Saturday, December 27, 2014

Readers with Strong Opinions

Some readers and collectors make extremely strong statements about how good or bad certain books are.  Sometimes their statements have a different impact than what they might have expected. 

Recently, someone made an extremely strong statement about a book.  Person A said that they were reading the book.  Person B said that it was awful.  Person A seemed surprised and stated that they were enjoying the book.  Person B said that Person A wouldn't enjoy it for much longer and that they wouldn't be able to finish the book.

Huh?  Why assume that someone will hate a book?  They might end up liking the entire book.  Just because some people do not like a book does not mean that others will not like it.  It's a shame to discourage others from reading a book.

This has also happened to me.  I recall one time when I mentioned I was going to read a series, and someone told me that I wouldn't enjoy the books.  They can't know.  I have to decide.

I try to tread lightly when others ask whether a series is good, since opinions are subjective.  Recently on Facebook, someone asked whether the Penny Nichols books are any good.  I don't like the Penny Nichols books very much, but I didn't want to discourage someone from reading Penny Nichols since all books by Mildred Wirt are worth reading.  I cautiously replied, "The Penny Nichols series is similar to the Penny Parker series. I believe most people like the books about as much as Penny Parker. I didn't like them as much as Penny Parker, but I may be in the minority in that opinion."  I was surprised when a few others agreed with me.

A second situation involves superlatives used to describe a series.  By describing a series in extremely glowing terms, readers might inadvertently set up others for disappointment.  I have had such high expectations for some series that I ended feeling letdown after I read the books.

The third situation involves fans who proclaim their love for their favorite series and in the same breath proclaim that they hate another series.  I have noticed that fans of some series do this more often than others and that they pick on a series that is more popular than their favorite series.  It's how it's mentioned and when it's mentioned that bothers me, not the fact that they don't like another series.

If you've ever noticed this, you'll know what I mean.  It's hurtful to some of us who like both series that are mentioned.  I've always wondered if I was being too sensitive, and perhaps I have been.  Someone contacted me privately and expressed frustration about some of the statements.  I guess I'm not the only one.

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