Last night I began reading Michael Connelly’s latest novel The Wrong Side of Goodbye. A well-written book pulls me right in. I can feel it in my gut – this is one of the good ones!
Contrast that with a book I started reading last week, written by an author new to me. The story grabbed my attention initially. After a few chapters it began to slow. Further in, I hit an entire chapter of backstory for one of the characters. It stopped the flow of the story cold. I stopped reading the book.
Connelly knows how to work backstory in gradually without killing the momentum of the story. There’s a constant forward movement. One skill that marks a great story.
I am at a point in my life where I will simply stop reading a book if it doesn’t hold my attention. A delightful poem comes to mind: Naomi Nye’s The Art of Disappearing. It concludes with the lines:
Walk around feeling like a leaf.
Know you could tumble any second.
Then decide what to do with your time.
Some books are not worth my time.