Wednesday, August 9, 2017

10 observations from reading about people reading

I love Show Us Your Books day. I love reading about people reading in general. Over the past few months I've attempted to jot down some things I've observed in how people talk about reading in facebook or goodreads book discussions, in Amazon reviews, in the SUYB link up, and in person.

1. Every reader is looking for something different and there is a book out there to satisfy the desires of literally everyone on this planet. Isn't that amazing?

2. When readers go into mystery/thrillers trying to figure out the plot twists then emerge disappointed that they figured it out before the end, I have to laugh. That's what you set out to do. This is a story someone is telling you. If you try to poke holes in the unfolding, the overall effect will not be as intended.

3. The only time I don't read book talk is when it's a book challenge. I did one once and by the time I was to begin, I wanted to read nothing I had picked out in advance. I never schedule what I'm going to read so I'm not sure why I thought I would enjoy regimented reading. The challenge itself feels arbitrary and I only see it as something that keeps me from reading anything I want next. I have no patience for letting a list or category dictate what I can read in a certain time period. 

4. Books must be able to surf the waves. Wave one: the people reading it first are fans of the author or the genre. So everyone is all YES at first. Wave two: people who don't necessarily like that genre or that author start to read it, and people are all MEH. Well, of course you are. That book is not for you but you read it because it sounds like something you'd like to like, but if you're honest with yourself, that book had no chance given your tastes. Wave Three: The people who have started to notice that reviews are mixed - well fuck, I hope they are, since we don't all share a brain - and dither over whether to read something or not. Look...I don't know how you pick your books, but don't be swayed by the opinion of one person, or 50 people. If there's something driving you to read a book, read it. It doesn't matter if anyone else is or not. If there's something telling you not to read a book, don't read it. It doesn't matter if everyone else is or not. You're not purchasing a home, you're deciding to read a book. You can return it if you don't like it.

5. I really like when people remember little thoughts they had while reading books and include them when they write or talk about them. I appreciate it a lot because I know it's hard to do, to remember something you thought in the moment while you were lost in the pages of a book.

6. We defend books we love like they're people. That makes me inordinately happy.

7. Some people cannot talk about a book unless they summarize it first in their own words, not using a pre-written by a professional summary. The pull of English 101 is strong.

8. People think they are owed the ending that they wanted, which is not necessarily the one the author who produced the story through blood, sweat, and tears settled on. People can also love a whole book but hate an ending and let that ruin the entire thing for them.

9. There are people who have near photographic recall of books they've read - lines, scenes, themes - and this amazes me. I have that with some books, but certainly not a large percentage of the books I read. If something didn't knock my socks off, I can barely tell you what it was about two months later as I've likely read 20 books since. I feel like I used to have a better grasp of content when I was younger, and also that the books that have stuck with me line by line are the ones I read in my formative years. Is that true of other people too? I enjoy thinking about why others retain information. I know that's weird.

10. There are people who consider themselves readers who actually don't like to read, and it's apparent in the way they talk or write about books and reading. I think what they like is being a critic.

What are some of your reading about people reading observations?

And Happy National Book Lover's Day, you book lover.


  1. #6 - YES! I get very sad when someone says they read a book that I loved and they hated it LOL! xo, Biana-BlovedBoston

  2. I love your descriptions. I don't want to read heart-wrenching stuff so much anymore. So much available now. I think I'll go to the library today❣️ Love. Your. Momma. And I love that picture of Mae💖✨💖

  3. I really like SUYB and I'm not going to stop playing, but I don't like how it affects how I perceive a book sometimes. I like it best when I have no idea how a book got on my TBR. I hate when people just give a plot synopsis and a rating and no why behind it. I need at least a thought or two as to why you felt that way, whether I agree or not. Adding a "Why I read" post to my upcoming post list... you're making me think!

  4. The desire we have to connect with other people over books we love is amazing to me. Like, if I read a book and love it, I NEED someone I know to read it to so we can freak out over how good it is and discuss the characters.

  5. I cannot summarize because it seems like work. I like reading but I look at SUYB as a type of critical writing where I share thoughts and opinions, not summaries. Plus, like a lot of people say, sharing too much of what a book is about can make people not want to read it.

  6. The one ending I can't get behind is the Divergent series. Otherwise I normally agree with that statement, but that ending was horrid.

  7. i agree about challenges! i love them in theory because lists! but in reality, i haven't finished one in years because i don't like to structure my reading at all, i have enough deadlines with the library and whatnot. if a book happens to coincide with a challenge that i've done a list for, yay, if not, oh well another challenge i didn't complete lol.
    i suck at being swayed. i wish i wasn't so easily swayed, i'm getting better at not picking up books i don't want to read, but i am not good at letting reviews sway my original opinion. especially if it's someone i like/trust. oh, i liked this book but so and so didn't.. maybe i'm missing something? lol. i wish i was better about that.
    i always try and remember the author wrote the book and chose the ending they did, and i can usually accept that... but there are 2 endings that i will never be able to accept/understand. sookie stackhouse and divergent. divergent makes my eyes roll, sookie stackhouse just makes me mad. i feel like the author really did not choose that ending, if that makes sense. she set the books on a certain path and in the last book changed her mind. i'm still mad about it. but, i still love the whole series before the last book, so at least i didn't let it ruin that.
    #9 - i retain nothing unless it's a super strong feeling. i never remember quotes or little details, and i don't even remember big details if it's a book i didn't really care about.
    and yes #10. i was on goodreads last night and was looking at this one girl's reviews, she literally had nothing above 2 stars and i was reading all her opinions and just thought.. do you like anything? why are you here? you don't even go here! go hate on something else.
    i like when people give me some idea of what a book is about with their review, not a summary exactly, but some inkling so it makes me want to click on the link and look at goodreads. i don't need the synopsis, that's what goodreads is for.
    love this post. can definitely see the butt hurt coming. ha!

  8. #9- I don't know why but I do this with books. And if they later make a movie about the book, I always compare it to how I envisioned it in my head lol.

  9. I am 100% with you on book challenges. I tried to do one once about a year or two ago and I didn't want to read any of the books on my list when the time came. You can't tell me what to read and when, I need to just pick when the mood strikes. And I had to laugh at the way you describe a wave of reviews for books. You nailed it!!!!

  10. I have done Erin's Book challenge this time and the previous cycle. I have made a deal with myself that I only use books already on my TBR, so it feels more like it is helping me decide what to do next versus dictating new stuff. But there have been times/challenges that just don't work for me (like, I can't do book clubs, ever).

    I was wondering yesterday if people like summaries with SUYB. I personally don't...I'd rather her a "yes" or "no" about WHY they liked something and then if it sounds okay I can check out the description on Goodreads (so please, include links people).

  11. I'm the opposite of #2 and am always so disappointed in myself that I didn't see the twist when it was so blatantly obvious!

  12. #8 = Gone Girl. I always laugh at how hard I will push someone to read a book because *I* loved it.

  13. I am always fascinated by what books people love and why because, like you said, there truly are books for everyone, if they look. I am definitely someone who tries to guess whodunit. :D And I love it when I'm both wrong and right because I feel authors invite readers to guess along with the narrator. All I ask is that the reveal holds up and is logical because being predictable isn't the crime. I hate it when authors contort plot to do a ta-da reveal that makes little sense. Ahem. I See You.

    I am finding #3 to be true for me as well. I'm in the midst of Erin's Challenge and really struggling to read my list. For whatever reason, having to read a book makes it lose a lot of appeal to me, even when it's been on my TBR forever!

  14. I love challenges because it makes me pull from my extensive TBR list. It takes a lot of planning though (coming up with the list, making sure I still actually want to read those books, timing the holds at the library right, etc) but when I do it, I plow through. There is always a category or two that I'm not interested in, but I think it's fun to get outside of my box sometimes too. Otherwise I don't have a reading schedule. I put 50 books on hold and read whatever comes in first. I also love figuring out the twist or surprise ending, but not two chapters in. That's just lazy writing.

  15. I've never really completed a challenge -- I sign up for them but mainly to find new books to read that I might not normally know about. My thing is, I keep adding to my TBR list but when it comes time to start a new book, I don't look at it. I judge people all the time based on what they read -- I know I shouldn't because of your #1. At least people are reading and I'm trying to do better at remembering just that. And writing reviews? I hate it. I've always loved reading but summarizing for a review? Blah ...

  16. I am SO guilty of trying to figure out the endings of mysteries/thrillers. But, I think that's why I like them? I don't feel disappointed when I get it right, instead, I typically feel like a badass. Like, "yep, I knew it allll along."

  17. Some good observations. I don't have enough experience reading to observe other readers but I do admire those with photographic memories and are able to remember such vivid details to write a review or book summary xo Emily @ Martinis & Bikinis

  18. Love this, and so true. I spent the day with my mom yesterday and we talked a lot about books we've read, want to read, don't want to read, love, hate. It's so funny because she is APPALLED and somewhat horrified at some books I read, specifically light beach reads. She thinks reading those books is a waste of time but sometimes that's just what I'm looking for! When I read it I don't think I'm reading true, timeless literature. I take it for what it is, but I still enjoy it!

  19. I try to find a balance between summarising a book and giving my opinion when I review them, but I also don't want to write loads and have people get bored halfway through reading them. So difficult.

    I like to use Erin's challenges as a way to read books that are on my list anyway but keep being pushed down or forgotten about. Like this time Seraphina had been sitting on my shelf for over a year. I was so excited about it when I bought it so I have no idea why I didn't read it sooner. It's rare that I pick a completely new book just because it fits the challenge, and if I do I'll pick one that sound so amazing I know I'll *want* to read it immediately so it won't feel like I'm doing it because the challenge says I have to.

  20. I'm so glad I'm not alone in forgetting all about the book in a few months. Like I remember if I liked it or not, but characters or details? forget it.
    Funny - I try not to summarize before I start reviewing a book - but CANT HELP IT!
    I just cant do book challenges. I have the hardest time deciding what book to read next in the moment... there's no 'planning' for me - at all.

  21. #2 is me to a T. I need to just learn to enjoy the story. I am really terrible at book challenges for the exact reasons you listed in #3. I like making lists, but when it comes down to actually reading the books on that list I'm a mood reader and it doesn't work. #9 leaves me feeling relieved, because my memory in regards to the books I read is horrific and seems to be getting worse each year. I can remember my general feelings and that's about it. I'm relieved that this may not be unique to me and it may not mean that dementia is in my very near future.

  22. I used to have photographic recall in my English major days and in the pre-college days. I remember quoting whole paragraphs in exams, in Facebook posts and in conversation. Now I really lets the words flow through me and exit. Unless its really striking I won't recall it. Too much in my brain now.

    I do however remember moments - like you know how a smell can trigger a memory? similar. Like a book can trigger a memory for me.

    Guilty about trying to figure out endings. And Im usually very good at it even if its a twist. Does sometimes ruin the art that is reading though so I try not to do it anymore. At one point though, if I'm honest, id get so anxious if it was a long suspenseful book, that id read the last few pages and come back to calm my anxiety. I still do that with movies.

    Loved this post Steph

  23. number 8 for sure. I am admittedly bad about this. I don't like cookie cutter, too-perfect endings so if i read a book and there is one i'm like come on!!! that's not real life!!!

    but honestly most people like these kind of endings. i'm weird.

  24. I'm totally the person that has to summarize my book in my own words before I go into my review of the book! I just can't get it out of my system!


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