Sunday, 9 May 2010

Emma Darwin was talking about

re-reading books on her blog "This Itch of Writing" http://emmadarwin.typepad.com/thisitchofwriting/atom.xml and I mentioned this re-reading of books to someone I know at one of our local libraries.
Her reaction was one of amazement. "Oh, I never read something I have already read. That would be a dreadful waste of time."
"Have you ever watched the same film twice?" I asked.
"Oh yes - but that's different. There's so much more to a film."
"And listened to the same music?"
"Well of course. Don't be silly Cat. Books are different. They're just words."
I looked at her.
"Oh come on Cat! It's easy to write a book - well, not easy perhaps but easier to write a book than make a film or do music. I mean, you just have to sit down and write. You just do it on a computer and edit it and send it off and someone else does all the other bits - you know printing it and stuff. Try making a film and there are masses of people involved and all sorts of things to sort out and music performers have to do yonks and yonks of practice and then get together and, if they record it, there are all sorts of sound technicians and things like that. Writing isn't like that. These days you edit it all on the computer and just have to hand it over. I mean, it's all done. That's why it isn't worth re-reading anything. There's no real work in it."
Oh. I see. Writers do not work. They play.
I would have been less concerned but this person was being absolutely serious - and she works at the library.

15 comments:

Frances said...

Extraordinary.
Perhaps she reads books by, say, Danielle Steele, with their repetitive plots, simple vocabulary and one dimensional characters.

Donna Hosie said...

I am constantly confunded by those friends who never re-read a book. My argument is exactly the same as yours: don't you watch a film more than once? Listen to a piece of music again?

And the librarian's response just makes me want to hurl a book at her head.

(War and Peace, or perhaps the complete Oxford dictionary - hardcover!)

Tony said...

Words fail me.

But then, perhaps that's why I'm not a writer ;)

catdownunder said...

I think the Oxford runs to at least twenty main volumes and three supplements now Donna...should be big enough to throw! :-)
Words fail me too Tony - and I try to write. Perhaps Frances is right. (I have never tried to read Danielle Steele.)

Sheep Rustler said...

Gosh, I frequently reread! In fact I was thinking of posting a list on my blog of books I want to reread this year!

catdownunder said...

Oh yes, please do! I love to know what other people are reading!

Rachel Fenton said...

i can see the logic in it - I mean it isn't as if we can be like Austen ans say we've read every novel written and mean it...there are so many I want to read before I die...however, never re-reading anything would be like making friends and then ignoring them every time you meet them again...plain weird!

andewallscametumblindown said...

Excuse me while I type a novel and send it off to a publisher. I'll be back in an hour. ~Miriam

catdownunder said...

How many novels did you manage to write in my absence Miriam? :-)

Melinda Szymanik said...

Easy!? Easy!!!??? Shouldn't a librarian have more respect for the written word? Arghhh..........

catdownunder said...

I would have thought so Melinda - but some librarians tell me they 'do not have time to read'. I am not sure how they know about the product they are selling!

virtualquilter said...

Why is that woman working in a library?

I can understand librarians not having time to read, but not re-reading a favourite is just like Rachel said ..... ignoring firends when you meet them again.

If this is common amongst librarians perhaps that is why children are not encouraged to read while at school.

Judy B

catdownunder said...

I am not sure Judy - and I won't dare tell you which section she works in the most!

Jenn Ashworth said...

Oh gosh - what a thing to have to listen to. I've come across the attitude before that because we don't (have to) use complicated, expensive or specialist equipment to do what we do, it must be easy. Really gets on my nerves!

catdownunder said...

Funny you should say that Jenn because I have a friend who studied "voice" at the conservatorium - and people always thought she did not need to work at it either!