I have noticed over the past several years that it is more rare for me to read new authors. I tend to stick to the authors I know will give me a satisfying read. Mind you, all of them are not best selling authors–many are not, but still I caught myself wondering why. I concluded that it was because life was just too busy, too messy right now and decided that things would probably change when the world settled down.
But a conversation with my daughter recently made me think about it more. My daughter is a fairly avid reader too. But she mentioned that although she and her husband like to read magazines on trips, that it is a rare weekend when she gets to settle down to read them at home. I know that is happening to me too. I page through them with interest, settle on the occasional must read article, and then close them. Often, I will see the same magazine at the dentist or in some waiting room and will not be able to decide if I’ve looked at it before.
Anyway, my take away from this isn’t just, hey isn’t the world just too much right now. My conclusion is that something else has replaced our reading habits. TV has always vied for our off time, and of course movies, but social media is a time suck and our phones are too. No, I don’t mean that we are spending time talking to our friends. Yah for you if you are. What I mean is, we pass a shoe store and think about needing to go there so we look to see if we can find a coupon for it. Or we hear someone talk you about an earthquake in Missouri and we’re googling it and wondering if it has to do with fracking. Or we notice that our running times are down and wonder if that is related to what we’re eating, and we look it up.
So if, as I suspect, we are all reading less, and what we’re reading is just short bites, what is an author to do? It’s going to take more than just e-books to snag readers who are used to quick hits of information on their way to somewhere else. I’m sure that’s why blogs are popular now. But how do we use that with novel length fiction? Suggestions anyone?