I am reading 'The Alchemist' by Paulo Coelho, (the book I was embarrassed to admit I hadn't read), and this post is about Reading Comprehension Levels.
At the very basics of reading comprehension, I am enjoying this book. Oh Man! This is a very nice carefully calculated little tale! I'm concerned about the pacing however. Despite being very much rapt into the storytelling techniques applied, I do believe I see the premise up ahead. Of course too, Coelho being at the top of his game sort of cancels out my concern. Here I'm mid-way through the story, and although I already believe I see the premise, I have no idea how the boy's journey is going to wrap up. ß For every reader, and especially for every aspiring writer reading here, this is a golden nugget. While premises can be the same or similar, there truly is only one story (to tell).
Never the less, and at what I'll term as an intermediate level of reading, (the underlying cause of my concern), is that over and over and over, and let's just say very repetitively and repeatedly I am seeing the same bug in nearly every serious book I read.
And do let me intercede here because I never, oh good Lord have mercy, I never try to be complex. I work very hard to uncoil my little knotty thinking. Yet, for sake of a better argument, I'll rub on a study I came across.
Now, I can't recall who did the study, and thus cannot recall the name of the study, but do know about the study, saved now among my mounds and hoards and heaps of paperwork about how thinking is equivalent to... and please, I need a BIG drumroll here... because what I'm about to write might very well open a floodgate. —Thinking is equivalent to exercise. (Long sigh and pause for effect).
Yes, for the great gushing Red Sea and whoever wrote the first novel, I found the study that explained how weight-loss is equated to thinking! Oh man, I never worried about over-thinking, or over-eating ever since. And sorry about this, but further along I promise, if you don't already see it, you're going to come upon a real 'ah ha' moment soon.
At any rate, that bug I mentioned at the front of all of this thinking... and by the way, we are now at the near expert level of reading, where things get real knotty and thorny, the same place where I try real hard to avoid but naturally find myself trolleying over to and plunking deep down inside of, WELP, 'In The Wrong Answer Faster' (by Michael Goodkin), that bug actually sat up on the page. Yes, with its eyes plucked wide open and mouth forming the perfect cigarette circle, it looked directly at me just after it said, "the reason measuring intelligence gets discombobulated, and yes, screwy, is because many equate learning (or authentic intelligence I say) to memory, or memorizing."
Rapidly I got to nodding my head up and down. I didn't have very far to 'think' back. Judge Judy uses one of the most infamous witticisms all the time; "You don't have to have a good memory if you tell the truth."
And so now here we finally arrive at that 'ah ha' moment. Cannot we simply tell simple stories in our complex ways of thinking? Such as in The Alchemist?
I used to deplore those reading comprehension classes, and exams. Why did I have to figure out what these confounding, complex, contradictory writers were writing about? What was with all the long exploratory extrapolating sentences separated by commas upon commas about? Hey! Where's my Dick and Jane books!?! I just want to read Humpty Dumpty!
But you see, there's an important lesson to be learned here. This is why we must be very careful about being overly critical. We could become that writer. And worse, we could all too easily grab a migraine and end up losing a marble as we begin to understand these writers.
And oh, by the way, The Alchemist is a very nobel parable, not breaking any convoluted writing rules at all.
How to Pick Apart Convoluted
'from someone who doesn't know what in the hell they are talking about.'