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It’s not you. It’s not me. Well, ok it’s both of us.

June 20, 2011

Have you ever met another reader who you loved, socially, but just couldn’t meet eye to eye with on books?

In friendships, in loving relationships, in family relationships, I am all for working out differences. In terms of reading relationships, I think that if it’s not working, it’s just not working.

I noticed, a while ago, that a friend was taking an extra long time to read the books I had given to her. I also noticed that the books she had given to me were collecting dust. Now, usually, I’ll give most books a chance. I tend not to discount things on summary or cover, alone, but I’m not terribly interested in chick lit nor am I all that into  things that go bump in the night. And really, I don’t count Dan Brown as literature. This about makes up said friend’s style choice.

It turns out that if that is that case, it works, or rather, doesn’t work, in the other direction. Tana French, Hunger Games, existential ist ramblings and historical fiction were duds when gifted her way. She didn’t even crack them open.

Where I used to be offended on both ends (“Ugh, how could she not like Sartre?”or “What is she saying about me that she wants me to read Dan Brown? Is she saying I’m a moron?”) I am, finally, coming to a point of irreconcilable differences. I read a lot and I read a fairly wide variety. I think that’s why it has taken me so long to understand and become comfortable with the fact that we have to just, peacefully, call it quits.

Thank you for understanding and listening to my ramblings.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. June 20, 2011 8:18 am

    My sister and I like a lot of the same books, but totally disagree on others and we’re both okay with that.

  2. June 20, 2011 9:28 am

    LOL! I have this same problem with several reading friends. Our tastes just don’t match. But reading friends are great even when they don’t see eye to eye. It’s nice to have someone who understands when I’m bleary eyed at our coffee date because I was up til 3am reading.

  3. June 20, 2011 12:12 pm

    This is so true! My sister-in-law gave me a bunch of books one time, and I did try them, but I just couldn’t get into them. I did tell her, but it was so hard. It’s like you don’t want to offend the reader that you don’t like the same books as them. Although , it seems we don’t mind offending the author. . .:) Great post.

  4. June 20, 2011 12:38 pm

    I also tend to feel slighted when a book buddy doesn’t like the things I am crazy about, and then recommends a lot of drivel to me. I know how you feel, and I’ve just had to learn to let it go and find other like-minded individuals who I can share recommendations and opinions with. It seems like the only place I ever really find people who enjoy the kinds of books that I do is on the internet, never in real life for some reason!

  5. June 20, 2011 2:06 pm

    A friend of mine once gave a bag of her previously read books. And they were all Harlequin romance type books. Not something I typically read. I told her that weren’t my thing but suggested she give them to another friend of mine. I like a lot of YA fiction that most of my friends won’t read. Bu that’s ok. Different strokes for different folks.

  6. June 20, 2011 10:00 pm

    I totally hear you on this! I have a few friends that are not “reading compatible” with me so I just don’t even bring it up. We just pretend we both don’t read!!

  7. June 20, 2011 10:59 pm

    The real art would be to be able to know and appreciate a friend’s differing tastes well enough that, even though they are different than yours, you know whether or not to recommend something you encounter. It would be nice to be able to say, “I just read this new book that I wasn’t really my type but I think you would like it.” and be right.

  8. June 22, 2011 11:17 am

    My sister and I both read constantly, but we are interested in very different types of books. I rarely pass along to her something that I have enjoyed so that I don’t have to live through her ‘meh’ comments about it. She rarely recommends books that she enjoys to me either.

    On the positive side, when I am sent ARC books to review in genres that don’t interest me I can put them aside for my sister. All that new release vampire fiction that leaves me cold makes her very, very happy.

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