Thursday, March 31, 2011

Does a book's status affect your opinion?

It's Thursday which means it's another literary blog hop hosted by The Blue Bookcase! The question for this hop is: Do you find yourself predisposed to like (or dislike) books that are generally accepted as great books and have been incorporated into the literary canon? Discuss the affect you believe a book's status has on your opinion of it.

I want to start off apologizing in advance in case this post turns out to be rambling and incoherent. I got home late last which means I didn't get much sleep and lack of sleep tends to make be babble. I'd like to say the lack of sleep is cos I was out celebrating my birthday, which is part of it. Those of you who follow me on Twitter also know that some jackass coming back from the Knicks game puked all over the car I was in on the LIRR, which meant we got to hang around Queens for some time while that got cleaned up. (See what you're missing if you don't follow me on Twitter! It's all gold like that.) Really, learn to hold your liquor or stay off public transportation.

Anyway, the question! I do find myself forming a tentative opinion of a book before reading it and sadly it's usually negative. Or at least wary. I'm not exactly sure why I do this. I've read plenty of "classics," both ones that I thought were wonderful as well as ones that made me wish I was reading a phone book instead of this piece of "great literature". I'm not sure why I almost always go into "classic" books assuming it's going to be a painful experience but I know it's certainly the case. Take for example Pride and Prejudice. I just recently read the original book. I've read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies a couple times and you better like P&P if you're going to give the zombie version a shot. And yet, when I finally got around to reading P&P (which took some convincing) I still thought I wasn't going to like it. I don't know why, other than I'm very stubborn. I'm currently doing it with Jane Eyre. So many people say it's their favorite book. My favorite series begins with the book The Eyre Affair. I have a copy of the book and yet I'm really struggling to get myself to just start it.

I try to repeat to myself that a good story is a good story and not to be intimidated by the status of the book. I'm not going to say I've loved or even liked every classic I've read, but it's even enough that I really need to get over this knee-jerk reaction.

What about you? How does a book's "status" affect your opinion of it?