Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Words to Work For

This whole discussion could really be about a few different things like: why don't you finish a book? Or are you a strict one genre reader? But what I really wanted to rant about discuss is this...

Don't get me wrong, I love my sister, but her reading habits drive me insane! All growing up she would only read classics or fantasy. Oh sure, she'd read the occasional romance but she had her preferred genres and she stuck to them like glue. I don't have a problem with that, I lean towards certain genres myself, but what drives me nuts is (with the exception of the classics) all she reads are "easy" books. Meaning: easy for her, fast fluffy no-deep-thinking required. There's nothing I hate more than lending her a book that blew me away,  made me think and was so intricately woven together that I almost had to work for the pleasure, and she won't finish it. It drives me crazy! It makes me think evil thoughts like, "how shallow do you have to be to only read books you don't have to think about?!"

So, here's my question: What makes you not read a book? Are you open minded to any style or difficulty level, or do you stick with one or two genres? The ONLY reason I have not finished a book is because of atrocious writing. I'll read any genre, any style, and any difficulty level. Don't get me wrong, I like fluffy books that take zero brain power but I LOVE books that make you work for it. That make you concentrate on each and every word. Books that take time and effort and, yeah, your brain. Furthermore, I like trying new genres. Yeah, maybe I'll decide it's not my favorite but I love trying it. I feel like if you truly love reading, you'll love reading just about everything; you'll try anything once.

So am I awful? Should I really be so prejudice against people that only read silly fluffy books and never even try something a little harder? BTW, I'm not talking non fiction, I'm just talking about books that are out of your comfort zone and preferred genre, that are written to make you think and work for the enjoyment. 

I've been working on said sister and she's getting a little better but she still takes FOREVER to read a book that's "hard", aka, not her preferred genre or skill level. I know, I know, I sound horribly mean, I can't help it, I can't stand it!!! I'm a reading style racist!!!


  1. I read all different kinds of things. I like romance, paranormal, general YA, dystopian, chick lit, etc. One of my favorites will alway be The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. I had a copy that I read so many times it was literally falling apart back in the 7th grade. My sister on the other hand (since you brought up the sisters thing lol) NEVER reads! She has read the Twilight series and is obsessed with it, but other than that and a handful of other books, I don't think she would crack one open even if there wasn't anything else to do. I have always been the reclusive reader between the two of us and she has always been the athletic/social butterfly lol.

  2. +JMJ+

    Jenny, I find your question especially interesting this week because I just accepted two ebooks for review that I would not normally read. One is a collection of political essays; the other is a "talking animals" book that is more adult than what you'd find in YA. Neither are books I would have chosen on my own, which makes them so much more of a challenge.

    Yes, they are definitely books that will make me "work for it"--and it's exactly that aspect I'm looking forward to. (I anticipate that the process of discovery will help me write more balanced reviews--and suspect that I'd be so familiar with a book in one of my usual genres that I might be too critical with it.) Still, this kind of "hard" reading is not something I want to do all the time. It's kind of like food preference: I'm willing to be adventurous once a week, but will stick to the tried-and-tested menu six days out of seven.

    And I try not to be too hard on "picky readers." ;-) There's just no arguing with a palate, sometimes!

  3. Samantha, Hmmmm, my sister is more social too. Maybe that has something to do with it. ;)

    Enbrethiliel, Too true. I just ask that people keep an open reading mind. What talking animal book is it? Just out of curiosity.

  4. I will pretty much read most anything that has characters I can love and a decent plot. Although that doesn't sound like much, it cuts out a lot of books. I don't usually DNF a book, but I did to one where I was about 3/4 of the way through and just couldn't see where it was going, wasn't hooked by the characters and just needed to stop reading it before I was too frustrated. I felt bad because it was an e-book that I won as a giveaway, but... I couldn't do it. Maybe later.

    My favorite type of books are long and gritty with characters that I love and hate and everything in between. I do enjoy a good fluffy book every now and then just to break things up.

    I think people are just so used to reading what they're reading, and for some people, they don't read a lot and so the few books they do are similar lest they lose interest. Everyone's different, I guess, but you never know if there will be that one book that will change their mind.

  5. I will usually try anything. Lately, I've been forced out of my comfort zone. I do take longer on "hard" books, but I try to finish them. I normally I've only ever not finished a book because it was too racy for my tastes. When I didn't read, I didn't finish The Hobbit. But, I've remedied that. :)

  6. Oh Dear! Does this mean that I should stop reading all those Louis L'Amours and the Witch of Blackbird Pond for the 47th times and try something new?

  7. Well, at least she's reading. I do wonder what people get out of just reading fluff - had a discussion about this the other day on my blog - but to each his own I guess. I don't read sci fi unless someone who knows me recommends it. Most of them I just can't get into. And, like you, I can't handle poorly edited books - spelling and grammar and punctuation mistakes drive me insane.

  8. I totally agree with the above, at least your sister is reading at all. People need to be interested in what they're reading. Otherwise it can be a bit of a lost cause. I gave my older sister my copy of To Kill A Mockingbird and three years later she hasn't gotten past the first couple of pages. Yet she will read anything and everything by Donald Trump and the like. It's all about personal interest. Personally, I will read whatever takes my fantasy at the time. I'm not at all a book racist and I love all the fluff books. And I agree with Samantha, social butterflies (of which I know many) don't usually make time to read.

  9. Yes I hate it when people are narrow minded, not only when it comes to reading.
    Once I had a dinner with colleagues and there was this funny looking side dish. Once I tried it it turned out to be delicious potato cakes. So I asked my colleague if she tried them because they were yummie and she said: "No, I don't like them. I don't have to try. I can just look at food and know if I like it or not." FFS!

  10. I can count the number of books I haven't finished on one hand....they are as follows : Tristram Shandy, Caleb Williams, Beauty Queens, and Lord Jim. Three out of those four books remained unfinished because they were for school and my schedule became too insane to fit them in (so I cheated and resulted to spark notes :P). Beauty Queens just drove me insane because the plot was going nowhere! Usually though I finish every book I start because I feel guilty if I dont. The book will haunt me because I sit and wonder if the ending would suprise me and make me enjoy it after all :P I even still plan on finishing Tristram and Caleb Williams someday because of my mounting bad conscience.

  11. I read nearly everything except current event and political books. Sometimes I need a fluffy- no thinking book but I love to be challenged. All I have to say is at least your sister reads something! My husband flat out refuses to read anything longer than a 1 page article in a magazine, same with my brother!

  12. I was looking back over my books read in the past list and realized that I am now reading much more fluff than I used to. I blame it on blogging! But yes, I do agree that it's painful when people don't want to try stuff a little different and only want the fluff. They miss so much! It is very fun to try new things and discover new favorites.

    I rarely don't finish a book either (most of my DNF's are books that I plan to finish some day... they are just "on hold") and if I decide not to, it's just because I am really really hating it. And as you know that rarely happens, because I like everything! :)

  13. Kaye, I shouldn't be too hard on my sister, she is married with two kids. I'm surprised she gets any reading done. You're right, some people just don't read enough to read more than what they usually do.

    Jenni, Yeah, some books are so needlessly racy I avoid them too. See, you're better than me. I haven't read The Hobbit and have a mental block against trying. Now who's the close minded one? LOL.

    Techno Grandma, No, mom, you'll you read anything I hand you. In fact, you're the one who taught me to keep an open mind. What happened with that other daughter? ;)

    Dana, This is true, at least she reads.

    Lan, Yeah, I know I shouldn't be so hard on her. I cringe a little to hear about your sister, though. Doesn't it just drive you crazy?! I guess I'm just a control freak.

    Selina, Amen! Thank you, Selina! That's all I'm asking. If they won't even try it how do they KNOW they won't like it?

    Natalie, I feel the same. If I don't stick with it how will I know if it ends up having an amazing ending?

    Ang, I actually am pretty close minded about current event and political books too. I guess I shouldn't call the kettle black. And, yeah, at least she reads. In fact,that's what she said when she read my post. ;)

    Suey, Yeah, you do like everything. ;) I'm going to have to do a follow up post. Thanks to book club I've read lots of books I would have NEVER tried.

  14. This is a great question! I'd like to think I'm open minded in my reading, but I'm really not. I'll branch out inside the comfort of my YA genre... YA dystopian, YA contemporary, etc. but that's about it. I don't really do non-fiction, or high fantasy, or graphic novels. But I like my rut. :)
    My sister is a total non-fiction all the way girl, so we don't recommend books to each other often. Oh well.

  15. Kathy, I'm not a huge non-fiction fan either but I do read some. I've never read a graphic novel, though. See? I'm close minded. ;)

  16. +JMJ+

    The adult "talking animals" book I referred to is the novella Farmer Dell's Junkyard by Jak Locke. I haven't started it yet, though, so I can't say anything else about it.

    Here's another thought that just came to me . . . One thing that makes me not read a book is too much hype. If I were your sister and you pressed a book on me that you loved but that was outside my comfort zone, I would feel less of an obligation to like it. =P I don't know if this is just my own mulish nature, but I tend to think that if someone really, truly liked a book, I should provide the "balancing" opinion and see the things that are wrong with it! (Sorry!)

  17. Wow, just because I think Jane Austin needs slapped a little doesn't mean I'm a shallow reader. And I have 8 children not 2. And, my life is the classically,fictional, romantic, YA, dystopian, fantasy with a plenty of mystery and sci-fiction galore,so reading reading my blog is all anyone needs to be a well balanced reader. You're so mean!!

  18. Enbrethiliel, Ah, another thing we have in common. I do the same thing. If everyone else likes it I have to rip it to shreds and be that opposing argument.

    Susan, I WUV you too. ;)

  19. I'll occasionally do a few readings outside my favorites, but I don't seek them out. I think that's what's great about book clubs - they sometimes make you branch out. I am currently reading Lonesome Dove, though, which is really far outside my normal.

  20. Melissa, Thank goodness for book clubs! Bravo for reading Lonesome Dove, that's one even I'd cringe at.