Why do we read what we read?


Dennis Lehane









Last night, I took a break from my usual duties and picked up my Kindle Fire.  I went through my  inventory of unread titles.

Let me say right up front that I am not a guy who fills his Kindle with free books.  I don’t have an argument with folks who do, but I prefer to have some skin in the game before I start a book. I figure if I have paid for it, I should get around to reading it.

Be that as it may, I saw probably ten books I had purchased in recent months that I either had never started or read just the first few pages.

The first ten pages tell me a lot about a book.  If it doesn’t catch me there, I usually won’t return to it. However, I sometimes start a book, realize it is one that interests me and book mark the last page as a reference point when I make it back to the work.

So what was on my Kindle?  By and large, I found books by Indie authors.

Hugh Howey

This didn’t surprise me.  As I have become familiar with a number of Indie authors, I have developed a curiosity about what they write.  Don’t believe the trash talk about Indie books.  Sure, there are some inferior books in that pile.  Those are the ones by writers just starting out, or by writers who haven’t yet learned how important editing is to a book.  So what?  That’s just one of those things that comes with the new freedom produced by the digital revolution.  The market will weed out the chaff because few people will buy a book that isn’t up to snuff.

But in my pile of Indie books, I found some really great reads.  I also found a recent Dennis Lehane novel.  I am a big fan of Lehane’s work.  When I read some of his prose last night, I realized yet again that, as good as he is, I have seen Indie authors that can match him.

It’s a whole new world in the book business.

Why do we read what we read?

So in trying to answer my own question, I learned first that I read what I read because I have heard about a particular author and want to sample his or her work. Second, I learned that I return to writers whose work I have enjoyed in the past.

How about you?  Why do you read what you read?  Have you tested the work of Indie authors?  How far do you get in a book before you make the decision to keep going or quit?

(Stephen Woodfin is the author of Last One Chosen and other legal thrillers.)


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