I Am Too Impatient For Paid Reviews On My Blog.
As I get older I find myself growing more and more impatient. The patience for which I was once famed throughout the land has almost disappeared in the depths of time. Nowadays if I find someone or something boring me or trying my patience I just move away immediately and however rude it may be to disappear like that suddenly, I guess it’s still kinder than telling them directly “you are such a damn bore I can’t abide you anymore”. And this is not only for people who bore me, mostly online bores who start pinging me as soon as I come to the ‘net, for with such people you can just shut down the chat option to show them (subtly/directly- it matters not which) that I am not available to chat anymore and I have more important things to do in the limited few minutes (strictly) that I allow myself to spend on the ‘net every day (trying to control my ‘net addiction). It’s a matter of priorities, see.
This kind of general impatience has also invaded one of my favorite hobbies – reading books. Time was when I would devour with rapt attention every piece of paper which passed through my hands. Now, on the contrary I find myself abandoning whole books read half way through- because they just don’t retain my interest any longer. And you know what? Abandoning a story halfway gives a deep sense of dissatisfaction- the kind of thing to which you can only compare pulling out halfway through intercourse – which leaves you irritable, sore and vaguely dissatisfied with life all the next day for having cheated you out of the orgasmic release which you feel you deserve after all your hard work at foreplay.
And that’s exactly how I feel – cheated – whenever I happen to start reading another of these worthless new-gen books which are hyped to high heaven and then when I finally find myself reading one I find that turning a page turns into a difficult decision by itself as it gives rise to questions like should I? Should I really? I mean I know what’s going to happen in the next page and for that matter in the next two hundred or so pages. So should I put myself through all this torture of plowing through badly written pages and pages of boring stuff just because I spent hard-earned money on buying this book?
Come to think of it it’s the ultimate irony- paying good money just to get yourself tortured. To add to the dilemma there is the strong temptation to give in and abandon the book halfway and unread, to throw it away as a lost cause and write it down to experience and never again listen to the hype and hoopla of paid reviews in mass media and buy in an author, any author who doesn’t fit my sensibilities or my genre.Rather than throw good money down the trash like that, I would rather read some tried and tested favorites again and again (and again and again) like the mockingbird or moby dick (call me Ishmael anyone?) or the bachelor of arts and Mr.Sampath, the printer of Malgudi- beautifully written books which draw me deep into the story with fascinating narration and makes me want to turn those pages even if I know it all by heart.
Now if you think I only read classics and dead authors you are far out wrong. I really am not one of those hide bound types who swear by everything that’s classic and say nothing new comes close to the dead and gone. I do read and enjoy my share of bestsellers too – people like Le Carre and Clive Cussler for a choice and even Chetan Bhagat who is an acquired taste. And I do hate the old hypes too- Ayn Rand is a pet peeve and one over-hyped writer in my opinion. I don’t like her politics and I certainly don’t like her books and I exit fast whenever the fan boys start talking about the Fountainhead and its cult of individualism. In fact I would put Aldous Huxley many notches above her when it comes to writing about rugged individualism although he camouflages commentary on current issues as sci-fi.
So I guess I have set tastes and it’s too late in the day to change them. Which makes it all the more a piquant situation for me when people who read my blog –publishers, authors and blog groups- mail me their newly published books and ask for reviews on my blog. I would love to be polite and give them all a decent review (after all some of them are on my face book friends list). Honestly, I would love to. For I know how difficult it is to sit down and write a novel and then beg borrow steal to publish it. But unfortunately the only way I can review the book is if I have read it, right? And for that to happen, the book has to be a halfway interesting read. If I find it difficult to plow through pages and pages of boring text, I honestly don’t have the patience to complete the entire book. And writing a review in such a case becomes impossible. It would be intellectual dishonesty. The most I can do is not to write a negative review on my blog about how difficult I found it to go past the first 15 pages of the book. So for people who have sent me your books and find no review on my blog- be assured that I am on your side and I will definitely review your next book if I can only finish it. So get writing ASAP on your next book, ok?
P.S. And I wish more people would think like me- if you don’t like a book (or a movie or an art), either don’t buy it, look at it, read it or even if you do- just throw it away and be peace. Why agitate to have it banned or ask for censorship- it doesn’t make sense does it?