13 October 2009

Book Discussions & Reviews: Death by Dissection?

This cartoon from Unshelved made me ponder about situations when people seem determined not to enjoy a book.

Sometimes I wonder what we achieve by embarking on an online book discussion. Sometimes people come into the discussion, with knives drawn, determined to prove that their opinion of the book is the only one possible.

There are reviewers like that too. I wonder if they ever enjoy anything they read.

A couple of other things to think about:
  • Each time we re-read a book we get more out of it because we put more into it; a different person is reading it, and therefore it is a different book.--Murial Clark
  • even though we all read the same book, we all read a different book.
Have you ever had someone in a discussion, or a review, destroy a book that you really loved?


Margot Kinberg said...

Interesting point, Kerrie -
I actually have had reviewers tear apart books I loved, and I agree that some people do enter book discussions prepared to "do battle" against anyone who disagrees with them.

That's why I really like that quote you added: Even though we all read the same book, we all read a different book .

Deb said...

It puts me in mind of an old saying, "A book is like a mirror: If an ass peers in, do not expect an apostle to peer out."

I guess when it comes to books, sometimes we're apostles and sometimes we're...well, the other thing.

Kerrie said...

Margot, I have even worried about nominating a book for discussion (or leading the discussion) because of the feeling that the vultures will be there waiting for me.

Kerrie said...

I love that saying Deb. Asses can be so stubborn too.

Bella said...

Very interesting thoughts.

I wonder how many people are like me, I seem to enjoy practically every book I read. Even if there is something I don't like, I mostly like the book.

That is the exact reason I love re-reads, I tend to discover something else :)

I'm re-reading Agatha Christie's at the moment, which just get better and better.

Bernadette in Australia said...

These days I tend to let myself be swept away by good reviews but I generally ignore bad reviews unless they are by someone who I know and whose opinion I trust and whose tastes I know are similar to mine. I used to be in a F2F bookclub which seemed to spend half its time sneering at people who didn't like the same books and I left the club in the end as too many books I had enjoyed were pillorited by the so-called intelligent people in the club.

I know myself that I react strongly to books but I try very hard to keep any negative thoughts focussed on the book itself and I hope I never make disparaging comments about other people who might like the book.

Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness) said...

Our campus is doing a big common reading program using Michael Pollan's 'In Defense of Food.' I haven't been to a really negative discussion yet, but apparently some people are really angry about it. I sort of want to see it just so I know what that sort of anger is like, but I also don't because I think it's sort of silly.


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