Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Evaluating Opinions Of Books

So, I finally started reading Fifty Shades of Gray. The two main things I had heard about it were that it was badly written and that it was pornographic. True readers, like myself, readily admit to reading at least some of anything we come across, from cereal boxes to Penthouse Magazine. I don't think Shades is any more explicit than much contemporary romance and certainly not as much as erotic romance. I kinda have to wonder what the people who are shocked by it generally read and what made them pick up this particular book.
      I will say that it could use some editing, but it's not as awful as I was led to believe. There are engaging characters and a romantic love story with interesting complications. There are a lot of things about the author's style that I think are unique and good. (This is evidence of my twisted sense of humor, but I'm very amused by how the protagonist relates some of her feelings. I don't remember the exact quotes, but some examples were a variation of this: "My inner goddess was licking her lips." and "My subconscious was huddled on the couch with her head in her hands.")
     I will also be interested to see if I am drawn to read the sequels to this book and if they will show  improvement in the author's writing. As I've said in a previous post, I have seen this in series books from some of my favorite, very talented, series authors.  Wherever we are in our careers and professions, if we keep working at it and trying to get better, we will keep improving in our craft.
     While readers are free to have and share any  opinions about books, I don't think they should base their judgements of any work on personal preference. If they don't like how it's written, that doesn't necessarily mean that it's badly written. If they don't like the characters, that doesn't mean the book has poor characterization.
     It's a fact that writers are compulsive editors. We evaluate everything we read with an appreciation of what is done well and an eye for what could be done better. But I feel that in doing so, and because we have a professional, if not expert view,  we are fair in our assessments. I need to always keep this in mind when listening to both writers and non-writers opinions of books.


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