Do we really anticipate the moves of the characters while we are reading a novel? Or, putting this question in a more straightforward manner, do we really keep guessing while we go through a novel? Well, in most of the cases, the answer will be yes – yes, we always keep our heads on and thinking what is going to be the next move by certain characters and we cannot control this movement of our minds. This is but quite usual and normal as well as the signs of a healthy mind which can be proactive even when knowing that the things are out of control and there cannot be any direct or indirect interference possible. Are these signs good for an enthusiastic reader? Should readers be proactive? Will they be spoiling the reading pleasure with this? Or they might be adding some extra spice to their reading?
Well, there might be several connotations of the term ‘proactive reader’. However, the most appropriate one and the most suitable one should be, we all would agree, a reader who keeps anticipating the moves or the upcoming actions committed or thought be characters in a fiction. (We assume that we are discussing fiction.) Are you a proactive reader? I clearly guess that more than 90% of people who read seriously must be proactive readers. Even I am one! You must be one if you are reading this article right now. The question is – is being a proactive reader good or bad for the reading pleasure?
The answer to this question purely depends on the thinking of an individual. When we watch a movie, our mind is quite busy connecting the dots and thinking about possible outcomes. Does that affect the effect of the movie? I guess no! When we are right, we boast of our guess work and when we are proven wrong by the director, mostly in the case of Nolan movies, we just say – the movie was full of suspense and twists! That should be the case with the books as well! It depends also on the factor that how much you actually enjoy reading a book. If you really like a book and keep reading it until you finish, your being proactive might actually help you keeping your interest levels up throughout the book! This might also be said the win of the writer as he or she kept you involved in the fiction actively. Give the writers their due and you can be involved. (Like we are often involved when we are reading some detective fiction – who could be the murderer?)
As for the harm of being a proactive reader, I can see none! It’s always better to be a proactive reader than being a dead-cold one which we often are while reading our academic books! It shows our callousness towards the works we are reading and also suggests that we are not interested in reading the work anymore… so, when you think that you are just consuming the text without being involved, you become a dead-cold text-devourer only. And that is the apparent sign that the book remained no more interesting for the reader!
To conclude, if next time you are being proactive, no worries! Just enjoy the faculty of your mind and think with the characters and if possible, with the writer as well! Be proactive – be indulged – be alive while you read!
by a TBB expert contributor