I am meeting a friend today to chat about books. It’s nothing formal, we just realized we’d read several of the the same books and decided to share and compare. And to see if she can convince me I am wrong about one of them. (Ha! I will be convincing her, of course.)
But more and more, I realize how subjective reading is. Even for myself. The when I read a book can make a difference. Right now I am re-reading an old favorite…and I don’t love it the way I used to. Something has changed. It’s not the book, obviously.
This is something I think is particularly tricky when it comes to reading books for children–as adults. We can imagine what our child-self would have thought or felt, but do we have it right? And does it even matter?
As a recent participant in the First Annual San Diego Mock Newbery Discussion hosted by Jonathan Hunt, I was struck by the subjectivity of reading–and discussing–books. I found my opinion shifting simply by talking about each of the brilliant books we’d read. And the discussion in Oakland hosted by his blog partner, Nina Lindsay, had completely different results when voting on the exact same books.
During the proceeding School Library Journal Heavy Medal Blog discussion, Jonathan posted this idea: “We often think of ourselves as perfect readers and the books as flawed, but what if it’s the other way around? The books are perfect and we are flawed.”
Interesting to ponder!
WRITING ON THE SIDEWALK