Reading preferences are so strange. Even among avid readers and writers, the same book can evoke totally different reactions. Sometimes one person will enjoy a book and another person will hate it.
I've also seen a lot of times lately where one person will think a book is absolutely horribly written and another person thinks it's the cat's meow. Those aren't the same thing: I can dislike a book while admitting that it's well done but just not my cup of tea. Yet it's odd how often people can disagree on even whether something is well-crafted, aside from whether they liked it.
Not long ago, a good friend of mine despised two books I really enjoyed (one of which I loved and read in one sitting, which is very rare for me).
Another friend said that an author I enjoy is too much like Jane Austen . . . like that's a bad thing.
And yet another friend recommended a book that nearly seared my eyeballs it was so bad. I couldn't finish it.
At the core, I suppose, is the fact that there are few hard and fast rules when it comes to writing. While not everything is subjective in this gig, a lot is. Where I can't stand Faulkner or Hemingway, I do like Steinbeck, but I know others who feel exactly the opposite.
I'm a pretty eclectic reader. I don't focus on a single genre, and the titles I pick up are all over the map, so in general, I think I have a pretty decent idea when something is "good."
Which is probably reflective in a conversation I had tonight with my husband:
Me: "Hey, you know that book I'm reading?"
DH gives me a blank look. He pretends to count books on the fingers of both hands, then looks up and grins.
And I about fall over laughing at myself.
So yeah, okay, that was a stupid question. A really stupid one. I needed to be a bit more specific, being as at any given time I'm reading half a dozen (or several more) books.
"Hey, honey, you know that hardback novel I'm reading that's about this thick and has a blue cover with white text? The one I was reading this afternoon while you sat by me watching Monk?"
Or maybe I should be a normal person and read one book at a time.
(Stop laughing. It could happen. Maybe. Okay, fine.)
In all seriousness, what do you think completes this sentence, at least for you:
A good book . . .
I thought I had a lot of the answers, but seeing so many titles I love being trashed by others (and the flip: books I really, really dislike heralded as brilliance), I'm not so sure anymore.
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