by syaffolee

Written Word Immersion

So I was reading this article about dismantling the assumption that most romance readers “self-insert” in the novels that they consume. This made me wonder how people approach any type of reading. Judging from the comments, it’s probably foolhardy to make generalizations about groups of readers. Nobody reads the same way. Sure, there will be those who will read as if they were the main character. Others, not so much or not at all. I read fiction as if I were the Sphere peeking into Flatland–only with the added dimension of getting into the characters’ heads. Yet I don’t want to be a character at all, which probably explains why I dislike most books written in first person.

For some reason, this also reminded me of the forums for National Novel Writing Month. Every year, there will be some writers posting about how their muse will give them ideas or how their characters will talk to them. And every year, I will roll my eyes about those posts. But hey, if that’s how those people write, then let them be, no matter how irrational and idiotic I may privately think their methods are. That’s the sort of approach I have with other people’s reading habits: they can read however the heck they want, even if I think it’s stupid or politically incorrect. How one reads is a matter of interpretation, not right and wrong.

Aside: Recently, I was in a conversation about fantasy books and the subject of a Certain Novel came up. Although I have not read this book, I had already formed some negative opinions on it due to a variety of reviews and the author’s background. However, I managed to hold my tongue before completely shooting down a fan’s enthusiasm. Because I haven’t read the book, my opinion on the matter probably holds little water anyway. And even if I had read the book, that doesn’t make someone else’s opinion invalid. As for other people pontificating their negative views on things they haven’t read and looking down on people who have read it, well, they run the risk of looking like self-important chumps (even if they are literature profs, editors, book critics in the New York Times or somebody’s grandmother).