Creative Writing - Prose

The Three True Book Groups


Regardless of fiction or non-fiction, the plethora of genres populating the literary landscape, I’ve come to a conclusion. It took a while for this idea to dawn on me. I’ve always been a reader of sorts, but since the beginning of the year and even a few months before, I’ve grown in my number of literary pursuits. My pace has quickened, and there’s not as much empty time between reads. In doing so, I’ve thought a lot, and discovered several things. I’d like to share one of these epiphanies and explain it. All books belong to one of three groups.

These groups aren’t dependent upon the reader, but the contents of the groups are. Each reader shares the same three groups though they may refer to them by another name or define them using different words. The conclusion, the destination is the same. The difference is how we get there, and what we encounter once we arrive. I suppose the same is true of films. The same groups, the same feelings, but for our purposes today we’ll be using the book example.

Now, there are three groups regardless of the category and classification. To begin on a positive note, there’s the books that hook us, the page turners. These are the books we don’t want to put down, can’t put down until we finish. They’ve got us hooked, and we want to finish and finish quickly. Not to have it over and done with, but to see how the narrative unfolds and reach the end without delay. A book in this group is more often than not a favorite we love, or has the potential to be if we haven’t finished yet. It all depends upon the ending.

The next group is on the opposite side of the spectrum. These are the books we hate; the books we loathe. Those books where reading each page feels like years have passed. A paragraph in and we begin to fall asleep, or desperately seek distractions, no matter how small or insignificant. We try to fight through, but we can’t. We can either get stressed, get angry, and perhaps if we’re reading it for a for a class force ourselves forward. There’s no shame in saving one’s sanity and raising a white flag. Throw up your hands, throw down the book, and move on to the next literary pursuit in hope it gives a more enjoyable experience.

With group number three, the pendulum has stopped swinging from side to side. It rests in the neutral middle ground, dead center between the two groups previously discussed. We don’t hate these books, but we don’t love them either. We view these in a more favorable light, even liked and enjoyed to a certain extent. These are the books that for whatever reason haven’t hooked us. Many times we aren’t sure if we like them, but we hold no ill will against them. These are the books that take the most time to finish reading. Part of the reason, a good deal of it in fact, is the internal debate of whether we should keep reading.

We read these books and they fail to hook us, to draw us in, to capture our imagination. They don’t anger us. We don’t hate them. We decide to read on in hopes we will get hooked, and that something might spark our interest. As long as the anger and hatred for what we’re reading is absent, we continue to read. Then we reach a point where we assess the situation at hand. If you’re like me, the decision is to read on and finish. Perhaps the ending might make it worthwhile. In reality, at this point I realize I’ve read more than what I have left to read. With books of this nature that fall into this group, are just ok, this is more the rule than the exception. So in this situation, my advice is to persevere. Keep reading. You might like the ending, you might not, at least the time you’ve already put in doesn’t go to waste. You can find something to take away from the experience.

Does anyone agree with me, or have something to add? If nothing else, I hope this gets you thinking. Not only thinking about what you’re reading now, but the books you’ve already read. More than anything, the books to follow.

Copyright © Drew Martin 2016


3 thoughts on “The Three True Book Groups”

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