Monday, January 09, 2012

Being Open-Minded

I went through some old boxes last night and ended up coming across my journal from elementary school. It was every bit the embarrassing treasure trove you’d imagine (especially the part where I declared my love for our student teacher), but one entry stuck out to me.

Loosely translated, it said:
“When you choose a book, sometimes you already have an idea in your head about it. That’s the attitude you’ll have through the whole book, and it’ll seem that way.”

Huh. Not a bad observation, little Carrie. In fact, it reminds me of something we’re all guilty of from time to time...

See, there are some people in this world who force-loan their books. They’re co-workers, acquaintances, neighbors, classmates, etc. People you “know,” but don’t really know—if you know what I mean.  (Yep, three times. One sentence.) You’ve never shared interests or had any kind of book discussion with them, but they’re positive you’re going to love this book. They did, after all. Why wouldn’t you?

They ramble off some impromptu pitch, and you plaster on that I’m-feigning-interest-but-I’d-rather-watch-paint-dry smile. (Which is, of course, followed by the Oh-God-I-hope-you-forget-to-follow-up-on-this nod.) Maybe they make it sound boring. Maybe they make it sound pretentious. Either way, you form an opinion of the book long before it ever leaves their hands.

By the time you guilt yourself into reading it, you’ve already summoned the appropriate amount of dread. You glance at the clock and think, “Okay, I can probably power through this in a couple hours. Then I'll reward myself with a bottle of wine and my DVD collection of Firefly.” You grit through the first few chapters, hyperaware of the fact that you’re reading something against your will... but then (if you’re lucky), something funny happens.

You blink, and you’re one page 148.

Time passed, your guard lowered, but you have no recollection of anything outside the story. You became invested, despite your reservations, and now you have to finish it. Guess what? Come Monday morning, you’re going to be the one spouting this book’s praises—whether it’s to the person you borrowed it from or someone else.

Though, 47% of the time, the book will be a dud and you’ll have an awkward exchange to look forward to.  It happens.

Sometimes, you just have to be open-minded and give things a chance. You might be glad you did. :)

Have a great week, guys!

P.S. Thanks to Nancy Thompson for the Great Comments Award! I appreciate it! :)

Question of the Week: Have you ever been force-loaned a book?


C D Meetens said...

This is very true, and has happened to me a few times. Although one time I'm thinking of, the book was recommended by a really good friend, so it's not surprising I discovered I was impressed.

I'm not sure I've been force-loaned a book. I was encouraged to buy one once as a favour for someone. Unfortunately, that didn't turn out so well.

JeffO said...

"Force-loaned". Hah hah, I love it.

It hasn't happened with books anytime that I can recall, but it happens all the time with video snippets that my daughter foists upon me. They're usually humorous videos related to the Anime she watches. She'll say "you have to see this, it's so funny". Sadly, the humor is usually lost on me (and the music that accompanies most of them tyically makes me want to drive nails in my ears). It's OK, though, I make her watch clips of Malcolm in the Middle or old SNL clips, so I guess we're even.

April Plummer said...

Great post. Reminds me of my daughter. Whenever my husband, who does most of the cooking, makes something different, she doesn't want to try it. She already has it in her head that she's going to hate it. so when we make her eat it, she's scrunching up her nose before she even takes a bite. And doesn't want to eat it. We make her, of course, but still. It drives me crazy! LOL

Anonymous said...

So true, Carrie.

I experienced this last fall, when I became perhaps the last person on the planet to read The Hunger Games. I've never been a huge fan of YA literature, and saw no possible connection nor reason to invest my time in the book.


Speaking of hunger, I DEVOURED the first book in two nights and ordered the next two with the excitement of a six-year old at Christmas.

This experience reminded me of my years in high school, when I was "forced" to read the classics as requisites, only to discover that I really "dug" this writing thingie.


Cassie Mae said...

Your little self was very wise. Mine probably just said something about how the only books that existed in the world were the Harry Potter series.

I do this all the time, but I'm a big fan of all kinds of books, so when someone suggests something, it automatically goes into my TBR pile. so they know I won't get to it for a while since that pile has reached Mars by now.

Cortney Pearson said...

It's so funny to go back and read my old journals from when I was a kid too, but I think you were more insightful, ha ha. I have had friends and an aunt force-loan books and none of which I could really get into but I read for the sake of friendship/nieceship. It's hard to tell them I just didn't like the books, so I mostly try and fake through it and smiles and nods and subject-changing. :o)

cleemckenzie said...

I had to work on being open minded last month when I won a romance novel by commenting on a blog. I love the blog, but I'm not a romance fan. And here's the embarrassing part I'd never read a romance. So what to do?

Well, I read it. I found that I liked a lot about the way the writer crafted her characters and her story, so I reviewed it positively. Now maybe I should give another romance a chance.

There's a lot to be said for being open minded.

Angela Brown said...

I SOOO know what you mean. Forced-loan situations have to handled with kid gloves, especially when your dread is truly founded, something you discover as you're imagining birds tweeting out your window while the words on the page describe some blah scene you can't remember.

Iain said...

I don't know any literate people. On the odd occasion that people that have tried pushing books at me, they've tended to be picture books. :o|

Sally said...

This was scary. The whole time I was reading this, I had a person's name going through my mind, and I kept flashbacking (hurrah new word of the day!XD) to our exchange which you basically narrated xD Thing is, I still haven't touched her book. After reading this though, I'm willing to give it a chance...after I finish my Christmas books of course^^

Oh and, you were quite insightful in elementary school! My diaries from then are too embarrassing for me to go through completely without developing self-esteem issues XD

I am guilty of force-loaning books, I confess xD People usually love them, and I get someone to talk about it with, but other times...Yeah. I still have some missing books in other people's homes now that I think about it.

Alleged Author said...

Some of the best books require an open mind. When TWILIGHT came out, I read so many reviews saying it was crap. But you know what? Love it. Just goes to show ya. Great post!

Lydia Kang said...

This happens all the time, with books and people, and patients...our preconceived notions are so strong.

Emily R. King said...

Well said! I love that you were very smart, even then.

Peggy Eddleman said...

Ha! Awesome post! (Especially the part about the crush. ;))(And Little Carrie is adorable.) I haven't been forced loaned a book too many times, but pretty much every time, I've ended up loving the book. Go figure!

Lisa L. Regan said...

"They ramble off some impromptu pitch, and you plaster on that I’m-feigning-interest-but-I’d-rather-watch-paint-dry smile. (Which is, of course, followed by the Oh-God-I-hope-you-forget-to-follow-up-on-this nod.)"

Why does this moment keep recurring in my life?

Hah hah hah. It's not just books I've been force-loaned! Movies, baked goods,recipes, invitations. On it goes. It's just best to keep an open mind. Now with e-readers though it makes it harder for people to force-loan their books. Most of the time I don't mind trying out what other people love but my to be read pile is already so darn big!

Great post!

Melodie Wright said...

Not often but a librarian made me check out the first book in an adult paranormal series when she saw I had the last book (no idea it was a series or paranormal. The cover was so pretty!) I couldn't say no...and she took my choice! :( That's what I get for judging a book by its cover. (glittery covers are my downfall.)

Jennifer Hillier said...

Little Carrie was quite smart! :)

Yes, I've been force loaned books. It happens quite a lot, and it's hard to say no, especially when they're friends who loved said book and believe I MUST read it. I'm ashamed to admit I usually don't get around to reading them before they want them back!

Lauren Alissa Hunter said...

Haha I think I am often the person who is shoving books on people—“It’ll change your life, I swear!” But the same sort of thing happens to me about other things. Anytime I feel like I’m being coerced into trying something, I resist like a stubborn dog on a leash. I’m much more receptive to the Brear Rabbit approach—tell me NOT to do something, and I’m all about it.

Carrie Butler said...

@C D Meetens - Book recommendations from close friends are usually a safe bet. ('Usually' being the key word, of course.) ;)

@Jeff - Ah, yes. Videos are right up there with books, when it comes to people insisting you enjoy them. I'm glad you found a way to get even with her. *grins*

@April - Thank you! Oh, that's a perfect example. My nephew is the same way. This seems like the perfect time to say, 'Kids these days!' ;)

@Bryce - Don't you just love it when your preconceived notions are shattered? It's always an eye-opening experience. As for The Hunger Games, darn it, I want to read that book! I've been on a waiting list at the library for months. I think it might be time to cave in and use the gift cards I received for Christmas. ;)

@Cassie - Thank you! If only I had retained that wisdom... *Sighs*
Hah! I know what you mean. My TBR pile scares me a little. If it were physical, I'd probably be on a TLC TV Special. ;)

@Cortney - It is funny, isn't it? Hah! Why thank you. I wish I were that insightful now. :) Exactly! Such a sticky situation!

@Lee - Well, you know what I'm going to tell you. You SHOULD give romance a chance. (After all, I'm a romance writer...) *grins* Yes, there's definitely a lot to be said for being open minded. :)

@Angela - Oh yes. Kid gloves are a must. Otherwise, you might strain a relationship over something as silly as reading preferences. Ah, the joys of adulthood... :)

@Iain - You're lucky you live on another continent. That sounded like a challenge to force-loan you some less-than-stellar reading material. :P

@Sally - Hah! Sorry to prompt your "flashbacking," Sally. :P I'm glad you're willing to give it a chance, though! :) Aww, man! Now I'm curious about those embarrassing diaries, you force-loaner! Here's to hoping you get your books back (and start a blog soon). ;)

@Alleged Author - Exactly! To each his or her own. Thank you! :)

@Lydia - Absolutely! Sometimes it's hard to detect them in ourselves, but we have to try. :)

@Emily - Thank you! I wish I were half as smart now... :)

@Pegasus - Drat! I knew someone would pick up on that. Oh yes. (It was horrible--his name inside a little heart and everything!) LOL I'm glad your force-loan situations have been pleasant!

@Lisa - Oh man! You're a force-loan magnet! I never thought of it that way. E-readers definitely make it more difficult. Hmm...

Thank you! :)

@Melodie - If my book ever gets published, I'll be sure all Alaska-bound copies are covered in glitter. ;)

@Jennifer - Little Carrie had her moments. If only Adult Carrie would, too... *grins*

Don't you just hate that? There simply aren't enough hours in the day! ;)

@Lauren - Hah! It's like the circle of force-loans. Hmm, if my book ever gets published, I'll be sure to suggest you don't read it. *grins* Thanks for commenting!

Donna K. Weaver said...

My first experience with that was the book Dune by Frank Herbert. A friend had raved about it for a year, and when I was a freshman in college I broke down and started it--and skipped classes to finish it. Fabulous book.

Makes me wonder what the book was you were talking about.

Carrie Butler said...

@Donna - Nice! It must've been quite a book. As for my post, it was based on many experiences. Many, many experiences. (Which is why I'm into so many different genres today!) :)

Jenny S. Morris said...

Oh I have found stuff I wrote a long time ago and it's SO embarrassing. But little Carrie had some great thoughts. I've done this with books before but sometimes I can't get past the "I don't want to read this."

Becky Wallace said...

Yes! I have a friend who loves really sad novels--you know the kind where everyone the MC loves dies? Including small children? Yeah...those are not really my favs, but I'll read them. Then she'll say something along the lines of, "Wasn't it the best book you ever read?" And then I do the nod-and-smile and change the subject.

Carrie Butler said...

Any chance we'll get to read any of it? *grins* Okay, maybe not.

Yeah, it's pretty hard to get past the "I don't want to read this" thing. It takes a certain amount of (stubborn) determination... and sometimes that's too much effort for me. ;)

Carrie Butler said...

Oh man! Sad novels kill me inside. It's one thing to come across a sad twist, but to purposefully seek them out? That's almost masochistic! No wonder you had to do the nod-and-smile. ;) Thanks for stopping by!

Angela Ackerman said...

Someone gave me a memoir to read, and I was sure it was going to be the dullest thing in the world. The book was called The Glass Castle, and it was one of the most amazing stories I've ever read! Now I'm a lot more open to trying new genres in the adult book realm!

Carrie Butler said...

I know I already replied once, but now that we have threaded comments... well, I just couldn't help myself. I read The Hunger Games last night.

Wow. SO good! :)

Joylene said...

People who know me have to admit that I very seldom recommend a book. I'll tell them what I'm reading, why I enjoy it, but I won't recommend it. Why? Because so few of my writer/friends like the same genre as me. Family included. So--if I do recommend a book, they know it's gotta be good. It transcends genre and is just plain worth reading. If they do end up reading it and don't agree with me, I chalk it up to gene defects.

For instance, I'd recommend The Wind Thief by Martha Engber to anyone. It is an absolutely fabulous read. My husband didn't agree. My respond? He's weird.

Tara Tyler said...

you were an insightful writer at such a young age!

i try to give a book a chance, but by pg 50 if i cant take it anymore, its gone...

(love firefly!!)

Anonymous said...

Hunger Games: Cool read, eh?
Can't wait to recommend YOUR novel to others! :)

Patricia Marques said...

Very true, I often feel this way when people are too insistent over a book I should read. But it never hurts to give it ago.

Young me would not have understood that at all LOL

Carrie Butler said...

I would've assumed the same thing! Wow. I just might have to check that out! :) Thanks for stopping by!

Carrie Butler said...

It sounds like you're the best type of reading friend to have around! By the way, I might have to check out that book your weirdo husband didn't enjoy. I trust your judgment. :)

Carrie Butler said...

Thank you! If only I retained some of that insight... :)

I envy you! I'm always too worried that I'll miss something, so I usually stick it out.

(Hooray for Browncoats!)

Carrie Butler said...

Very cool! Aww, you're too sweet. I can't wait to do the same! :)

Carrie Butler said...

You're right. It never hurts to try it. :)

By the way, I'm following your blog now!

Janet Johnson said...

I have definitely been force-loaned a book, and like you said, it can go both ways. But I always dread reading the ones I didn't choose for myself. And I'm sure that taints my enjoyment of it. Then again, I have found some gems!

Carrie Butler said...

I always dread reading the ones I didn't choose, too. There's something very personal about book preferences, so it's hard to leave that choice in someone else's hands! Oh well. At least it pays off sometimes. :)