Oh, Horror! (Booking Through Thursday) + Question from a Reader

First of all–happy NaNoWriMo & good luck to all who are participating! I’d be with you if my baby’s due date weren’t smack dab in the middle of the month.

This week’s meme:

What with yesterday being Halloween, and all . . . do you read horror? Stories of things that go bump in the night and keep you from sleeping?

I do like a good scare, though I much prefer the Gothic kind of horror to any other kind. My love for Stephen King has been well documented, but I’ve never been able to muster up any love for Peter Straub, his erstwhile collaborator. And forget about the really really scary stuff like Clive Barker–definitely not for me. The horror novels I’ve enjoyed this year were The House Next Door by Anne Rivers Siddons and The Harrowing by Alexandra Sokoloff. Anything more intense than that and I’m done for.

Reader Carole emailed me to ask:

I discovered your blog following a series of blog from “The Golden Road to Samarqand” Amira’s blog to “Book Nut” Melissa’s blog. This is a question from a complete stranger to you (me). But If you don’t mind answering I would like to know: is it enjoyable to speed-read? It probably sounds like a dump, or worse, a loaded question but I just wonder.

Being able to read quickly has brought a lot of joy into my life, because I’m able to read so many books! If I fall in love with an author, there’s not much stopping me from diving into their entire oeuvre. I can follow my passions with abandon, and don’t have to worry about how I’m spending my reading time. The next book is always close at hand.

However, it is not enjoyable to skim, which is what I have to do when I need to read a long book for a quick deadline for work (unless the book or manuscript is really terrible). For example, a few years ago I had to cover the 800+ word manuscript for Scott Lynch’s The Lies of Locke Lamora overnight. I got the document at 5pm, and had to have a detailed synopsis plus a full report by 11 am the next day. I had a day job at the time so that meant getting it done before I went to bed.

Now, The Lies of Locke Lamora is what you might call a “cracking good read” in a genre that I adore. It was so hard to keep moving, to remind myself to glean each page for the information I needed to write my synopsis. And at the end of every chapter I had to stop and jot down some brief notes about what happened in the plot. It’s not the way I would’ve chosen to read this book. Even so, I retained almost as much of the book as if I’d read it “for real.” I’ve said before that I think I have something akin to a photographic memory when it comes to stories.

Anyway, thanks for writing, Carole, and happy reading!

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