Yesterday, Gizmo Guy and I went to the library to return a research book. While we were there, we spotted Robert B. Parker’s latest Jesse Stone novel – Stranger in Paradise. Now, both GG and I like Parker’s spare style – he uses the minimum amount of words yet the reader is drawn into the world he’s created, and feel like the characters are people they know or at least could relate to.
So we took it over to the counter to check it out. Which is where the library informed us it was a ‘Fast Read’ meaning that instead of the usual three week loan time, you only got to keep this one a week. Yeah. 7 Days instead of 21. Like it’s a new-release video at Blockbuster.
It’s 293 pages, and the font’s slightly bigger than most (which with GG’s and my trifocals comes in really handy) but 7 days? So I turned to GG and said, “Can you read it in that time?”
Now, I meant no disrespect to him at all – I am not implying he’s dumb. You see, where I stay home and can read a complete novel in an afternoon, GG works. Full time. And has a 90 minute commute each way to work. Which means his available time to read is much more limited than mine, usually he manages to read only a couple pages a day.
The last book I took out – David Baldacci’s The Camel Club (approximately the same size, though with denser text) Gizmo Guy finished on the very day it was due back at the library. 21 days later. (I never did get to read it — I have to promise not to read his books while he’s reading them since I have an annoying tendency to lose his place.)
So on behalf of Gizmo Guy, and other people who have full-time jobs and don’t have full days to immerse themselves in reading the way I do, I have to say I’m a little miffed at the library’s ‘fast read’ policy. Are they saying it’s an ‘easy-to-read’ book – like a kiddies’ primer? That makes me shudder that such labels could be applied. Are they trying to lessen the line on a book they think might have a queue on a reserve list? Or have people forgotten that not everyone reads at the same rate? Are we so inundated by the fast-in, fast-out video market we’ve forgotten what it’s like to sit down to savor a book and read s-l-o-w-l-y?