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Monday, June 24, 2013

Monday Discussion: Thought You Wouldn't Like It, Found Out You Loved It

Okay, that may be one of the longer Monday Discussion titles ever, but after doing some work for NoveList over the weekend, this point came up and I though it was worth sharing.

Let me explain.

Over the weekend I finished up my edits of the Read Alike Article on the author John McPhee for NoveList.  One of the reasons I agreed to take up the update of this older article is because of my personal admiration for the writing of McPhee.  I did not encounter McPhee until early in the 2000s when I read his work in the New Yorker.  I was especially taken by his pieces on Shad fishing and on coal trains.  Both essays became parts of the longer books The Founding Fish and Uncommon Carriers.

Now, I do not particularly care about fishing at all, let alone Shad fishing and I certainly did not think much about the transportation industry here in America, but while reading these books, McPhee enthralled me and made me hungry for more information.  The way he writes, no matter the subject, intrigues me.  I want to read what he has to say about anything and everything.

I put this into the update in a more elegant fashion which you will be able to see in the coming weeks on NoveList; however, after I had sent the update off to my editor, I started thinking about other times this unexpected joy in finding a love where I thought there was no interest has happened to me.

I very clearly remembered when Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand was so very popular (2003-04).  I had refused to read it because I didn't really horses and horse racing.  I saw no reason why I would enjoy a book about it then.  And then one day a trusted patron stopped by my desk and said I should read it.  I told her I don't like horses.  She said, "Neither do I and I loved this book."  So I took the plunge figuring it would hate it, but she was correct, I loved it.  Technically this is a book about the horse, but it reality it is about the three men who were most involved with Seabiscuit and about America in the 1930s. As a side result, I also developed a new admiration for horse racing.

A more recent example occurred when I was hesitant to read 11/22/63 by Stephen King because I didn't want to read another Kennedy Assassination book.  But again, after hearing that it was about so much more, I did dive in.  You can see the results in detail here. Fantastic!

These are only 3 instances off the top of my head of times I thought I would dislike something only to find out later that I loved it.  I frequently use these books and my experiences with them as examples with patrons when I am trying to get them to give a new book or author a chance.  People can usually relate because they have had a similar experience before, be it with a book or a new food, or even a career change.

So for today's Monday Discussion, share your experience with a book or author you resisted trying because you just knew you wouldn't like him or her, only to give in and find you were so very wrong.

Also, if we all share our comments, they just might help other patrons to get out of reading ruts and try something new.

For past Monday Discussions, click here.


Betty said...

The first book that comes to mind is The Paris Wife. I don't much care for Ernest Hemingway as a person or as a writer, so I thought I wouldn't care to learn about this marriage. But I found the book to be fascinating and a very sympathetic portrayal of Hemingway's first wife. I really felt for her, and was happy that life turned out well for her.

John BPL RA said...

American Skin by Don DeGrazia jumps to mind. It's about a young man who sets off on his own early in life and ends up in Chicago in the 1980s/early 90s where he is taken in by the various subcultures of the north side while working in a nightclub. I related to it immensely on a personal level and felt like I was reading my own life story at times. I didn't think I'd like it because of the inclusion of two opposing groups of skinheads (racist and non-racist) but found that they were only one element in the book.