Be careful what you mark down and throw out. It could be another's treasure." ß Worth really reading into.
Two recent posts (one on Book Blogs and the other on She Writes) prompted this post. Both sources are linked, rather than summarizing, since it inspired this whole new addition to the discussion—Welcoming different books, or UNDERSTANDING the relevance of DIVERSE reading and writing.
Understanding should not be confused with acceptance, except before I get to swaying around on the soapbox, I must put this out there. I used to be a book snob. There. I admitted it. If you ever talked with me about my reading habits—back in the day—there'd be no way missing my very unhappy feelings on reading fiction. But I'm not taking the blame crunched over. Besides, it wasn't just me. The majority of my non-fiction reading friends were book snobs. We wouldn't go near fiction, and especially not romance. But what nerve, huh?
Now, I know it's human nature, but what nerve does anyone have slighting anything? Well, wait. Let me rephrase that. We discount things all the time. If someone is loud and brassy when we prefer quiet and low-key, we'll ostracize what doesn't suit us, and really, this has to be within our right to do. It's only when the shoe is on the other foot, such as trivializing ALL fiction, or ALL romance, that we start leaning forward to note, "wait a minute now..."
(Of course) it wasn't intentional that I didn't enjoy reading fiction; as in perpetrating because I wanted others to see me as a well-read individual. I truly was never fond of make-believe in any category, and under most circumstances. I had terrible difficulty comprehending material not reality-based. But as factual as I thought I was, here's the real fact:
Until I became immersed in reading, writing, and publishing, I was quite oblivious (ill-advised, had no idea, ignorant) of the grounded purposes all books serve the reading public. Had I kept with solely reading it's unlikely I would have taken any of this into consideration. Even as a writer, it's unlikely I would have considered this renewed understanding. I would have continued writing, and reading a lot less, trying to perfect on my work to meet the malleable demands of a capriciously evolving book market.
Publishing, and reading and writing and reviewing other books combined, is where I turned the corner. There were/are many elements to appreciate. Associating the historical elements of publishing with where publishing is today was important. Identifying reader habits and preferences proved essential. And understanding what is comprised of bringing a story full circle brought the picture together. Add on the reviewing and I am now humbled by what I've learned.
Quickly, I'll zip through a few key findings I've learned about reading books in general.
Slush piles come to the forefront of my thoughts. Perhaps when I came upon the term I was a little sensitive. While researching how to publish I found it distracting to read how other publishers and editors regarded (or disregarded) this pile. It was a true awakening; learning to respect the core product.
…Then there was this one. I have tried and tried, but still cannot harmonize a script of what exactly constitutes a bad or good book. Just because it fits my mood, or is typo free simply is not good enough. I found this out after reading one book so full of errors I thought my eyes were going tongue-tied. Yet I loved that story. It was better than many that came with the nice dust-jackets and extra hands and eyes. Noting: This (true) was an exception. But still! Having come across this little gem canceled out the squeaky clean, or even generally clean, being an absolute rule.
The biggest reward I stumbled upon, putting me far out there on the curviest part of a bell curve, was discovering how racy books have produced lifelong avid readers. This common factor simply cannot go ignored.