As an author, I’m fascinated by the way people read. Is it possible to write a book to suit all reading styles?
Begin at the beginning, go on to the end, then stop, is not for everyone.
For myself, over the years, I’ve had many different reading needs.
Bookworm: I was an avid reader. Every opportunity, I would read from front to back. I remember having an argument with my dad, at the meal table. He read his newspaper, so I read my book. He did not approve, somewhat hypocritically, I felt. I felt sad to finish a good story; the library was my favourite place.
Short and sharp: During my teenage years, magazines were my favourite. I first read The New Scientist when I was sixteen, but soon got into all the popular magazines. Life was busy. Time for avid reading was short. Short articles filled my curiosity in an easy, assessable style.
Reading on the run: As a young mum, my attention span dwindled. I found Readers Digest short stories, filled the gap nicely.
Serious stuff only: As an IT Consultant, my reading time was consumed by technical documents and manuals. Then, favourite magazines filled any free time. I travelled around the UK to visit clients. Long working days meant that reading was mainly for work.
What happened next? Writing about the years, 1909 to 1939. My publications have taken many years to research. I’ve had to read books, articles, documents, and websites, to find out what happened during those years. I became frustrated, if a writer did not clearly define which year they were talking about. A good contents page became my friend. To fit in all the reading required, I developed my strategy for reading.
My reading strategy:
- Reading the bits relevant to me
- Used the contents page to find relevant information
- Followed individual elements through a publication
- You don’t have to read the whole publication
With this in mind, I have designed my book, Betweenwhiles: A family between two wars – -a true story of rebellion against Nazism (Amazon), with a contents page at the back.
Why at the back? So you don’t have to wade through it, the get to the story. The contents page permits you to:
- Use the chapters like short stories, pick and mix how you feel
- Read chapters that relate to specific individuals through the years
- Choose the years/ topics you’re interested in
And I won’t be offended if you don’t read the prologue and the forward.
How do you read it? Let me know, it will help with my next book.