lips, juices pooling at the back of his throat {blahhhhh}, raking fingers through hair. If we use those phrases too often they become annoying to the reader. (And sometimes a little sickening).

This series was about siblings that were turned over to the state when dad killed mom and then himself. Oldest brother tried to keep the family together, but of course, he couldn’t. As an adult, he hired a detective to locate his brothers and sisters. My kind of stories. Unfortunately, I didn’t care for Book 2—at all, but I forced myself to read it because the detective hired to locate these brothers and sisters was …. Yummy. And he turned out to be the hero in the last book… the one I read first. :)

I’m amazed when authors can write continuing stories and keep the facts straight. Examples: Sara’s eyes are blue in each book. Kathy was five-four in book one and is still five-four in book five. Jake drove a Tundra in book three and actually sold it in book four. I made these examples up but that's the sort of thing I'm talking about. It takes wonderful organization to pull that off. I enjoyed the way all these siblings found their way into all the books—one way or another.

Another author has captured my attention. Her books are called romantic suspense but I believe I’d label them thrillers. If you can get past the graphic sex and use of profanity, she’s quite the storyteller. I skip a lot in her books. In fact, I skip everything that doesn't move her story along--that includes foul language and sex. Her ability to keep back story at a minimum, dropping it in here and there as if it’s a dash of salt or a hint of flavoring has been a real eye-opener for me. And her plotting is great.

So… now you know what I'm doing. Reading and studying, and enjoying every minute of it.

Tip for the day: don’t get so busy writing or marketing or cleaning house that you give up reading.

Now tell me: what did you learn from the last book you read?


Carole said...

First of all, I agree 100 percent with the annoying phrases. You read them the first time and think "Brilliant imagery." You read them the fourth time and you think, "Where was the editor."

I like a lot of different books but I, like you, skip the sex and swearing as I don't think it moves the story along.

The last book I read was 61 hours by Lee Child. I love the Jack Reacher character but thought this was his sloppiest writing. I think after you make a boatload of money your editor must take the day off.

Jess said...

Thanks for popping in, Carole. I haven't read any Lee Child but I have a friend who's a true fan.

There are so many wonderful authors out there, I get frustrated that I don't know them all. :)

Hey, thanks for following.