Before coming here I rarely read books. I didn’t make the time, or if I had time, I turned on Netflix. I also had little
interest in fiction, feeling that if I was going to spend time reading, I should be learning. However, we watch TV
and learn little to nothing. I regularly choose music over podcasts, that is, when I have access to podcasts. You
never, literally never, hear anyone say “yeah, music is great but I prefer to not relish in it so I can continue to
learn. Therefore, I only listen to podcasts.”
Roughly nine or ten months ago I came to terms with an awareness that as rewarding as it can be to take in
knowledge, it can be equally as enjoyable, and sometimes more so, to wind down with a good fiction book.
Especially now that I’m appreciating writing as an art form and not solely a means of transmitting information.
When you read only non-fiction you miss some of the skill, nuance, and phrasing associated with fine writing.
I recently read Lisa Gardner’s Book “One Step Too Close.” She’s an award winning, New York Times Best
Selling, author. Very Fancy. It was a good enough book. Five friends head into the woods for a backpacking trip
and wouldn’t you know it, things go awry, the plot twists, and the story line gains clarity right through to the last
pages. It reminded me of every other fiction book I read in quarantine thirteen months ago, except I can more
closely relate to this story than that of husband and wife mortician’s playing a role in an attack on an oil
processing facility. That didn’t make “One Step Too Close” any more enticing for me to read, but it did get me
thinking. I have a prediction for a direction these Michael Conway, James Patterson, John Grisham, Stuart
Woods murder-mystery/suspense/thriller novels may head and it’s going to happen sooner than we think.
Artificial Intelligence software will trove through tens of thousands of these stories, discovering commonalities
between theme, plot twists, emotion, and character development to create a foundational structure around which
they are written. AI will also sift through all of the personal information we have so gladly, albeit unwittingly,
handed over in exchange for free-email, click-bait news articles, and hilarious memes. Social media accounts,
health records, hotel reservations, flight data, personal emails, text messages, search histories and more to
garner a clearer picture of you than likely even your significant other has in terms of fears, hopes, attention
drivers, and what draws on your empathy. What location would the story take place in? What types of
characters, what personalities, what strengths and weaknesses do they have? How do they relate to one
another, communicate, argue, and make peace? Does the villain win, suffer a devastating loss or narrowly
Books will be custom ‘written’ specifically for you. “The best book I ever read, I was entranced the whole time”
they’ll say, but the review will be meaningless to others. The challenge is going to lie in marketing because
people are more likely to justify buying a book, and spending the time reading it, when they know others have
done the same. It’s why so many books have New York Times Bestseller, New York Times #1 Author, Oprah
Winfrey Book Club, New York Times Top Ten List on the jacket cover. Then again, it’s AI, so it will figure out a
solution to this conundrum on it’s own. If it knows how to write for you, it will know how to market to you.