Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Notes From My Desk: It's not Me, It's You

Sometimes when I finish reading a book I didn't like, I wonder if there's something wrong with me -- as if it's not the book's fault I didn't enjoy it, it's my own.  Like maybe I'm not smart enough to get the joke or the genius of the author.  I like most of the books I read to at least some degree, so it's unlikely I'll read something I dislike immediately after finishing another book I dislike. 

So, when I start to read an "after" book that, statistically speaking, I should like, I'm relieved.  Always.  The writing is better, the story is more original, and everything just seems fresher.  Whether this is actually the case, I don't really know, but I probably rate these "after-reads" way better than others I start reading after "good" or even "just-okay" books.

Granted, we probably judge and rate everything based on what we've previously read.  For example, if someone's never read Twilight and then reads a Twilight knock-off, they'll probably mistake it as original and maybe give it a good rating.  But if you're Stephanie Meyers's biggest fan, then having read Twilight before would alter your rating on the knock-off.  And if you just read a time-travel book, you might be a bit more critical of the next time-travel book you read, depending on what you thought of it.  Point being, our ratings are altered by what we have read in some way. 

We're going to ignore all of what I just wrote in the above paragraph and focus on the extreme.  I'm going to call this "After-book-Awesome" Syndrome.  If there's another name for it, don't tell me.  Just let me delude myself with thinking I'm original (because I am, right?).

This leads me to my point: I am a victim of "After-book-Awesome" Syndrome.  I just finished "not-good-book-that-shall-not-be-named," started another immediately after and was overwhelmed with the feeling of "This is the best book ever."  I know my feelings of love for the latter book are completely inflated, which is the main symptom of "After-book-Awesome" Syndrome.  I'm going to be okay, but research has been inconclusive as to whether it's contagious or not.  But it does lead me to want to say, it's not me, "not-good-book-that-shall-not-be-named," it's you.


PS: I rate this note with a ba-jillion toadstools

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