A bookstore is like a bar where you go to pick up books; internet bookstores are like online dating services. You browse through the books to find one that catches your eye. When you see one you like, you look at it more closely. You scan it up and down, turn it over and examine its rear. The book doesn’t mind. In fact, the book is yearning for more. This is what it was written for. It is begging, “Pick me! Pick me!”
Satisfied with what you see so far, you look inside. You judge its appearance inside and out. Then you decide to get to know it better. You read the cover blurbs. You check out the contents, browse through the introduction. You’re measuring its personality, knowledge, and communication skills; judging its potential.
If the book passes your examination, you take it out on a date. You begin reading the first chapter. The whole time the book is anticipating that first kiss, wondering if you will take it home with you. Meanwhile, you are analyzing the book’s every move. Going steady with a book is a big commitment. You don’t want to be disappointed.
How do you know if the relationship will work out? Curling up by the fireplace, snuggling in warm covers in bed with a booklight, sneaking a quick page or two in the bathroom. You will share these intimate times with your book. You want to know that the book is Mr. or Mrs. Right for you.
When you look at the cover, you see the book’s handsome or pretty face and stylish suit or dress. As you read, the plot unfolds. The plot is like the book’s body. A great plot is like an attractive body. But is that enough to satisfy your needs? Suspense, engaging and captivating text, these are the hormones that the book sends out to arouse and sustain interest. But will your attraction to the book be purely physical? When the style of the writing shows personality, when the ideas massage your mind, when the writing exudes with passion… are these not the romantic elements that you are looking for in your relationship with your book? Even if the book is not a romance novel ─ even if it is nonfiction ─ would you not prefer a book that was written by an author who was extremely passionate in his or her work?
If the book captures your interest, you read on. If it is suspenseful, you turn the pages rapidly. If the plot thickens, your intrigue builds. And then… eventually… the book reaches its climax. The story ties its loose ends. Your physical attraction to the book wears off. And what remains? If the ideas of the book appealed to you, if the writing evoked passionate emotions from within you, if the book did more than just satisfy your curiosity to end the suspense, then the book leaves an everlasting impression upon you. It changes you. It becomes part of you. Forever.
Yes, the writing can have passion. It can entertain. It can wine and dine you. But the reader can add passion, too. You control the voice you hear in your head, the pace of the read. You can read it with style and zest. You can build your own interest. You can even insert your own ideas between the lines. Yes, the reader can reciprocate the passion that the author put into the book.
A blog, on the other hand, is not a book. It’s more of a tease. As soon as you get into the blog, it’s already over.
Chris McMullen, author of the fictional work, Why Do We Have to Go to School?