Monday, October 15, 2018

Reading For Pleasure

As an author I'm obviously very interested in the trend where people say they can no longer read for pleasure because they can't maintain concentration.  Great article in The Guardian that discusses this and relates it to our use of social media and our always on communication tools, which seems to teach us to scan but not to concentrate for very long on what we are reading.

Here was a key paragraph about reading for pleasure:

"One thing that many people who feel they have lost the ability to concentrate mention is that reading a book for pleasure no longer works for them. We have got so used to skim reading for fast access to information that the demand of a more sophisticated vocabulary, a complex plot structure or a novel’s length can be difficult to engage with. Like anything, single-minded attention may need relearning in order to enjoy reading for pleasure again, but close reading in itself can be a route to better concentration. To help that, read from an actual book, not a screen: screens are too reminiscent of skim reading and just turning pages will slow your pace. Read for long enough to engage your interest, at least 30 minutes: engagement in content takes time, but will help you read for longer."

I know there will always be people who read for pleasure and who love books; but those numbers are decreasing.   The ability to concentrate, of course, is more critical than just reading books for pleasure.  This article mentions interruptions and distractions leading to a drop in IQ.

"In 2005, research carried out by Dr Glenn Wilson at London’s Institute of Psychiatry found that persistent interruptions and distractions at work had a profound effect. Those distracted by emails and phone calls saw a 10-point fall in their IQ, twice that found in studies on the impact of smoking marijuana."

Dumber and no ability to concentrate on complex matters; wonder what that will lead to?


The final book of the Muckraker series Murder So Final will be available soon--most likely in November.   Still a few editing steps, but it's close.  In light of the above article I started thinking about these books.  You talk about a challenge, the Murder books maybe an example of a good story that some might find too complex.  Not by design but because of the time frame of the books and the true nature of the story there are lots of characters.  So many that some may find it hard to keep it all sorted out.

I'm in the process of putting together a character list with some brief info on each character--there really are lots of them.  That's not to say the story is confusing, just detailed.  I think these books tell a fast moving story with lots of twists and turns, along with humor and irony; but of course I helped write them.  This character list will be included in the "back of the book' section in Murder So Final.

You should check these books out- I think they are worth the effort.

Saturday, October 6, 2018



The preliminary work for an audiobook of Santa Fe Mojo has started.  This is new to me so each step has an exciting but cautious feel.  When you write a book, or for that matter when you read it--there is a voice in your head telling the story.  This is of course very customize-able.  As the reader you get to hear the voice you want--it fits your impression of the written words describing the characters and the scene.  I guess to me that is the way it should be--you hear the story in the voice that makes sense to you.  I think that is why reading books is more immersive than say watching a movie or TV.  You help construct a key element of the book in your head--the voice. 

Today the market for audiobooks is reaching the same levels as e-books and the audiobook market is projected to grow substantially larger than written books.  Of course some readers will always prefer to "read" rather than "listen".  But as an indie author I can't ignore this growing market.  So soon my first audiobook will be available. 

The process involves selecting a narrator.  And yes, for sure, I'm not doing the narration.  It might take years for me to get a clean reading of one of my books; and then it most likely would be bad.  So the fist step in this process is to hire someone who knows what they are doing and who sounds "right".  Sounds right is of course very subjective.  So this may take awhile.  My guess at this point, this is probably a three month project to have a completed audiobook, but since I'm new at this there could be delays I can't see right now.  I will keep you informed.  I would appreciate any thoughts you have about audiobooks in general or specific things you have liked or disliked.  Thanks.

Those very words may not mean much--but think about a book tour of book stores only on-line with bloggers who write about books.  The tour will last one week and involve 7 blogs with interviews, reviews of the book and more.  I will be giving interviews discussing my books, writing process and future plans--but never leave home.  (easy way to tour).


Next time your in your local library you might request a paperback copy of one of my books.  Libraries quite often honor these requests (there are easy ways for them to order one or a few books) and it would give you a chance to read the paperback version if you have not.  An actual book has a different feel to me than reading the e-book--plus it helps me sell some more books.  Crass commercialization.  Okay, sorry.