Booking Through Thursday: Peer Pressure

September 4, 2008 at 11:52 pm | Posted in Book Blather | 1 Comment

Here is my response to this week’s Booking Through Thursday:

When ‘everyone else’ is reading something, my first response is curiosity.  What is it about this book?  Much of my reading involves books that either critics or friends are fussing over.  That being said, of course I have felt pressure to read a particular book from time to time.   When people know you read, and they want to share with someone, they’re more likely to pick you.

I was ‘pressured’ to read Harry Potter, by my friend’s then 10-year-old.  I wish I’d listened sooner – it took me months.  I was ‘pressured’ to read the Wheel of Time series by three separate people over several years, and after 6 volumes I’d say I have pretty mixed feelings about that.  I was ‘pressured’ to read Outlander by my best friend, and utterly amazed myself by enjoying it immensely.  I was ‘pressured’ to read A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, which I finally did 7 years later and thought was great.

Come to think of it, is it just me, or does it seem like people are more likely to pressure each other to read series of books?

Sometimes a book comes out that ‘everyone else’ is reading, and I drop everything and read it.  Usually, looking back, I can’t think what the fuss was about – except for Stephen King – I admitted I was powerless against Stephen King and turned myself over to a higher power.  Let’s see, there was The Bridges of Madison County (I was, what, 19?) and The Celestine Prophecy (my grandma and I both tried to recommend it to each other at the same time) and The Da Vinci Code (before I did the research) and The SecretThe Alienist and Blink and Eats Shoots and Leaves and Women Who Run With the Wolves fare a bit better in retrospect.

Usually, though, someone either recommends or lends me a book, and if I get to it at all, it’s several months later.  Of course I return lent books, I just like to make sure I’ve read them first.  I say ‘lent’ instead of ‘borrowed’ because people bring them to me of their own free will.  If I see someone with a book I desperately want to read, I go and track it down on my own.

I’m an inveterate book pusher, myself.  I believe in my heart that there is a book out there for everyone, and if people would just read these books, all their troubles would magically disappear.  I’ve foisted everything from Your Money or Your Life to Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus on my long-suffering friends.  I’ve sublimated this tendency by writing reviews instead.  That way, if someone reads something based on my recommendation, there’s no way to track me down and shake me.

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  1. I was in that first wave of Bridges Of Madison County readers, and I couldn’t understand why women were so nuts for this novel. Gag. Clint Eastwood improved it some in the movie version, but that’s not saying much.


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