I was lucky enough to meet Richard Ford, author, among other works, of the Frank Bascombe series ( The Sportswriter, Independence Day and The Lay of the Land ) and, most recently, Canada, at the Darien Library about 10 days ago. He turned out to be a fascinating speaker, so as he was signing my copy of his novel, I asked him:
“When you’re reading a new book, how long do you give it before you decide to stop reading it?”
“Ten pages.” Nice smile. “And I think that’s generous.”
“Life’s too short?” I queried.
“Yes,” he agreed. “So bring on the good stuff.”
I mention this not just to name-drop, but also, because those of us writing books ought to know just how much time there is to get your reader invested in your book. And it’s not much.
OK. Back to reading Canada. I’m on page 9.