Are you a Lazy Reader?

Do you read official documents with relish? Can you be bothered to understand terms and conditions or instruction manuals? Do you enjoy non-fiction books on subjects you have no interest in, but are good for your education? Can you, frankly, be bothered to read a blog?

If you are dyslexic – as I am, or inexperienced at reading, or just plain slothful, you are more than likely a ‘lazy reader’ … like myself. I do not know much about social media, being in the age bracket of using a mobile phone, as a phone, but I am given to understand that short sentences accompanied by eye-catching images is the way to grab those who are ‘lazy readers’ and that anything longer than a couple of sentences will just simply get swiped up.

Forty years ago, I’d tell you it would be impossible for me to write a book. I am a slow reader, can’t spell and just may have a small grasp on grammar and punctuation. However, because I was told to read a chapter of a book every night by my English teacher many years ago, my reading speed has marginally increased, and I am less lazy in reading uninteresting stuff.

For the past five or six years, I have found writing, especially fiction, very rewarding. In fact, I now regard myself as an author, even before my debut novel has been published. Consequently, I attended my first – ever – literary festival. The North Cornwall Book Festival in St Endellion in Cornwall was full of slightly frightening middle-class, middle-aged women with dark glasses perched on their grey hair, accompanied by ‘artistic’ looking men in loud shirts and linen jackets, animatedly chatting loudly about tomes read and famous author’s quotations. All totally out of my depth. I thought, if I got cornered by an intense person, holding a stack of books under their arm, asking my opinion on an author’s ‘writing nuances’, or the ‘journey of a plotline’, instead of stupidly looking blankly back at them, I could always ask, ‘What was their opinion of the Oxford Comma* debate?’ – I lately read an article – on the loo, as one does – about the controversy of the Oxford Comma, surprisingly. Something I would normally not do, being a ‘lazy reader’!

Historical bestselling novelist Kate Mosse was speaking in the main marquee. I had actually read some of her books. My heart sank when she announced she was going to talk about her non-fiction book, ‘An Extra Pair of Hands’, a book about her caring for her mother-in-law, ‘Granny Rose’. My ‘lazy reading’ self thought this was not going to be my kind of book, until she read the first chapter to us. I was captivated. After the talk I bought the book, got it signed and have started to enjoy it already.

To write my books, I have just relied on my wife and my editor to ensure what I write isn’t garbage. I believe it is easy reading. I have not attended writing groups or read about how to write fiction in books. This may become apparent when you read my books! Book reading clubs fill me with horror as there is pressure to read a book everyone else is reading and then comment on the chapter or portion of the book. It takes me ages to read a book, and if it is remotely difficult to read – or worse, just boring – I start on another book. 

My books are – I hope – easy to read, plots are apparent quite early on, with a little suspense for ‘reading momentum’ (Kate Mosse’s words). I believe a lazy reader will enjoy my writing. There are no pages of description, unnecessary sentences explaining a character’s feelings or what a person looks like. 

If you are lucky to be a fast reader, you are extremely fortunate. If it is easy for you to merely glance at a page of print and understand it, you are more than likely not a lazy reader. If you are a ‘lazy reader’, it is more of a challenge to find books that are not a flog to read. I have found that American writers like John Grisham and Lee Childs, of Jack Reacher fame, (who is actually British) and Dan Brown are easy to read (to some extent with Dan Brown). These are ‘commercial writers’, as are British commercial novelists such as Robert Galbraith (J K Rowling) and Jeffrey Archer. Writers such as Patricia Cornwell, Dame Hilary Mantel or Bernard Cornwell (no relation to Patricia) are authors of something called ‘hybrid fiction’, novels that are a cross between high-brow and commercial novelists. If you enjoy forensic crime, blood and gore, or ancient English history, these writers are easy to read, but you may have to read a page a couple of times – not a thing a ‘lazy reader’ likes to do.

  The novels I have written – the first of which, ‘Girl on a Golden Pillow’ – will be released on 2nd November, is, I hope, easy reading. It is ‘commercial’ rather than literary Booker Prize stuff, and a perfect read, I would say, for the ‘lazy reader’.

*An ‘Oxford Comma’ – as I understand it – is the comma that comes after the ‘and’ in a list of things; knife, fork and, spoon, as opposed to knife, fork and spoon. I know – why bother calling it something!

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