I’ve always been an avid reader. Even as a small child there was nothing I liked better than curling up with a good book.
Some of my favorite books have always been those by Raymond E. Feist. These books are set in the world of Midkemia and revolve around the events of that world.
The primary character for the entire series is a magician named Pug. However, he isn’t the only character, and we get the opportunity to meet many inhabitants of Midkemia througout the series. The stories often have several plot lines running simultaneously, and it’s necessary to keep up with a number of characters at a time. This is one of the things that makes the series great. It isn’t just following along behind one person for an untold number of books. The world and the stories sre rich and diverse, at least in the beginning.
Books now aren’t written this way, which is one reason I spend more time re-reading my favorites than purchasing new ones. Books now are written for people with a short attention span who don’t want to put the time into understanding a complex story. Some of them simply don’t have the time, but I often wonder if, for others, it’s simply a matter of not wanting to bother. We have TV and the internet, after all, so why would we take the time to get to know an entire world’s worth of people, especially if we have to think while doing it?
I get it. I really do. I myself work almost fifty hours a week, have children to care for, a house to run, plus I’m trying to create my own world and populate it. That makes for a lot of hours and not a lot of free time. Still, though, when I sit down to read I want something with depth. I want a world I can dive into and forget about all the responsibilities, a place to unwind. I want the character interactions and conflicts, the subplots, the hints and innuendo – something complex that I have to think about. I don’t want a book I can read in the time it takes to watch your average TV show; I have Netflix for that.
So my question today is…are we killing our stories? Are we insisting that they be something we can consume during our drive to work or while taking our daily bowel movement rather than wanting a tale we can dedicate our time to and get something meaningful out of in return? Are we even able to get something more than a momentary diversion from our books? Sometimes I wonder, especially when even my favorite authors, those whose stories have kept my attention for years, have fallen into this trap and now only give me the surface, the bare bones of the story, instead of allowing me to dive into a world with depth and dimension. Sure, I still support these authors, and I still enjoy their books to a lesser degree, but I miss the older books and the hours of enjoyment they brought.