Sunday, February 6, 2011

To Skim Or Not Skim? That Is The Question...

I wasn't always fearless when it came to reading romance or eager to explore some of the more sexually intimate nature of each books characters. If I was completely honest, it all kind of shocked me and I remember that first time dropping the book I was reading when I unknowingly stumbled into a scene where it wasn't a "and they made love" but pages of descriptive sex. I although I'm still particular about exactly what kind of things and acts I like to read, I've found my place where I'm comfortable but for a long while there, I had hard time whenever I read my favorite novels - paranormal romance (erotica was too scandalous for me, just the thought of opening one of those books would make me break out in a sweat and start choking) I LOVE romance, the feel and intensity and so I didn't know how I could balance my need for the emotional experience but avoid the parts that made me squirm. An obvious choice (and one I heard most often) was to simply stop reading romance. Can you imagine that? *shudders* That was totally unacceptable so I tried to think of other ways when it hit me - I needed to "KISS" it ... Keep It Simple Silly. Why should I miss out on incredible books when all I needed to do was just "skim" over the parts I didn't want to read. That was the moment I became a skimmer and when my love of romance took off.



So what do I mean by skimming? Nine times out of ten, you can tell when you're about to hit a sex scene. There are definite signs - the couple are starting to get hot and heavy and their clothes are starting to fly everywhere. In the beginning, when I started seeing naked people I would just flip the pages to when I started to see them talk and carry on from there. Sounds good in theory BUT every now and then you come across "sex talkers"... those couples that like to have meaningful conversations while they're bumping and grinding. I'd hit those sections, relax and start getting engrossed again only to get a HUGE eyeful of stuff I'd been trying to avoid. I soon adapted to where I'd hit the talking, do a few "bounces" to test the scene and if they were clothed again, it was on with the story. It takes some practice and there are the odd accidents but after a while, I became pretty good at skimming and some of the anxiety was taken out of it. I was able to explore more books and my bookshelf exploded because suddenly I felt comfortable and confident enough that I could get what I needed.

I'm a big believer that in order to become engrossed in a story and connect with each characters, it's important to feel comfortable with what you're reading. I really wanted to share the idea of skimming because I wondered if there are other readers out there that were holding back, hesitant to dive into romance because they don't want to deal with sex scenes. Granted there are some *blushes* but most books aren't solely sex oriented and have amazingly complex story lines to them. It makes me feel sad that readers might miss out on such great experiences because they hadn't realized they could skim. I really recommend that next time you're looking at trying a romance, find the one that catches your eye and test it. Don't let possible sex scenes stop you and just remember, there are levels to skimming and it's up to you how often and how much you do.

I was a complete skimmer in the beginning. Nothing got past me. Then slowly as I started to fall more in love with the genre and became more comfortable, I lessened my grip and began to try an occasional scene... just out of curiosity. Sometimes I'd hit a scene that melted my eyeballs but most times, it was a positive experience and for me, it enhanced the relationship I was seeing between the couple. Over time, I've become more adventurous and so I skim less and less and it's very rare now that I do, although I did recently read a book that I desperately wished I still practiced skimming because the scenes were so bad I wanted to blow torch my imagination. That's another good reminder too - you can judge how much you might have to skim by whether its romance or erotica. I think it's a safe assumption that erotica will be heavy skimming material because the scenes do get pretty graphic. You're your own best judge and just go with your gut.

Hmm.. what else to share about skimming. Remember that you have total control on how much and how little you read. Once you get the hang of it, can read the signs better and get into the groove of the book, don't forget to have fun. Don't let it stress you out where the focus is on skimming and not on the story. It's all about finding a way for you to be comfortable instead of totally ruling out a genre that may very well be your favorite. That's how it was for me. I'm completely addicted to romance and I came horribly close to turning my back on it. I don't even want to think about where I'd be know because each book has shaped me, opened up my heart and provided hours upon hours of pure joy and entertainment. So before I finish this ramble *giggles* let me leave you with this thought - skim or not skim? That is the question.


Happy reading!!


8 comments:

Cialina at Muggle-Born.net said...

I usually don't skim, but the times I find myself skimming are the times when I just want to read for the story, or depending on where I am. Reading a romance in public? Eh, I usually tend to skim just because I can't enjoy the scenes as I would if I were reading comfortably at home. It also depends on my mood... Great post!

BLHmistress said...

I dont usually skim I like those parts ;) but there were times I just wanted to move ahead I have skimmed like other parts before.

LenaM said...

That is why I read Marcia Lynn McClure. You get the good romance without having to skim.

Book Sake said...

I'm not big on all the sex scenes in romance books either and I do the same....skim along, reading quickly or every few lines to see if anything "important" happens.

Belinda said...

I like knowing I have the option. If I want the steam and explosion then I can devour to my hearts content and I agree with LenaM - one of the reasons I love Marcia McClure books is there are times when I'm in the mood for "swoon" romance. Only times I skim now is when I hit sex scenes where I think it's degrading or where the bile is starting to come up my throat LOL. Doesn't happen often because I try to "screen" a little about what I read (especially as I start delving into erotica)But sometimes things slip through.

I say skim or not skim... as long as you're reading romance it's all good!

Leetid said...

I am the opposite where I love reading the sex scenes and want more. That is the reason why I stopped reading "Chick Lit" as they completely skipped the whole sex act and I felt I was missing out on something so moved to proper romance and erotica books to get my fill!!!

nichole said...

Thank you for this post!! right on the money for me!

Crystal ♥ said...

Great post, I don't usually skim because I like those parts ;) but if they get too repetitive I will skim a bit. Or with world building, if it just gets too long and detailed I will skim a bit there too.