There once was a time when my primary concern going into a novel was being entertained. My life has never been excessively shitty, but there are some days where I need that escape and for the longest time, books were just that. They were my escape. My only escape.
Times have changed. I read less now, but I don't feel like my love for books has diminished; only my dependence has, and diversifying my interests may not be a bad thing. It has certainly resulted in more experiences and better writings. But, I digress.
It used to be that for me to be satisfied with a book, I needed to be entertained and that was it. I never wanted my life to change; I never fretted over other things to do. I could read and if the book did its job correctly, I would forget. I figured blogging would open new doors; I could be even closer to this hobby that I adore so dearly.
I am now. I understand publishing and what goes on behind a book much better than the average person. I've been contacted by publishers and authors and publicists. I know industry trends and many worries. I've swam beneath the waters to take a closer look than the proverbial iceberg (and *brr* it's freezing!) and now everything has changed.
Refining a critical and analytical eye means that I look for something more in books than "Did I like it?" There is a sense of responsibility because I'm not just looking at books for me, but I'm also looking at books for other readers, bloggers, and authors.
This change came into view after I reviewed Mystic City. The book earned 1 star from me, although at the end I explained how the story entertained me. If you read a book for entertainment, that book deserves a much higher rating.
I don't read books for entertainment anymore. I wan
t a book to transcend pure entertainment and become something meaningful to me. I want it to be a part of me; something that touches me and reawakens some emotion I have.
This doesn't mean I'm looking for emotional, deep books. A book with a plot or fantastical setting that transports me into a different world is enough. The most important element I look for now is a connection.
It is something I desperately crave when I read. A connection to plot, setting, characters... anything. I don't need to have fun; fun isn't necessary. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green was not fun. I hate that book even though and because it made me cry and I remember whining to my mom about how unfair the world was. Not fun. Not even likable- I don't want to feel so desperate for something substantially constant. There was a connection though. A very powerful connection that made me angry because I didn't like having my emotions turned around because of a cancer book and there was anger at myself too (Why the hell would I put myself through this?) and it was one of the most powerful reading experiences I had because of the negativity and the positivity.
Fun is great; I'm over fun. Gone are the days where I used to read Gossip Girl and The A-List. Maybe one day I will go back to wanting a book to entertain me and nothing more. Right now, I want connections and possible impacts. Books like Insigina by S.J. Kincaid are ideal because they can both entertain and engross; there are deeper aspects to the plot and world building that resonate.
I don't begrudge anyone that looks for a simple escape when they read. I'm not a person of absolutes; sometimes I will accept a book just for fun. But right now, the books I enjoy are those that can form a connection.