Tuesday, August 08, 2006

A Reader Writes...

Honestly, you can post questions on comments. I do usually answer them there. Not that I mind the hidden correspondence with some of you... (And by the way, thank you for reading. We know that every time you go on the internet, you have a choice of blogs to read, and on behalf of myself and your blog crew, we'd like to thank you for reading us.)

So, I just got an email from someone commenting on my Attack of the Man-Eating Lotus Blossoms post. (That was quick!) Since she obviously reads my blog, I'm going to answer her here. She said (paraphrasing) "You must like everything you read."

Not so. I read a lot. I read a lot of dreck. I fling dreck under my bed and go in search of something else to read. There are piles of books around my house. It isn't hard to stumble onto something better.

The main reason I don't do negative reviews is that no matter what reviewers in the NY Times lead you to believe, a good book is one that you enjoy reading. It all comes down to personal taste, which is why when everyone in the world is going on and on about some wonderful book that enthralled them from page one until the end, you can't get past the first chapter. It isn't the book. It's you. But that's nothing to feel bad about. It simply isn't a good fit.

Oranges Aren't The Only Fruit is a good example. Readers and writers on several lists recommended this book. I read it, and it was okay, but it didn't capture me. That doesn't mean it's bad. It simply means that I finished it, shrugged, and moved on to the next book on my stack. Didn't hate it, but I didn't have that good book experience either.

When I read something and days after I finish it it's still in my mind, I'm enough of a book geek that I have to say something. It's exciting to find a book that sparks my brain. I like to share the possibility of that experience with others.

So I guess my answer is, "No, I don't like everything I read, but I'm not enough of a literary masochist to finish reading, much less comment on in detail, the growing pile of discarded books under my bed. Besides, wouldn't you rather hear about a good book?"

P.S. I just saw that Aaron Hamburger has a novel out, Faith For Beginners. I met him at Saints and Sinners two years ago. I really enjoyed his collection of short stories The View From Stalin's Head, so despite my promise to the SO to tame my Amazon habit until I've read every other book that I've bought already, I'm going to get it. Maybe I should have it delivered to my work so that he doesn't know.....

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