What and how are you reading?

It’s an odd thing, reading. It should be quite simple, but it isn’t. There’s so much going on when you run your eyes over a page and not all of it has to do with what is on the page, or what the writer intended that you take from the page.
For example, I wrote a book called Boy on a Wire. I thought it was quite a simple tale about bullying, loss of faith and heavy metal poisoning, set mainly in a boarding school and a small country town. And yet I have lost count of the number of people who said told me it is tale of a masturbating boy.
In order to help myself understand this reading I ran a word search on the book. Here’s the result:
Rotary – 10
Wank – 8, Wanker – 4, Wanking – 15
Christ – 13, Jesus – 44, Church – 37
Shit – 31, fuck – 22
Salt – 36
Love – 36
Laugh – 60, laughter – 4, laughing – 20
On this evidence, the book is much more a story about Jesus, church and a laugh filled love of salt.
I also ran a word count on my second novel, To the Highlands.
Wank – 7, wanker – 5, wanking – 2
Sweat – 8, Lizard – 36, Sex – 33
Salt – 29
Racist – 23
Hate – 13, Love – 51
Men – 50, Women – 27
White – 69, Black – 49
Pissed – 38, drunk – 13,
Rotary – 5, Rotarian – 4
Sweet potato – 7
Bank Johnny – 14
Shit – 77
Fuck – 157
Laugh – 116, Laughter – 5, laughing – 18
This is a quite a different book with a “shit” and “fuck” blow-out and one with a few more “laughs”, yet roughly the same amount of “laughter” and “laughing”. One reviewer wrote that this book was full of “sweat” and “sex”. Clearly missing the drunkenness, the race issues and the “love”
Fascinating that any book can be read in so many different ways, even by the same reader in different settings, or at different stages of a life.
I have found and ordered a book called The Psychology of Reading and will post again after I have read it, with great care, deliberation, and with as much awareness as I can muster, given I will be reading about the psychology of a process while engaged in that very process.

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