I have a problem reading fiction. I had worked my way up from no reading to reading something. And that something could be anything but fiction. I did not think of it as missing anything, except my wife is a voracious fiction reader and she couldn’t register that I couldn’t read fiction — and it had caused the due share of arguments between us.
The second problem, I think it has to do with the (US) publishing industry, is the obsession with “400”. Whether it is a simple idea or the 10-commandments, or an autobiography or a leadership book, it is always around 400 pages. A good majority of them are, and 400 is plus or minus 50, usually plus. If I am a writer, of whatever kind, and had written substance worth 50 pages, and had a compelling proposition for the publisher, I can almost imagine the publisher walking up to me and asking, “Is there a way you can make it longer? 400-ish?”
Well, Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption is proof the publishers are wrong. The novella, the source for the movie by the same name, part of it anyways, is only 80 pages long. And man, did King write a good story or what?
This book officially becomes the first fiction book I finished reading. Not just for the trophy, but reading it passionately, over and over, enjoying the words, language, things they make you imagine and read between the lines. Just the way fiction readers read.
May be this is a start. May be this is a one-off incident, I however think it is the latter. It was hard for me to imagine the characters without Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Clancy Brown and Bob Gunton.