The (over?) critical eye…
Today I was discussing a manuscript with Lara (our Managing Editor). She’s read it all whereas I’m only a hundred pages into it, so far, but we were exchanging a few views. And in doing so it struck me how my attitude to a book changes when I’m not simply reading it for pleasure. I mentioned a few things that bothered me about the manuscript, but then, when probed, immediately found myself questioning whether these things really would have bothered me if I’d simply chosen the book in a bookstore as my next tube/beach read. Would I have been so critical? Would I really have found those over-convulted paragraphs annoying or would I have skimmed over them and moved on? Would I actually have been so “conscious” about what I was reading?
There are plenty of books out there that I have thoroughly enjoyed, whilst being by no means perfect. Books where I fell in love with the characters even if the plot was mundane; others that took ages to get going before hooking me in completely; and ones which would probably have been uninspiring had I read them on another day, when I hadn’t been in that particular place, in that particular mood.
But I think there is something about reading a manuscript that leads me to want it to be perfect on all counts. Perhaps it’s because it’s so new and undiscovered, with that potential to be everything you want a book to be. But it makes it that much harder to just lie back and enjoy it for its merits. So, I wonder – is that extra critical eye really a much-needed filter or does it simply get in the way of what is intrinsically a very good read?
Chiara Priorelli, Publicity Manager