Monday, January 23, 2012

Are Expectations Lower After a Disappointing Book?

This topic came to mind after I read The A Circuit, a novel about a few preppy kids in competitive jumping. Sadly I finished the book being slightly dis-enamored with the characters and uninterested in completing the series.

The next book I read was Anna and the French Kiss, which I thoroughly loved.  But then I thought, would I have loved it as much if I hadn't just been disappointed? Could it be that I was only pleased with Anna because  I wasn't pleased with Circuit?

I think it's more than possible. It happens when I'm reading books for school. Currently I am tackling a dialogue novel from 15th century Spain entitled The Celestina. After reading a few scenes I am more than happy to dive into a chapter of Uglies. Which now makes me wonder, what books do I have good memories of that I might find worse if I read them now, simply because back then I'd just read something I didn't like?

If I can make that last sentence any more convoluted, let me know.

What do you think? Are our expectations for books lower or higher after we read something we didn't like?

2 comments:

  1. Hmm, good question. I think a previous read could influence expectations for whatever book I might pick up next.

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  2. That's interesting to think about. I definitely agree our reading choices are affected by our recent reads, to a degree, but I haven't ever consciously paid attention. I suspect the reverse is true, too - you just finish a spectacularly awesome book and the next one you read is constantly being compared to it (even if only at a subconscious level). Maybe books you'd otherwise have quite enjoyed end up falling flatter because they have to follow up that great book.

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