This 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?