Monday, July 9, 2012

The Power of Subjectivity

Lost in a good book

At the library the other day, my three-year-old ran to me with sparklers in her eyes and a book in her hand.

"Mommy! It's The Book!"

I saw the cover and sighed. Yes, that book.

It was a book she talked about repeatedly. I was surprised how many details she remembered because we hadn't checked it out in awhile. And now she'd found it again!

Only thing is, I'm not crazy about this particular book (which shall remain unnamed.)*

It's fine, but it's not the kind of book I enjoy reading over and over and over again to an eager three-year-old.

Still, she was excited, so we checked the book out. And read it immediately when we arrived home.

All the parts I didn't like still bugged me. My inner editor was hard at work thinking how I could "fix" it.

But then I glanced sideways at my daughter and saw her contented smile and remembered how SUBJECTIVE reading is.

She's in love.

I'm glad it's with a book. Even if it's not MY favorite book.

How about you? Have you had any epiphany moments lately about the power of subjectivity? 

*The Book Which Shall Not Be Named is NOT the book in the picture, so don't go all Sherlock Holmes on me and try to figure it out.


  1. Sweet post; sweet picture.

    Good thing you put that anti-Sherlock warning on there--I'd dying to know which books you hate! :)

    Btw, just ordered chopsticks and spoon with some Amazon b-day money!

  2. I've noticed a lot of articles/posts around the internet in recent days regarding Adults reading YA. Definitely based on subjectivity.

    Love that picture. So wonderful to see our children fall in love with books, even if not our favorites. :)

  3. My daughter grabs the most unusual picks off the shelves and carries them to her room. Turn of the Screw, Mere Christianity. I'm guessing she's brilliant at 5. :D

    I constantly have to tell myself that people have different tastes and it's A okay.
    ~ Wendy

  4. I know it is funny how reading is so subjective. :)

  5. Ah, yes... I hate that. Someone gave my daughters these terrible little rhyming board books from the grocery store which leave me groaning. But they ask for them over. and over. and over.
    I cannot understand it, but I DO understand why editors say that they don't care how much your children/grandchildren/students love the book you wrote!

  6. I still think its amazing how differing my daughters taste is with mine. She doesn't find the books I adore as exciting as I do. It's all subjective, which we need to remember as writers. Not everyone will like our stories.

  7. Love the picture Amy, and yes, I was wondering if that was the book!
    There were some books that bugged me when mine were little, and it was a struggle to read them to the kids. I would just remember that a love of reading is such a gift.
    But it must be doubly difficult for you, as a writer.
    I can only compare it to how I'd react say, seeing a badly knitted sweater...fingers itching to unpick and correct it, lol!

  8. Oh, yeah, I've lots to say about subjectivity, but I'll just say that kids have no taste sometimes. Mine picked out the most atrocious truck and animal books when they were little -- I had to steer them towards the good ones. They loved practically everything, even the poorly crafted books. Like I say, there's no accounting for taste.

    But as they've gotten older, they choose the better books. Their tastes run to the adventuresome and literary. And they have discovered new authors for me to go fawn over ... Of course, I still have to monitor that they don't bring home crap. Thankfully, they don't like it.

    What a great picture of your daughter, lost in a book.

  9. So sweet! My boys like books I don't favor, but that's the beauty of reading (and writing). There's something for everyone!

  10. I have this same problem too. I've been known to hide favorite books. But luckily my kids kind of swtich favorites, so it's not like I have to keep reading the same awful book all year long.

  11. Good for you for realizing that! :)

  12. Was it the Little Engine that Could? Or any of the Thomas the Tank Engine books? (can you tell my youngest has a train obsession?)
    Yes, VERY subjective. And thanksfully, tastes change. ;)

  13. Yes, it's subjective. I sometimes question reading tastes of loved ones and my students, but as long as they get something from their book choices I'm happy for them.

  14. My son's still young enough where if a book bothers me that much, I change the wording of that horrible of me? Love the picture!

  15. Truer words have never been spoken, Amy! You are so right about readers not being writers. Or editors. But that's okay! There's something for everybody. Even sweet little punkins like your daughter. What a cute shot! :o) <3