It’s Not You, It’s Me….Or Is It? I Don’t Freaking KNOW!

Oh George. <3

I read a book recently and I had a hard time getting into it. I didn’t care to pick it up and I just didn’t feel connected. I decided to pick it up and just finish it and after reading for a bit I found myself totally into it.

But here’s the thing…I had to wonder if it was my fault or if I truly didn’t like the book at first. I had been at the beach and really just busy every weekend. I had just picked it up here and there and would get interrupted. There were a lot of external forces that were competing for my attention and possibly contributing to my disconnect with the book. It’s when I had a large junk of time to devote to it that I was really into it.

And I wonder this a lot when I read a book. Does my state of mind or the time I have to devote reading to it or even WHERE I’m reading it contribute to how I judge a book? Sometimes I’ll read a book and think, “I probably would have enjoyed that more if I wasn’t so stressed” or “If I was in the mood for that type of book I think I would have had a better experience”. So then I sit there and wonder if I really just didn’t LIKE a book because of the book itself (and no matter if I was sitting on a hammock in some tropical oasis would I ever in hell like this book) or would I have actually liked the book if my reading of it was more focused or if I wasn’t so upset about something. Do I need to say, “Book, it wasn’t you. It was me. I wasn’t emotionally there. I should have read you when I was more relaxed, etc.” Or do I need to just move on and say, “Book, straight up. It’s YOU. You suck. I can’t blame myself for your inadequacies.”

Now make no mistake, I don’t think this every time I dislike a book BUT there are some instances where I have to wonder when I start to reflect about my feelings of the book to write the review.

Does anybody else ever have this problem? Do you ever wonder your dislike for a book has to do with YOU or some other external force or did you just really not like the book and nothing could change that?

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 30 year old married lady who is in denial that she's actually that old. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, listening to music with oversized headphones and having adventures with her husband and dog.

Comments

  1. First off, I love Seinfeld!!!

    Secondly, you are so not alone. I think so much contributes to the way you judge a book. All of the outside influences in your life shape who you are in a certain moment and the book is stuck in whatever moment the author was in at the time it was written. If you are not at that same point then it can be incredibly difficult to connect. There is one book in particular that comes to my mind. I read "Eat, Pray, Love" in high school and I had to put it away. I just did not "get" what the fuss was about and I thought the narrator was whiny. Then, as I went through different experiences and picked up that same book I started relating in ways I could never have imagined. I think a lot of books are experiences that you have to be ready for.

  2. I had this problem quite recently, where I was trying to force myself to sit down and read a book I had for review because of time constraints, even thou I really wasn't in the mood for it.

    I think all the external factors definitely have some sort of impact.

    Interesting post!

  3. literarywife says:

    Yes! I actually wrote a post about this a few months ago, the "reading experience" and how it affects our view of the book itself. You are not alone, my friend, and I am frustrated with it as well.

  4. Ginger @ GReads! says:

    My mood reflects a lot on how I feel about a book that I am reading. When I find myself in a "reading slump" I always feel bad for whatever book I am reading at the time. I know they won't get the love they deserve, ha!

  5. thelibrarianreads says:

    Oh, sometimes it's def. me. If I'm reading a book…that I think I should be enjoying and I'm just not…I put the book down. Even if I'm halfway through. If I'm distracted, not interested, or not in the mood I'll stop and pick it up later.

    However, if it really is the book…it is. But that's usually because of the writing, or an annoying character…and no amount of book focus is going to change aspects like that.

    Ultimately, Know thy self as a reader…and stop when you should be enjoying and you aren't.

  6. Chrisbookarama says:

    When I feel this way, I'll check out reviews until I find one that agrees with me. Then I say, "See, book, it was you all along." lol!

  7. Annette says:

    I'm fairly certain that my mood does affect the way I feel about a book sometimes. There are books that I know just aren't for me, but other times, I think I should try the book again at a different time (which is hard to do, when your TBR is so tall!!)

  8. Rebecca says:

    This is a great post and your right. I think mood can really effect how I feel about a book. If I don't have a lot of time I too find myself not liking something, I put it down and go to another book. I might pick it back up. If a book is for review I will make a point to try and get through it. If its a pleasure book, I just set it aside until I feel like trying again.

  9. Ryoutarou says:

    I've always thought the feelings people have towards what they're reading is circumstantial in every case. Sometimes there are books that you just can't get into because you're stressed and there's a bit of a mental block stopping you from connecting to the uplifting themes of the book. It's a pretty interesting way to look at the idea of reading to make oneself feel better since that varies by person.

  10. First of all, I love Seinfeld so great pick with the video clip. Secondly, I definitely can relate to this, especially with review books that I feel like I have to read. With my own books I wait and read them when I'm in the right mood. Most of the time I feel like I have to finish a book if I'm already half-way through, otherwise after a few chapters if I'm not feeling it, I give up and move on to something else.

  11. Yani {AvidReader} says:

    This happens to me too. In fact this weekend as well, I started Iron King and it took me a while to get into, if not for the love many bloggers have for it, I would have put it down. Now I am on book 2 and loving it!

  12. melissa @ 1lbr says:

    Yes. I think it does affect my reading all the time. I have no problem with that (now). I posted about this quite a while ago and I think it's perfectly ok to accept that anything in real life can affect how you read a book. 🙂

  13. It definitely depends on my state of mind. I mean, there are some books that I'm just like, "HOW DID YOU GET PUBLISHED" though I would never actually say those words aloud. But most of the time I can tell pretty easily what exactly kept me from connecting.

    For example, Tell Me a Secret was a well written, realistic story. I realized that but reading it was like pulling teeth. I think this is just because I was SOOO burned out on the-dare I say-HYPE surrounding teen pregnancy (Teen Mom, 16 and Pregnant) that reading about it made me want to bash my head against the wall.

    SO yes. Me too. Heh.

  14. I have this problem so often. I almost always enjoy the book in the end. Sometimes I even end up giving them 5 stars. This is why it bothers me sometimes when people put down a book I loved and wont finish it. But I do get that too. It's their life. They don't have to waste part of it reading a book they don't get on the chance that they *might* like it after finishing.

    This is one of the reasons though, that I love to read multiple books at a time. Doing that totally takes away from the feeling that a book is dragging (whether it truly is or not) and I end up enjoy much more of my reading time.

    Thanks for the great post!

  15. Amy @ bookgoonie says:

    The book I read before sometimes affects me. Too much paranormal, not enough, need an adult read, or something light.

    Love the Seinfeld clip.

  16. Laura @ Bunny Tales says:

    On the other hand, when I find that book that busts right through every mood, that I jones to get back to, that makes me happy in anticipation just thinking about it… a 'soul mate' of a book…that's when I know I've hit on a very special thing!! 🙂

  17. Cat the Librarian says:

    Oh good heavens yes!!!

  18. It's so bizarre. I have to feel a connection with the book or I won't have the motivation to finish it. And my mood and/or busy schedule can totally interfere with whether or not I can stay with a book til the end. I blogged on how crazy my summer has been and how I have been unable to commit to any books because of it, some of them by my favorite authors!!

  19. Meg @ A Bookish Affair says:

    I definitely feel that way. Sometimes I feel that if I don't get at least 50 pages into a book in one sitting when I first start reading the book then I seem to lose interest in the book!

  20. I've absolutely had this problem with books and it's one of the reasons I hate having a pre-determined list of books to read instead of just going with the flow. You need to be in the right frame of mind for certain books or you could miss out on something that, if read at another time, could end up being a favorite read.

  21. Bailey (The Window Seat Reader) says:

    I have ALWAYS wondered this, too. In fact, I have thought about writing a post about it often. Great minds… 🙂 I feel like the moodiest reader, though. If my frame of mind isn't right, or if something major is going on in life… I think it definitely affects my enjoyment of certain books. I'm beginning to think my reviews should come with a 'moody reader' warning label. 🙂

  22. Uomo di Speranza says:

    I absolutely agree with you, since it is after all only YOUR perception of the book that really determines how you feel about it. Even if the book doesn't have the best writing, one can adore it because it appeals to THEM. So if one wants to be successful in life, he should be as many different people as possible (Just some food for thought…)

    PS: Please check out my blog, Meditations of a teenage philosopher, where philosophical concepts are taken from books and applied to life at http://meditationsofateenagephilosopher.blogspot.com/ Thank you!

  23. I definitely think there is a "me" factor in every book I dislike. I Also believe that the influence of time, place, and which books are being read around that same time have a big impact as well. If I'm in a particular mood and pick up the wrong book I've no doubt that it can influence whether I love it or hate it.

  24. I think your feelings for a book can depend on a lot of things. A book can just be bad or totally not your style. Other times, it can depend on life circumstances, why you’re reading it, whether you’re in the mood for it, or what’s happened to me, what you just finished reading. For example, I don’t think I ever would have loved His Dark Materials, but I might have liked it a little better if I hadn’t just read The Hunger Games. Also, after I read Harry Potter, I have a really hard time reading anything!
    Also, I just picked up A Thousand Splendid Suns from the library, but since I seem to be on a YA paranormal/dystopian kick right now, I may have to send it back unread and get it again when I’m ready. Otherwise, I may unnecessarily hate it.

  25. Kelsey @ The Lost Book Reports says:

    sometimes it is a mix of both.. I hate when I am at the end of a book and the characters are confessing their love and they are about to kiss… and then! my husband walks in asking me a ? about something SO unimportant and now the moment is ruined!

  26. THIS POST. This happens to me all the time. I find myself wondering–especially when it’s something that other people have loved–if the reason something isn’t clicking with me is because I’m just not in the right mindset for it or if I just disagree with them/don’t like it, and then I struggle with being honest with myself, because I know that I’m sometimes a moody reader. But WAHH! I want to love EVERYTHING!! Alas.
    And of course, thinking about this gets me thinking about DNFing and how much I hate doing it, but still sometimes can’t help it. It’s so discouraging to me as a reader not just when I don’t finish a book in general, which makes me sad, but I don’t usually pick up books that I’m NOT excited about, so to read something and have it be less enjoyable than I was hoping is possibly the hugest bummer ever. Especially if it’s so disappointing that I can’t even finish it. UGH.

Trackbacks

  1. […] 5) I’m always afraid that it might be a mood thing. What if I put it down thinking I don’t like it but it’s really NOT the book, it’s just my mood or i’m distracted. I touched on this a little bit in a post entitled “It’s Not You, It’s Me.” […]