We have a special guest today! Robert Seymour, author of the humorous fiction novel, Wig Begone (Matador/Troubadour), is here to talk about reading, his favorite pastime!
Why does the reading of books remain so popular today, despite the enormous variety of other entertainment ranging from TV to the latest computer games? It’s quite simple really. We humans aren’t just “flesh and blood” computers. In a book, it’s you the reader who must do the work to create the stimulus; the interpretation of the maker is not imposed on you as it is in a film or TV drama.
A writer may describe a character, but every reader must recreate that character for themselves, and from this point on the story belongs to the individual. In that way, you make your own world and inhabit it in your terms – which isn’t possible in any other media.
Perhaps that’s why the simple possession of books seems to have such a strong emotional appeal. That may be partly due to the decorative effect books have in a room, but is also because a book read and enjoyed becomes an old friend whose presence you will always treasure. You could never feel the same towards a collection of DVDS.
There’s something about the written word too, which lies at the very base of our existence as reasoning human beings. Attempts to replace it by modern film-makers in this visual age, by conveying emotion merely by using facial expressions, is a poor substitute.
So the writing of books should be encouraged. But is it?
Unknown authors, particularly those don’t write within an established genre, find it increasingly hard to get published independently in a world obsessed by profit and self-published authors, regardless of the quality of their work, are often ignored.
Not much help then from the book industry, or the major bookstores, who tend to advertise and display only the output of a favored few.
But since the profusion of blogs, things have changed a lot – and very much for the better. Now, every writer has access to a huge potential market and a real chance of getting noticed.
Moreover, with the continuing development of e-books, the market is bound to expand even further as ultimately publishing won’t even involve the printing of books in bulk.
But when and if that happens, something will be irretrievably lost. A handset, containing hundreds of downloads lying on a table next to a cell phone, can’t possibly compare with colorful shelves bursting with books of every size and description.
Worse still will be the loss of all those old familiar friends as well. A writer, such as myself, will feel it even more acutely. No longer will I be able to look up and see the works of those who have preceded me (probably much more successfully) and feel uplifted.
There’s another sobering thought too. If the electricity were ever to founder in some future catastrophe, then your e-book handset would remain just that – a mere handset.
Perhaps it’s as well to leave your bookshelves full for the time being and to keep your garage stocked up too – a life without books simply wouldn’t be worth living!
You can visit Robert’s blog at http://courtleyprocedures.wordpress.com to find out more about his new book, Wig Begone!