At my last book club meeting where we discussed The Gathering by Anne Enright, I mentioned that some people whom I consider to be very literary really liked this book, and since I didn’t like the book, I feel like I’m not literary enough and that I should have liked it but I didn’t. I said something along the lines of, Why don’t I feel okay to just not like a book?
My friend (Hi, Becky!) pointed out that when we discussed Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri a few months ago, we discussed some things people who weren’t at the meeting didn’t like about the book (but who’d sent us their thoughts via email), and I said, “What they don’t get about the book is…” I basically dismissed their not liking a book because they didn’t “get” it. Why do I feel the need to explain what someone didn’t “get” about a book?
I came to the conclusion that it’s not that I’m purposefully being judgemental, but I just want them to like the book as much as I do! Maybe if I explain to them what I think they missed or misinterpreted about the book, they’ll change their minds and like the book more!
It’s hard when someone doesn’t love a book I thought was fantastic! My mind has a hard time wrapping itself around the fact that not everyone thinks this book is great. If I think a book is great, why wouldn’t anyone else?
From now on I’m going to let people not like a book, even if I loved it.
It’s not like this is unique to books and readers, though. I don’t understand how anyone couldn’t like pasta…or garlic bread…or Ben & Jerry’s Brownie Batter Ice Cream. That stuff is so good! How could your taste buds not like that stuff?!
Is there a book you don’t understand why others haven’t liked it? Have you ever tried to convince others about why they should have like a book? Has someone ever tried to convince you of a book’s merits?