Yes, I do have an opinion. Thank you for asking!

Nope, still no package. I could cry; I really could. It’s enough to even make the cats head for the hills.

hemi_beam_mar08

That’s our Hemi boy sitting on the beam about 11 feet up. He heads up there once in a while to wander about and perch. And yes, he does purr like a motor, loudly and constantly, even as a big kittie.

Julie from Bookworm blogged today about The lost pleasure of books. I’ll leave a comment I suppose, though answering her questions isn’t nearly as interesting a prospect to me as the conversation regarding adults and reading. Of course no one asked my opinion, but of course I do have one.

Having had some conversation with friends β€”who hasn’t?β€” regarding books, participated in critique groups and just generally rubbed shoulders with other writers, I’ve my own theories or at least wonderings on the subject. And of course, because it’s all about me, you know, you’d love to hear them!

Sometimes I wonder if the reason that adults read so little and often fail to derive the enjoyment they once had for reading is because of two general issues, the first being the drudgery reading becomes in school. Of course, not every human has such a natural inclination to reading as others may, however even the smallest child usually enjoys a good story if it falls in line with her own interests. Yet, the increase in ‘required’ reading and change in attitude from reading as enjoyment to reading as compulsory goes a long way toward creating a problem in my experience.

This brings me to the second issue that I speculate could be a difficulty for adults today, even those who say they are ‘readers’. Many of my friends are quite choosy about the books they read, not in itself a bad thing. Most of us are busy people and for some, time for reading really is a luxury. So many of the adults that I know choose books based on a number of things: the NY Times bestseller list, Oprah’s picks, what their friends are reading (what’s in), or similar methods.

As someone who still derives a great amount of wonder and joy from books and doesn’t feel as if my experience has changed significantly from when I was a childhood reader, I would hasten to say that might just be a terrible way to choose a book. This is, of course, my own opinion. But I would argue that the likelihood of something being good because a critic, tv personality or other notable says it is so, is well. . . unlikely. Good writing doesn’t necessarily make a good book; good plots don’t necessarily make a good book; good writers don’t necessarily make a good book. And not having one of those things doesn’t necessarily make for a bad book either.

I think that often as adults we become so caught up in the realm of critiquing things and wanting to read ‘good literature’ that we choose uninteresting or marginally interesting books and try to find something we love about them. Rather I’d say we should read off the beaten path. Avoid bestsellers like they are the plague or at least until no one’s talking about most of them anymore (Really! After all, how many movies have you seen that had fantastic reviews and actually were that good? And how many have you seen that did poorly in reviews, but when you saw them, they were quite enjoyable or even fantastic?). Head for the section of the library that seems the most interesting to you personally. Choose a book not by what is on its cover or what the newspaper/tv/magazine said, but by reading the flyleaf, asking a librarian or seeing what other authors have to say in their reviews on the cover. And maybe, head to a section you thought you disliked and try something from there. You might just find a new love. Sometimes I think people believe they’re reading entirely for their own pleasure, but they really aren’t. They just don’t realize it.

“Knitting?”, you ask. I’ve finished the first sleeve of the Brompton and it’s lovely! I’m so happy with it, and have just picked up the stitches for the second.

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3 responses to “Yes, I do have an opinion. Thank you for asking!

  1. Dang, and I thought my questions were quite interesting. πŸ™‚

    I think both your points are excellent. In fact, it had occurred to me to suggest that we lost “the virginal qualities of the novice reader” when we became English majors. πŸ˜‰

    I avoid bestsellers and Oprah’s picks too. My method, if you can call it that, is to browse the shelves at my local library. If the first few pages feel good, I keep going. And sometimes I follow other bloggers’ recommendations.

  2. I hardly ever read fiction. I love off-the-radar topics–generally things folks find weird. I just finished “Power to Save the World” about nuclear power (still not convinced, but much more accepting to hear the argument now) and am on to “Life Without Us” about how nature takes over once humans are gone. I also enjoy reading about vermin, bugs, and survivors:”When Broken Glass Floats” and “Jesus Land” as examples. There is something so wonderfully narcissistic about talking about reading…

  3. melusine_tricote

    Wow ! I love cats (I’ve got 2 cats), and yours is very beautiful… Excuse me for my bad English πŸ˜‰

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