Monday, October 08, 2007

The psychology of reading preferences

This isn't going to be a well-researched thesis, or even a well-thought-out idea; more an opening for a discussion.

Being temporarily out of books to read, last night I grabbed Lionel Shriver's We Need To Talk About Kevin again. I've already read it through twice, and here I am starting it for the third time. I'm starting to wonder whether it's significant, that it's so easy for me to enjoy a novel about the mother of a high school mass murderer.

I like to think that, apart from the story, it's Shriver's great writing style that draws me in, her use of language (lots of interesting words but none of them I have to look up in the dictionary).

Or maybe its Eva's (the main character) love of intrepid travel that reminds me of myself. Her ambivalence about motherhood resonates with me, but I think I'm much, much happier than she was.

It's definitely not that I think TLM will turn out like Kevin. Although TLM will probably grow up to be some sort of mad genius, I truly believe she won't be an evil one.

Hmm...it could really do one's head in...

So - how do you think that your favourite book reflects your self?

12 comments:

glomgold said...

That sounds like an interesting book. I'd never heard of it before.

I think my favorite book is probably Crime and Punishment. The moral debate in it is something I've considered a lot on a hypothetical level. Keep the mind working; I guess that's a good thing!

Violet said...

So...does that mean you're interested in your guilt levels?

Harry Potter said...

It depends on my mood (or life situation u can say)...I keep on changing my prefrence from, fiction to non fiction, fairy tales to some serious stuff , sometimes religious...sometimes completely sci-fi.....Basically I love reading different types of book....

Make Tea Not War said...

Hmm...at the moment the books I am most returning to are recipe books- the Post Punk Vegan Kitchen and Vegetarian Indian Cooking for Your Home- I think that probably says I'm a vegetarian and like cooking and also that I am on sabbatical so have lots of free time (*cough* I mean am free from teaching and admin responsibilities so I can dedicate myself to research)

I also really like Terry Pratchett and I return to a number of his books quite frequently-I can't quite decide which is my favourite one- maybe that says I'm a little bit of a geek and like a laugh(?)

Angela said...

I would have to say at the moment I don't have a favorite, because I have been reading so many new ones. My favorite catogory is mystery and I think I am reflected in these books because in my life I am a mystery I just don't know how I got here.

Violet said...

harry potter: that's a very non-committal kind of answer, I reckon, so maybe that's what you are :-)

mtnw: I'd say that if your favourite Pratchetts are the later ones then you must be geekier than if you prefer the earlier ones - just from personal experience (i.e. the boy and me).

angela: maybe you just like the idea of being able to find the answer to every mystery? 'Cos mystery novels never end unresolved.

Harry Potter said...

"Petrificus Totalus"

Kazzer said...

Lord of the Rings. Shows I have an unnatural fascination with elves (esp. Orlando Bloom's Legolas). Also don't mind being bored - I must have read this book about 12 times.

Nigel Patel said...

My favorite book is Gore Vidal's "Burr" about the maligned dualist Vice President who attempted twice to be King of Texas and settled for exile in Napoleonic France and obscurity in a Manhattan law practice.
But I've been to Texas twice and would not want to be there. Even as it's King.

Jon said...

Hmmm, my favorite book(s) are the Ripley series by Patricia Highsmith, who has a knack for writing about sociopaths.... this is isn't looking so good :P

Violet said...

harry potter: !!

kazzer: well, it should be that you're boring - but that's not right :-)

nigel: but maybe you'd like to be king of someplace though?

jon: you might be a likeable serial killer, like Dexter :-)

glomgold said...

I guess so, more specifically, whether I would succumb to guilt over what should be considered a morally reprehensible act. I guess I hope I never find out.