Genre prejudice

deborah deborah at
Wed Jul 16 12:59:02 EDT 2003

On Wed, 16 Jul 2003 minnow at wrote:
|You offer a perfectly sound reason for anyone to start reading a particular
|genre or type of book, certainly.  And finding that you enjoy 'em, you
|carried on.  What I am trying to find out is why, if one found that one
|*didn't* enjoy them, one wouldn't simply stop!

I get a different sort of rush from different sorts of books.  Trashy
romance novels give me a guilty "this book is terrible but I'm enjoying
myself" pleasure akin to eating chocloate spread out of the jar on the
end of my finger; I feel slightly ill afterwards, but it was fun at the
time.  Random perfectly good fiction -- say, Voigt's _Bad Girls_ series
-- is more akin to eating a peanut butter sandwich: tasty, filling, but
I don't think much about it after the fact.  A particularly good,
enjoyable, and complex book -- say, The Dollmage, Queen of Attolia, or
The Spellcoats -- is much more satisfying.  Enjoyable while I read, and
food for much thought both during and after.  To stretch my food analogy
to the limit, maybe it's a tasty ok dol bi bim bab (a korean hot pot),
sizzling in the hot stone pot while I eat it, tasty, and chock full of
vitamins and protein.

Some so-called literary fiction I like. (Woman Warrior, Oranges are not
the Only Fruit, Remains of the Day).  Why do I read the stuff I don't
like?  Well, partly to find the stuff I like.  I found Remains of the
Day because I was on a "must read one literary book for every big heap
of library books I pick up" kick.  And partly because some of it is more
like chewing on a vitamin pill -- unenjoyable while I do it, but gives
me food for thought later.  I often toss it aside half way through (I
couldn't get into The English Patient, and I confess that Possession has
never done it for me) but if I make it through, it's often because there
was something there for me to work with.  Later, when I'm done with the
book, I might have some new thought to play with.  Admittedly, I'm
self-selecting, because if I dislike it too much, I won't finish.  But I
keep trying, because of what might be there.

I read more trashy romance novels, of course.  ;)

"I'm a citizen, this is my president, and in this country it is
not only permissible to question our leaders, it is our
responsibility."	-- Lewis, "The American President"

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