I just finished The Last Song, and the most important thing I can say is, I read every word.
To understand that statement, you have to know what kind of reader I am. When I was a kid, I read everything word for word. I even read the typos because it felt dishonest not to. I never liked to be without a book, preferably a novel, preferably from the mystery or sci-fi genres. I didn’t just devour these books. I savored every word and phrase. It might take me a couple of months to finish one book, but during those months I was happy, lost in that other world. My nose, literally, almost always in a book.
When did it change? I wail to the sky. When did I lose that ability to lose myself in a book? Was it motherhood or was it getting serious about writing my own books? Either one might have caused it, but I imagine it was a combination. After all, between those two, my opportunities for reading are confined to a few minutes before bed (unless I’m working at that time) and in the mornings when I’m brushing my teeth and combing my hair.
I still read when I can, but I read differently now. I usually scan the first chapter or two, then I (gasp) skip to the end. If it looks like a good ending and I’m intrigued by how the writer got there, I go back and start reading. Sometimes I read for a while, scan when the book loses my interest and go back to reading. Sometimes I skip forward and backward. Sometimes I completely lose track of where I was. Then I have to figure out whether the story is worth continuing. After all, I already know how it ended.
How did I read The Last Song? Obviously, as I’ve said before, I was intrigued by how the book came into being. I started out and read the first chapter. Then, realizing I really wanted to know what happened to the main character, I skipped ahead and scanned the last chapter. Yes, I thought, I want to know how they get here. So, I started reading. For the most part, I managed to keep myself on track, only getting impatient a few times and skipping ahead a few pages to find out if what I hoped would happen actually did. And when I finally closed the covers and emerged from that world, I added The Last Song to a pile of books that is a dying breed: Books I have read word for word.
What other books have I read word for word? The Harry Potter series (although I did read the last chapter of book 7 first), Watership Down, Little Women, Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA, Pet Semetary, Wake, and (quite) a few others.
What’s the next book I’m planning to read word for word? Mine. Secrets of the Lotus by Michelle Garren Flye. I’m about halfway through it now in an attempt to make sure I don’t miss any mistakes.
If I weren’t the author, would I read it?