Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Why I Enjoy Every Book I Read

If you are a follower of this blog in any capacity, you've probably noticed that I enjoy reading. A lot of writerly types do. (And should!) Most weeks (usually Saturdays), I post a review of a book I recently read (imported from my Goodreads reviews, which is a great site for me to keep track of books I've read/want to read). More often than not these are positive reviews, which could convince a reader that I'm too nice and not a trustworthy (read: honest) reviewer. How can I like so many books? Why are the bad eggs so few and far between? I assure you there is a logical explanation for this.

Four Reasons Why I Like Everything I Read:
  1. I read what I like. First and foremost, I don't start books I'm not interested in reading. I don't care how many other people enjoyed it; if I read summaries/reviews and I can't convince myself to try, I don't. There are way way WAY too many books for me to waste time on something that doesn't suit me. This right here is the biggest reason why I rarely write "bad" reviews. Can't write them if I don't read them. Example: Fifty Shades of Gray, etc. I feel no shame in not giving these books even a chance at a review.
  2. I test read. Once I decide I am interested in a book, I give it the 50-100 page test: I read at least 50 pages and usually no more than 100 before giving up or going full throttle. If I'm not impressed after that, I quit. Just like that. Again--there are SO MANY other books out there, so why waste time on something I'm not into? I know that many readers feel like they've "invested" time into books and don't want that time to go to "waste," but here's the thing: hating the book for the first half AND the second half doesn't save you any "invested" just makes you hate the whole book and wastes a lot of time. You can always try reading that book later on in life--sometimes you need to wait for the right season in your life for certain books. I don't review books that I haven't finished (besides putting them on a Did Not Finish list on Goodreads, so if you want a taste of what I'm not into at this moment, check that out), so again we've cut down potential "bad" reviews. Example: Steve Jobs. I even read past 100 pages for this one because I was so sure it couldn't be as boring as it was. Spoiler alert: it's boring for someone not enamored with Apple in any way.
  3. I look for the good. If a book has passed both the initial interest and 50-page test and I finish it, there's a good chance it's because I legitimately liked it--but beyond that, I'm a silver lining type, so even if it was a rough read, I'll find something redeeming about the book. A character I liked, a concept that's intriguing, the pace, the cover design, the nugget of truth buried somewhere inside: all reasons for me to give a positive (though still honest) review. Example: Divergent, etc. I hated parts of these books, but they take a few hours to finish and they're set in Chicago.
  4. I take a step back. If a book passes the initial interest and 50-page test and I can find little to no silver linings, I might not like it. And STILL: it's a published book by a person who took time to write it. Just because it's not the right book for me doesn't mean someone else won't enjoy it, or maybe I'm just not reading it at the right point in my life.  Example: Ready Player One. This book wasn't written for me, but I can understand why others might enjoy it.
If, despite all tests and rose colored glasses, I truly don't like a book, then you'll know. There are books that I finish because I'm positive they can't end as badly as they're progressing. When they do end badly, I feel tricked. (Example: A Disorder Peculiar to the Country. So much promise, so little follow through.) I try not to get to that point, so I do what I can to read books I enjoy and books that make me feel, think, and want to write my own things.

I know there are arguments for reading "challenging" books that aren't necessarily enjoyable, but I don't believe challenging and entertaining are mutually exclusive. I'm also not a literature professor, (paid) book critic, or an editor, so I can read whatever I please. (If you made it this far, what I'm trying to say is: it just pleases me to read.) 

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