So, I have to admit it, I can be quite a moody reader. I have seen others mention this so I know I am not completely alone. It makes sense that some days you may be more in a mood for one type of book than another. But yet sometimes I can’t help but wonder how that impacts my reviews. First, most books I think my opinion of will be the same. If I pick up a GRRM book, regardless of mood, I will likely love it. There are other authors, I’ll be nice and not name, that I can read on any day and immediately regret any time spent reading. But there are some books that I think I need to be in the right mood for or they are doomed and I feel this sense of responsibility to try an match it. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. And sometimes I feel I have to ask my self if I am sure I don’t like it solely because of my mood or is there some other problem with the book that I just can’t identify. Something that is keeping me from engaging with it on the level I would need to to really appreciate it.
I can sometimes recognize books that I enjoy but suspect I would not like on another day. Books where I am more taken in by the pace or the characters to care as much about silly events or happy coincidences that might otherwise cause be to me to want to hurl the book, or maybe just hurl in general. For these, even though I enjoyed them that day, I feel conflicted about what to include in my review. I usually do include the things I recognize because I feel the obligation to let people know, “hey, you know I think this does have some issues. They are things that normally bother me, but today, I just didn’t care.” Maybe this seems wishy washy and I certainly feel like it brings the review down a notch or two. But then, I figure I did notice these things, even while I was enjoying it. So unless I absolutely loved the book and felt it was so strong in so many otherwise (truthfully, this has never been the case when I get this feeling of maybe not liking it another day), I think I should still mention it.
Sometimes with these books, I also wonder if it is possible that there is some quality to the writing that I am not giving them enough credit for. Is it just that I was in the mood for a pulpy, mindless or pure escapist read? Or is there something more. I often think authors don’t get enough credit for writing stories that are just pure fun. I think there is skill in crafting a story like that, but feel that often gets overlooked.
So, those are books that worked better for me than I think they might another day. That would lead me to discuss books that might like if I read another day but did not. I have a harder time with these books. Among other things, I often feel like I maybe I might like some other time or, or disappointed because I feel like I should like it. But I don’t. I just can’t change that or see past it. I have a harder time finding positive things to balance my overall feelings of detachment and disappointment. Writing reviews can be hard. And once again, I have to ask myself, how much of this is really about my mood? Am I just looking to place blame on myself? Or were there real reasons that this book did not work for me? Should I look harder to identify them? And if I can’t, what do I say? “This book irked me but I think I should like it? Maybe I’m just in a bad mood?” I never know. Perhaps I would never like these books, and I just feel like I ought to. No matter what the case may be, I do really struggle to come up with the positive in cases like this.
Anyway, I am not entirely sure what the point of this rambling post was. It’s just something I find myself thinking about and thought I would share.
What about you? Are you a moody reader? How much do you think mood influences your reading experience and reviews?