A mixture of romance, work and life left to simmer on a weak flame.

"Love - a wildly misunderstood although highly desirable malfunction of the heart which weakens the brain, causes eyes to sparkle, cheeks to glow, blood pressure to rise and the lips to pucker."--Unknown.

"I learned long ago that being Lewis Carrol was infinitely more exciting than being Alice."--Joyce Carol Oates

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Monday, May 01, 2006

Why do you care?


Avid Reader put up a post that got me thinking, mainly because I committed this act myself last week:

“This topic sort of relates to my reader’s pet peeves list a couple of years ago…I made a list and on that list, I said that readers seem to need or crave some type of validation of their reading choices/tastes. As if you really care that I don’t like Catherine Coulter or that I like Diana Gabaldon. Readers, asking themselves: Why does everyone like her but me? Is there something wrong with me if I don’t like -enter any author’s name here. And the dreaded question: is it only me?

My question to you: why do you care? Why does it bother you? I’m just curious..."

Good question.

I am guilty of this. Last week I posted that I read Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase and didn’t like it and didn’t ‘get it’. I also made the comments that “something must be wrong with me” and “I must be wired wrong.” After not liking LoS, I attempted to read Lord Perfect but couldn’t finish the book it was so awful. With the promise of trying it again later, mind you.

Why?

I decided that my response was going to take some soul searching and since I have a habit of being long winded, I didn’t feel this was appropriate for Avid’s comment section. Hopefully, she will read it here.

There are people in this world who don’t give a crap what others think. There are others who need only mild validation, often reveling in their rare ‘I pissed you off’ glory. And then there are those who can not live without knowing they are fish swimming with the school. I fall somewhere in the middle. After years of teaching I have developed quite a thick skin and therefore no longer feel the need to be liked and accepted by everyone. But sometimes, it is a nice feeling.

We (in the sense of bloggers I communicate with) are a reading community. We discuss the books we have read, our likes and dislikes about said books, and components to the genre that interest us. If we do not care what others think, then why are we here? It is a sharing of thoughts, a meeting of the minds, so to speak. If you do not care, should others? If you do not care, should you share your thoughts? If you do not care…

I care. I care what others think about books, the genre, and my interests in those two things. I care if I don’t share an opinion with the many readers I associate with. Why? Ah, but that it is the question, is it not? I care because the author made a connection with that reader that they didn’t make with me. Do I feel less of a person for it? No. But I do ultimately feel like I am missing out…perhaps on a great friendship (with the author/book). So I am interested. I care. I want to know what they saw in a particular work or author that I somehow missed. I want to be part of the party!

Avid also said:

"I think that’s part of the problem right there: afraid of standing alone. In life, there’s always the crowd, the clique, the cool people who seem to think they’re better or that what they read or say or do is better. You’d be thinking that of yourself, I wouldn’t be. Your reading tastes is what defines you and nobody else. So what if you love Cassie Edwards and most of the world doesn’t - you like her and that’s all that should matter."

Now, please note that I took her question from a different point of view. I don't feel the need to defend those authors I like that others don't, but I am interested in studying why I don't like authors that others do. Was it the characterization? The dialogue? What made a 'click' for them that just fizzled for me? It is not that I think any less of myself or them, it is simply a curiosity as to the different appeals a text can make to readers. Also, isn't this beneficial to the writers? Our blogs, our opinions, are an amazing insight into the readers themselves that writers didn't have 15-20 years ago. It is an opportunity to have a vast amount of feedback on your writing. I would think that would be priceless, but I digress.


One word, a paragraph, a scene, even, can be the one factor that totally turns you on or off to a book. For example: I thought he was being an ass and dropped the book immediately…she thought he was just being a typical alpha male and fell in love. Difference of opinions. Different views on the book. And I care because I want to. Because I want to discuss our different viewpoints on the matter. Analyze where the other is coming from. Because if I didn’t care, why would I be here to begin with?

Avid went on to say:

"There is no universal appeal in anything. As a reader, I’ve never really been a fan of the category for Authors Others Love that You Don’t on ballots. What purpose does that serve? To show diversity? There will always be diversity in reading material. For every ten people who love one thing there are ten more that hate it. So, get over yourself. "

I would like to say, for the record, that my response has been directed at the question, "Why do you care if you don't like a book that others do?" I have not yet participated in a message board discussion thread, and I am not sure I would openly 'diss' an author like the thread Avid is referring to. I am currently trying to sort that moral out in my head. I am referring to posts put up on individual blogs, like mine.


…Fiona…

2 touched me

Blogger Avid Reader pondered...

I enjoyed reading your post and I guess that in response, I am someone who doesn't care what others may think of some of my favorite authors. Many of them get dissed everyday, 24/7.

I do tend to think that what we read is supposed to define who you are and I don't necessarily agree with that but socially, it seems to make a difference to people or make an impression if your reading material is literary.

We've all made fun of the supposed "dregs" of the romance genre like Cassie Edwards, Connie Mason but they have their fans, too. I don't ponder why they like her work. I haven't read her, don't want to, have no plans to, you get the picture.

Also, there are authors that I buy that I may THINK that I might like and sometimes that usually doesn't work out. It's more often than not, the writing or the characters that throw me off. Examples, I've tried reading Elizabeth Lowell and haven't successfully finished one novel by her. I don't think it's me, I'm often bored or not engaged in the story. I may one day find a book by her that I may actually like but it won't be anytime soon :-)

I appreciate your taking the time to answer this Fiona and have added you to my sidebar. Thanks for giving me the heads up over here.

Keishon

5/01/2006 03:54:00 PM  
Blogger Fickle Fiona pondered...

Keishon,

If you need another Lowell recommendation, just let me know! LOL

...Fi

5/01/2006 06:07:00 PM  

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