Monday, November 2, 2009

Traveling Books

woman reading on platform Image courtesy of moriza

I read in a lot of different places:  at work, before bed, while watching TV--basically any time and place I get a chance to.  And one thing I've noticed is that if a book is going to get finished, it has to travel well.

I don't necessarily mean mobility, although a gianormous hardcover can be terrible to lug around (yet another reason to hate long books).  What I mean is, the story being able to capture my attention in different places and at different times of the day.

For example, when I first started I Shot You Babe, I was in my bedroom at home.  It seemed like an okay book, if more than a little silly.  But then I took it to work and I realized I didn't want to read it anymore.  That was it; I was done.  If it had stayed at home, I might have slogged through another 100-ish pages.  That same day I decided I was through with listening to Turn of the Screw on audiobook--I just couldn't take the reader's voice anymore.

This has also become a major problem for me with romance novels.  What seems totally plausible and not the least bit annoying (well, maybe a tiny bit annoying) right before bed suddenly seems unbearable in the light of day after a cup of coffee. 

The books I do manage to finish these days are either ones that I read in one place--like in my bedroom before I go to sleep--or ones that can keep me occupied at work and back home (which ironically has more distractions than work does), and wherever else I go.  I clearly have a very short attention span, so once I've decided I don't want to read a book anymore, it's not very likely I'm going to go back to it.

So what makes a book, er, travelable?  Well, probably all the things that make any book good--great characters and story that keeps the reader guessing.  It seems like short chapters or sub-chapters also help, but I don't think they're necessary.  Sometimes I wonder if my problem with different reading spots ruins some good books for me, though, just because I'm not in the mood at work or at home to read them.  Does that really make them bad?  Or just unreadable for me?

How about you?  Do you travel with your books a lot, or do you read in one place?  Do you find it's hard to keep your attention on a book from one place to another?

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