Friday, July 08, 2011

I'm a Lover, Not a Hater

I am famous, or is it infamous?, for not liking things simply because other people like them, perhaps too much. This applies to, maybe, Rolling Stone magazine, U2 during a certain era (because I liked them before!! before you people even knew about them!!), Brad Pitt, ice cream, running skirts, Pilates. Oh, you know. The list could go on.
No where, (no where!) is this behavior more heinous than in Reading and Book Recommendations. If a book hits the best seller list or if everyone's book club happens to be reading it, well, that's a guarantee that I will sneer when I see it, will dismiss it out of hand, will began to hate it without having read a word of it. I am most famous for hating Memoirs of a Geisha, so much so that I had to read it so that I could then defend my dislike of it (which persisted even after I read it!).
Books I still have not read because other people liked them to much: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (or maybe it's the title?); The Secret Life of Bees; Life of Pi; Everything is Illuminated; Special Topics in Calamity Physics (to my credit, I tried to read this one. And I hated it. Also, I hated the aknowledgements where she thanked her nanny for watching her two children while she closed herself into her office and wrote for 9 hours a day. Now why would I hate that?)
I resisted reading The Help. Everyone LOVED IT!!! IT WAS SO GOOD!!!
See, when someone tells me that, I think, it can't possibly live up to the hype and I don't want to read it, because I hate being disappointed. Almost as much as that, I hate the conversation where someone asks me if I've read a book they love and I exclaim (because I cannot help myself), "Oh! I hated that book!" And then this book lover looks at me as if I have just stated that I hate freedom, and puppies, and apple pie (for the record, I love apple pie). (See also: my reaction to "Forrest Gump." You can imagine, right?)
So I resisted reading The Help because I didn't want to hate it. But then I saw the trailer. And I love Emma Stone (hello? Easy A?). And then, because I wanted to see the movie, I have to read the book. It's some weird compulsion. So I got the book from the library and I started reading it and now I want to read it all the time and I really like it and it is so good.
So I promise, from here on out, to be, perhaps, maybe, a bit more open to liking books that, you know, everyone else likes too.


Nik said...

Also. ET. And now I have to read a new book.

Ann said...

This describes me perfectly. The book I ended up liking a lot was The Guernsey Literary and Potato peel Pie Society (or something like that--potato peel pie figures in there somhow). It had BOOK CLUB BOOK written all over it, so I was a snob. But then one of my kids gave it to me for Christmas, and I felt obligated to read it. And it was charming.

Lisa B. said...

Well, okay. I will read it, too.

Also, I have realized that my signature move is to read 25-30% of a book in a desultory fashion and then report to all and sundry that it was slow. Or it was *fine*, but not all that. Blah blah blah I finish the book and it makes me cry, and then I have to apologize to one and all (hello, my book group!) for having been wrong.

Glad it's good! Can't wait!

c'est moi said...

Jenn (Day Mattson) here (my google identity is obscure and now it's fixed and everything, so thought I'd identify myself...)
But I had to jump in and comment that I AGREE, but what happens to me is that I'll like something, but then it becomes obnoxiously popular and I hate it... or, like with The Lovely Bones, I hate it the whole time, but abhor it when everyone keeps recommending it. :) But, I did really love The Help and passionately love Emma Stone, so I'm having high hopes for the movie. (I did also like Life of Pi, I'm afraid :).)

Counterintuitive said...

a most excellent post.

btw your list of books you hate because others LOVE them contains many of the books I've read for my book club.

Interestingly, I find myself defending books which everyone hates--esp in my book club. And in a similar fashion I'm sometimes unsure if I really like the books that much, but it seems I must defend them against so much misunderstanding and hate.

Is it better or worse to like/defend a book everyone is slamming on or to hate a book everyone LOVES?

Dr Write said...

Ann: I liked that book too. I read it as a break from the good, but entirely too depressing, Olive Kitteridge.
Lisa: All is forgiven.
Jenn: I hated The Lovely Bones too, even though, I will admit, I liked a little of it as I was reading it, but then I hated it.
Ron: I think it is better to defend a book everyone is slamming, because I think every book needs someone to love it. I say this as an author who may one day need someone to love my book

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