Changing as a Reader because of…

Technology. Let me explain.

One of the students that I work with is singing here, and seriously it’s among the top 10 best renditions of the Star Spangled Banner. After listening to more of her music, I got to thinking about all the talented souls out there. Most of which I can find by just tapping an app on my phone. Technology is moving so fast and we are changing with it. I know I’ve been affected, for sure. From the way I communicate to what I find entertaining. Is it still true that 55% of communication is through body language? Social media’s making me reevaluate this fact. But I’m just going to share how technology has changed me as a reader.

I saw Les Miserables last year and loved it so much I dragged my husband out to see it with me. I bribed him with the whole Hugh Jackman’s in it sells strategy. Anyway, I couldn’t wait to read the book; I knew it was good. The movie showed great promise for a remarkable read.

Well…so, I thought. Nothing against the novel, I don’t bash books or anyone’s work–ever. But reading Les Miserables taught me something about myself. By the time I got to page 20, I was done. Unless I’m reading a science fiction or fantasy book where I’m introduced to a world that I can’t Google, I have very little patience for overly descriptive writing. As a kid, I enjoyed this style, probably because I grew up in a small college town where anything different was amazing. But now, I just don’t want to take the time—even if the writing is exquisite. Time is something I value–because once it’s gone–that’s it–it’s gone.

I know I’m not alone—the proof is technology. Isn’t that the appeal? Technology has allowed us to connect easily, get to places faster, and find answers to just about anything. If I’m reading a contemporary novel I tend to bore easily if it’s too descriptive. I mean, what picture is the author creating that I haven’t seen? With the help of the internet there are very few images that are foreign to me (However with science fiction and fantasy, being overly descriptive is helpful).:)

As of late, I’ve considered the way technology has changed my taste as a reader. Being pulled into the story right away is what keeps me reading. It’s what all those literary agents talk about when they say, “hook.” It’s so true and I don’t always like that because there are probably wonderful books that aren’t given a chance because the reader wasn’t hooked by the first page. Trust me, I talk to college students all the time and they said that’s how they decided on a book. But who can blame them? With the little time everyone feels they have and all the options available when it comes to entertainment, why should they bother reading a book that doesn’t grab them immediately?

I wonder about the books that are classics. Ten years from now, will it stand out at all as technology advances? It reminds me of watching old movies, the ones that my grandmother loved. I find myself struggling to get through them now because it feels slow. I stare at the screen anxious for something to happen–a flash, a crash an explosion–something.  Maybe we’re past the times where writers can work on books for a decade. As technology evolves and the entertainment options increase, I fear that someone’s book can become irrelevant before publication. Oh boy! I hope not. No matter the technology, a good story will always be just that…a good story.

Has technology changed your reading interests?  With so many options for entertainment, how do you make sure that your work stands out?


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