I have always been passionate about books, stories and beautiful writing. Specially good books. Books that tell the truth, the painful truths about humanity. Books that make me cry of sadness and books that make me laugh with joy and happiness. Some books I cannot forget for their stories, some violent and painful, while others astonishing, memorable. Stories that do not always make me happy to be reading, because they reflect the dark and dangerous sides of life and make me want to scream for justice.
Francis Bacon wrote:
“Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider. Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.”
Last week I read the book “The Captain And The Enemy” by Graham Greene. I have had this book in my library for a couple of months and each time I took it to read I put it back. Maybe because of the title or maybe because being familiar with his work I was not in the mood to read another espionage story. I have nothing but admiration for him as a writer, his simple style, his story telling technique and all. I don’t know. I was looking for a book that I can put in my purse so I ended up reading it eventually. It was nothing like his other stories. It didn’t have too many characters nor did it have too many plots. It was a simple tale told in a simplest way about three human beings and their relationship with each other. It was so beautiful that I can only say it left me gasping for breath. The moment I put the book down I wanted to start reading it again.
Most of the books that I have read lately I have not done so without being analytical about them. I remember there was a time in my life when I read a book, any book or story, and in the end I either liked it or not. But that was a very long time ago, it seems.
I remember reading a book not very long ago by yet another bestseller writer and towards the end all I could think of was how to force myself to finish it. And it took me two whole days to read the last fifty something pages.
Forgive me if I don’t mention the author or the book. Suffice it to say that she is one of my favorite writers. I couldn’t even go through the book without criticizing the author for character flaws, or for her exaggerated scenes and overdramatic turn of events. The surprise elements that the author threw here and there in the story were way too made up to give the story plausibility. But the most annoying part for me was when three of the main characters each in turn had fights with their parents and ran away from home. In each case the author showed us page after page how angry their fathers were and how they denounced their daughters and vowed never to see them again. Then somewhere later in the story, the author wrote just one sentence saying “she had already made her peace with her father” for all three of her characters. Come on!
Is it me or am I to believe that good books have become a rare commodity lately. Are we doomed? Is it the writers? Is it the publishers, considering how much money the publishers paid E. L. James for her “Fifty Shades Of Grey”? Or is it the readers?