Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Quality of reading matter.

Harry Mount starts his column in The Telegraph today...

Do you ever start talking to an incredibly boring person at a party and say to yourself, after five minutes: "Well, he's incredibly boring, but I'll talk to him for another 30 hours. He's bound to get better." Or, when you've finished with a newspaper you've enjoyed, do you ever put it on a shelf on prominent display so that you can admire it from a distance and never read it again?

No? Well, why do so many people do the same with books? I've lost count of the number of people I've met on holiday who are 100 pages into a book, still hoping it'll warm up.

...OK, so Harry's column goes on and he does have some points that I agree with. Some people do uphold undue reverence for books that should be throwaway items, just like newspapers. I think that people should set their own margins and not be afraid to follow them. With television I have a 15 minute rule, if the programme does not exceed my quality threshold within the first 15 minutes then I abort the programme. It is good for people to do the same with books and if it is rubbish then throw the book away. Your life is too valuable to waste reading rubbish books. However, caution should be made before you buy a book and if you choose wisely you will not buy a rubbish book. I hope that most book readers give could thought and research before they make the purchase and do not risk wasting both time and money. I have never been disappointed in the books I have purchased but I firmly believe that a fool and his money are easily parted. Choose your reading matter well, with good quality writing and subject material and you will not be disappointed but enlightened by your reading experience. If I did make a bad purchase, I would not waste my time after the first 10 pages, I would simply bin the book, put it down to experience and never buy a book by the same author again. The irony of Harry Mount's column is that he does not appear to recognize that the same rules apply to newspapers. I have switched my daily newspaper from the Independent to the Telegraph purely because of what quality of writing I was getting for my 70p. Readers can ditch their newspapers tomorrow if he and other journalists do not deliver the goods. The Telegraph is not brilliant every day and if it's quality slips then I could switch my reading quota very easily to paperback books. Watch out Harry, there are plenty of good quality authors out there who I could spend my reading time with and you could be out of a job mate. I have a book on the go at the moment and this guy can write far, far better than you mate.

So newspaper editors, if you do not excite and ring your readers' bells every day then they may become paperback readers and abandon your inconsistent quality newspapers.
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