As a reader I’ve come to realize something about my preferences that should have been quite obvious to me all along: I like knowing as little as possible about a book before I start reading it. I don’t read dust jackets or backs of books. I don’t read the Amazon book summaries. I don’t even read bloggers’ summaries when reading their reviews.
Yes, this should have been obvious to me. But it wasn’t until I found myself saying–I’ve seen this book around so many places and I’ve read so much about it but I have no idea what it’s actually about. As a book blogger who reads about a hundred book blogs at any given time and sees book after book after book in her Google Reader and frequents the bookstore looking for specific books, how can it be that most of the books I do pick up to read I really have no idea what I’m getting myself into.
For example, I went to Half Price Books yesterday and picked up six new books. Two of the books I picked up because of the author’s name (John Irving and Richard Russo), but the other four I picked up because I’ve read reviews for them and have put them on my wishlist: Out by Katsuo Kirino, An Abundance of Katherines by John Green, Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, and Boy Meets Boy by John Levithan. The first two I’ve seen several places–the latter two probably just at Ana’s and Amanda’s blogs. BUT, despite all I’ve heard about these books–I couldn’t tell you a shred of plot. Part of this is mostly bad memory from the little I’ve read, but most of it is because I avoid. The less I know about a book, the better!
I don’t really have a point here–just teasing out some ideas. I think this says something for me as a blog reader–I prefer to read more about how a book made you feel rather than what happened in the book. I’ll skip heavily summarized reviews or just look for the little nugget of information–the bottom line. And I’ve become pretty good at gleaning whether or not I’ll like a book based on how bloggers I trust reacted to the book. I think this also says a lot for how I read or the pleasure I get out of reading. For me, reading is about pure discovery. Going into the unexpected. How can you experience the unexpected or pure discovery when you are bracing yourself for something you’re expecting to happen?
What about you? Do you like knowing a lot about a book before jumping in or do you like knowing little? Do you find that knowing more/less changes your experience of reading a book?
I hope everyone’s having a wonderful Sunday! Do you have any plans for the day or just taking it easy? I’ve been trying to be productive this weekend as next weekend is the Read-a-thon and the following weekend the Texas Book Festival. My to-do list grows and grows but my goal for today is to get the Halloween village foundation built so that this week I can focus on putting all the pieces together. I might make cookies, and I’ll definitely be cleaning the house. And if I’m not too tired at the end of it all, perhaps I’ll open up Brothers Karamazov. The albatross around my neck.
Hope you’re having a good one!