Blogmas #11: Reading Generously

A while ago now, John Green said something in one of his Youtube videos that I've been thinking about on and off ever since: "for stories to work, readers and writers must both be generous."

It's a simple sentiment, but it's really made me rethink my approach to reading. How many times have I persevered with a book that I wasn't really enjoying, and found myself getting increasingly eye-roll-y at every little thing, even things I might have liked if they were in a book I was otherwise enjoying? How many times have I thought, "I bought this book, so I'm going to read it ALL," or continued to read series I knew I thought were kinda junky, because I was addicted to that kind of superior feeling I would get every time I rolled my eyes?

Persevering with a book I'm not enjoying isn't exactly going to make me happy, but it also does a disservice to the book. I'm sure no author wants their work hate-read, and hate is probably the only feeling that's going to arise if you're forcing yourself to read hundred of pages that don't jive with you.

It's so easy to get caught up in the mass of a TBR pile, trying to race through books as quickly as possible and not really giving them a chance to shine. It's also really easy to pick up books expecting them to be bad, either because we read scathing reviews after we bought them, or because we think they sound bad but they're popular so whatever. And if we just bring cynicism and nitpicking to the experience, well... that book's gonna suck, no matter what it is.

I want to be a generous writer, in all different ways. But I also want to be a more generous reader, even if that means reading less books in the long run, or missing out on "must read" books that I know, from page one, aren't for me.