Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Canadians. I hope you are enjoying your turkey or whatever you eat and being thankful. I was originally going to post a list of things I am thankful for in my life and it’s a long list but I am writing a paper that is due tomorrow – well, I am editing a paper that’s due tomorrow and it’s important and I don’t feel thankful at the moment (haha) so here’s a topic I was cogitating about earlier this week.
The way a person reads changes over time. I know this is not news but I become more and more aware of this phenomenon as I experience it myself. There were books I read about two years ago that I happily gave four stars to but which, if I went back and reread, would probably get one star from me. The question this asks is which one of us has the truest experience with reading. The younger me read books just to consume the entertainment they offered and the older me is a whole lot more discerning where literature, even literature that is leisure reading, is concerned.
Now in Grad school, I am taking a creative writing class with a whole lot of talented MFAs and they bring to the table yet another way to read.
An author reads in a different way (or perhaps perspective would be a better word here) than a normal reader. One of my peers in the writing class said about Rowling’s much disliked epilogue of the Potter series, “It’s her book, let her end it the way she damn well wants to!” A writer would generally feel this way but a normal reader who has nothing at all to do with the process but the result of it? I think they would be well within their rights to complain about the ending because the book belongs to them as much as it belongs to the author. If an author builds a world, it is the readers who populate it, who bring the characters to life in their imaginations and let them live. The reader response theory says that anyway.
I have come to appreciate the writing more than the plot in books though I will probably always be forever annoyed by books that have shoddy logic. Books have become an escape from me but it is a conditional escape and I can only run away from real life if the book is structured properly, written prettily and has logic. Anything else keeps jolting me out of the narrative and has me reaching for my pencil so I can make a note for all the world as though I’m once again critiquing a story for class. I think the tone of my reviews will also probably change even though these are published authors and I am just an aspiring one.
Have you felt that the way you read, the perspective from which you read, is always changing? Being effected by your experiences with literature and life? Or is it just me?