Thursday, June 09, 2011
I Don’t Want To Know: What Influences Your Reading From The Literary Blog Hop
This week, Meagan at the Blue Bookcase asks and answers her own question: “What other outside influences affect your reading experience? Do you think these influences enhance or detract from the experience?” Meagan goes on to describe how she came to watch the movie The Secret Garden then read the book. This changed her experience reading the book and enjoying it as it was intended.
I try to never watch the movie before reading the book. Most times, if I’ve seen the movie, I don’t end up reading the book, even if I’m told how amazing it is. I’m not going to read a book if I know the ending. It takes away from the experience for me. I like to be surprised. I like to not know who’s going to end up together, die or be the villain. I hate knowing the ending, whether it’s a book or movie. Someone ruined the endings of The Sixth Sense and Fight Club for me. So I haven’t actually watched either of those movies, even though I know they’re great and I haven’t read Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club either. I’ve been told that reading/watching Fight Club more than once let’s you pick up on new things you didn’t notice the first time, but I didn’t get a first time and now I think I’m bitter.
The only exception to this rule (and I’m not excluding future exceptions) is Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone. I watched this movie before I read the book. My husband (then boyfriend) had the books, but they were so overly hyped, that I didn’t bother with them. Then I saw the movie with him and loved it! So I read the books and I happily jumped onto the Harry Potter bandwagon. The movie did influence my reading of the books, however. Though I tried, I had a really difficult time not imagining the actors as I read the books. It was different if I was reading about a character that I hadn’t seen in a movie yet, but I think I will always imagine Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter.
Honestly, hype influences how I read a book too. I go in expecting them to be great, but initially I’m resistant. I didn’t read Harry Potter when it first came out because of the hype. It took me ages to read The Hunger Games trilogy for the same reason. Hype, I think, falls into the “Others’ Opinions” category. Harry Potter and The Hunger Games had positive opinions, but when I was a teenager, I was against reading Margaret Atwood. I had some friends who had read Cat’s Eye, The Edible Woman and The Handmaid’s Tale in high school. Somehow I missed all those classes and never read one of her books. These friends of mine hated them. They couldn’t stop talking about how bad they were. So I never picked one up. It was only until I was assigned The Handmaid’s Tale in University that I realized what I was missing. Now, Atwood is one of my favourite authors.
I think that you should try as best you can not to let outside influences detract from your reading of a book. I can’t really think of any that have enhanced my reading experience, except that a good recommendation can often lead me to a book that I otherwise would not have picked up.
I also thought about non-bookish outside influences, like culture, history and personal experiences. There’s also noise, quiet, mood, etc. Then I looked at how long this post was and decided to just say, I try to be in as much of a cocoon as possible when reading, so that I get the full experience of the story and I try to be objective. Does this always happen? No.
Do you let outside influences get to your when reading?