The Rhythm of Reading
Posted by Geeky Book Snob
Books hold a rhythm for me, a beat that becomes part of my enjoyment of a story. Words and sentences within the pages of a book have a melody and though it may not be a melody that can be heard by the ear, it is certainly one that can be heard (and felt) nonetheless.
Like a musical note of an arrangement, each word has its place within the story, a place where it makes sense, where it won’t cause dissonance in the fluid telling of the tale. Perhaps that is why writers will go back and cross out a sentence or scratch out a word; it doesn’t fit the melody.
As I read a new book by a new author, I look forward to getting to know their rhythm. They are the composers of the piece and each author has a distinct ‘feel’ to their voice. Some authors write in such a way that their stories have a soft, rocking lullaby type rhythm to them, such as Alice Hoffman and Jodi Picoult. Other authors tell their stories through accented, staccato beats; the language and thoughts breaking off in melodic snippets such as David Maine or Margaret Atwood. Pulsing, dramatic and elongated rhythms are what I hear when I read a good ol’ Stephen King novel.
The more I read (and the more new authors I read), the more I begin to ‘hear’ the different rhythms within the book. This is a large part of why I always read the first page of a book before deciding to buy it. Since the synopsis on the back of a book is rarely ever written by the author themself you certainly can’t determine the rhythm of the book by reading that alone. The first page will usually give me a sense of the rhythm and, if the mood is right and it resonates with me, I will buy the book. Now, I say usually because it has happened where the rhythm gets broken throughout the book. Perhaps the author lost interest in the story, or maybe the author wasn’t certain what they wanted to say. Regardless of the reason, we have all experienced those stories where we become bored, frustrated even at where it is leading us. For me it is the breaking up of the rhythm. The starting and stopping, the wrong notes and flat pitches that lead to the story’s disharmony. It is striking the wrong chords within.
I keep the books of authors that have rhythms that resonate with me. I know their sound, feel and their tone. Like listening to your favourite song when you want to be uplifted, so too do I pick up a well read book, knowing it’s rhythm is exactly what my soul needs.
I love music and I love reading, yet I can’t listen to music while I read. I’ve since come to realize it is because of the rhythms hidden within books. Sometimes they don’t harmonize with the song playing on my stereo and I end up getting pulled out of the story.
My love for reading is multi-layered as it is a quantum experience (to me at least). Energy is all around us, within us, is us and as I’ve said in this blog before; a book chooses us as much as we choose it. This makes sense when you stop to consider the rhythm within a book. If my energy is pulsing out a certain ‘feel’ it is safe to say that a book of the same pulse will attract me to it, lull me in. Perhaps this is why I take my time when I am book shopping.
I don’t know if this will make sense to anyone but me but a book to me isn’t just about the words. The amazing thing about books is that they actually do engage all the senses. Each book has its own taste, feel, look, smell and sound – that is what makes up the magic of books.
About Geeky Book SnobLearning stuff since birth. Happy introvert who likes socializing when she's not busy being an introvert who likes to read.
Posted on October 15, 2012, in General Musings & Thoughts and tagged alice hoffman, author, books, David Maine, Jodi Picoult, magic, Margaret Atwood, melody, rhythm, stephen king. Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.