If you have read the announcement post, you know that this is the first post of a new series, where all of us bookish folk can chat about all things books. 😀 Even if you missed that post, you know now. 🙂
Today’s topic is a question that I have turned over in my mind several times, and I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject.
We all know that when it comes to a book – content is key. There is the plot, narration, character development, and then there are also other factors like – How did the book make us feel? Did we laugh out loud while reading it, or did we cry along with the characters? Either way, a strong emotional connect goes a long way in shaping our opinion of a book.
All of these things have to do with the book itself. But sometimes there are things which have nothing to do with the book, but do influence our opinion of it.
Those things are external influences impacting our reading experience. Sometimes our general mood, the amount of time we have to read, the distractions that we are faced with, can, and do impact our overall feeling regarding a book.
I am very much a mood reader. As much as I love the genre of romance and Indian historical fiction, I cannot read them back to back. If I do, the law of diminishing marginal utility comes into play, and I like each consecutive book less and less, for no real fault of the book. Ofcourse I do counter this by intentionally picking up diverse genres. I mean I do everything that I can to give a book the best shot it can get.
But some things I cannot do anything about – like how busy my life is at any given point of time, and how much time I can give to reading. If I pick up a heavy, dense read when my life is particularly hectic and stressful – it will just bog me down and I will hate the book. So, in such cases, my feelings towards a book, have less to do with the book, but more to do with the overall reading environment and experience.
On a similar note, I often wonder about how much of my undying love for The Harry Potter Series is tied to the wonderful reading experience I had. I mean I literally grew up with Harry. A lot of my fondest memories from my teens have to do with staying up all night reading the series, and doing a marathon re-read just before the next book was about to come out, and then watching it take life on the big screen. That kind of experience is pretty difficult to beat. But then that is the thing – it was the right book, at the right time, and it made a world of difference.
I have also considered if I would have loved the book/series as much if I had read it now as an adult. Afterall the content is the same, and I am sure I will still love the story, because let’s face it – it’s epic! But will it have the same magical halo around it? I guess not. But in this case, what is done is done. The Harry Potter Series is pure perfection in my eyes, and nothing is changing that.
What do you guys think? How much do external factors influence your opinion of a book? What do you do to counter it? Was there a book you read that suffered due to bad timing? Do you give a book a second shot if you feel that it did not get a fair chance? Do you have a particular book that was the perfect read at the perfect time for you? Do share. I would love to hear from you guys in the comments.