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|Different ways to experience a novel.
Written by Rachel G
(10/21/2009 6:53 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Getting on a roll, penned by Clellie
Clellie, I know exactly what you mean about getting on a roll with a novel, and wanting to read more. Not everyone will agree, but to my way of thinking, the best works of fiction are the page-turners that make you eager to read on and see what happens next. One of the reasons I appreciate JA's novels so much are that they are page-turners, yet at the same time she manages to pack so much into them.
So I agree that the slow pace of a group read can be frustrating. I deal with it by reading other novels at the same time. I must have got through half a dozen at my usual greedy pace while this GR has been going on.
For me a GR is a very different way of experiencing a novel. It is a more disciplined approach which I find rewarding for several reasons.
Ordinarily when I re-read, I tend to focus on the 'good bits' and my favourite passages. A GR forces me to look again at the other parts, where I often find details I had overlooked, and new insights into what is going on.
I also find it helpful to re-experience the way the plot and the characters develop. By the end of a novel, characters have revealed themselves. I know what I think of them, and this tends to colour my response to them when I'm re-reading alone. In a GR I try to forget what I know, so I can watch again as people are taken in, or people turn out to have been concealing their true natures. In this way the story becomes exciting again.
Above all, I like GRs because the slow pace, with everyone focusing on the same chapters together, means that the discussion has greater depth. Topics get more thoroughly explored, many different perspectives appear, and very often find myself revising or adjusting my own opinions.
Clellie, perhaps at some point in the future you will feel that a Group Read is right for you. If and when that happens I am sure you will always be welcome. ;-)
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