Thursday, June 9, 2011

Outside Influences (Literary Blog Hop)

Literary Blog HopThis week, The Blue Bookcase presents this question for the Literary Blog Hop:

What other outside influences affect your reading experience? Do you think these influences enhance or detract from the experience?

The main outside influence that affects my reading experience is discussion about the book.  This can have both negative and positive effects, depending on the circumstance.

If book-talk comes in the form of hype over a book I haven't read, I'm generally negatively affected...although this tends to diminish if I put enough time between the excitement and when I read it.  If a book has been hyped up, my expectations are elevated to a standard that is hard to reach.  That's why I try to wait before reading super-popular books (part of the reason I've delayed reading Possession...I want to approach it with an open mind!)

On the other hand, I occasionally read a book that I didn't know much about, and have rather conflicting thoughts on.  This is when a book club or lively blog discussion is really rewarding.  Being able to bounce your thoughts off of someone else, and getting to hear how they interpreted it is a fabulous way to really think it through.  A perfect example of this was when I read The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake.  I was torn between ambivalence and interest until my book club discussion really helped me think about some of the underlying themes.

So, suffice it to say that I like being able to come to my own conclusions about a book, but I equally enjoy seeing if someone else can change my mind.  Not in a you-can't-change-my-mind-because-I'm-SO-stubborn sort of way...rather, I just love the process of trying on another person's thought process.  Book discussion is tops, don't you think?


  1. I agree with you, after-reading discussion might change your opinion about a book, but it won't change your reading experience.

  2. I could talk books forever and ever.

  3. Reader discussion might in some cases have an impact on whether or not I will decide to read a book-especially a new one-there are no public libraries in the country I live in so I must, but for books in the public domain that I can download, buy the books I read-if a lot of peope say a new book is not worth reading, normally I will pass on it, on the other side even if a lot of other bloggers love it I will still ponder if it fits my reading tastes

  4. Marketing helps me to notice a book, but booktalk helps me to savor it. Sometimes I just don't know how I feel about a book. I need to talk it through to sort out my thoughts.

  5. It's true, discussion of a book can make things clearer than reading it on your own. That's why I loved going to my English classes, especially when it came down to, "What exactly WAS that book about?" :D

  6. Book discussion is great. It's one of the reasons I started book blogging. I didn't have enough readers around me to talk through a book if I needed it.

  7. Although I love discussing books,and agree that the conversation can highlight passages or ideas that you may have missed, but I think this is predominantly a hindsight experience, that doesn't impact on your reading experience, this opinion is based on a recent shared reading experience in which the person I read with appeared to severely dislike the book, which in no way impacted on my loving it, yet the dialogue we shared allowed us insights into this book.

  8. I can be negatively influenced by hype as well, and I am kind of afraid to approach certain books. I do love to discuss books though and sometimes someone else opinion can definitely help me see something that I missed in my own reading.


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