Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Mood Reading

I had a brief chat with a friend/library patron today who I shall call T because that is the first letter of his first name. He asked whether or not one's reading enjoyment could be affected by one's life situation. For example, if a person is having a really hard time of things, can that hard time influence how much he or she enjoys whatever it is they're reading.

The answer is yes, and in a million different ways. I don't know about you guys, but I find that if I'm in a bad mood, I have little tolerance for writing that I might otherwise enjoy. I've put down a fair number of books and saved them for later, for really stupid reasons - like word choice pissing me off when I'm already feeling foul.

This has happened with books I reread. One day, I'm enjoying Watership Down, and the next I just want Fiver to shut the hell up because someone pissed in my Cheerios.

The reason I bring this up, other than my conversation with T, is because I just read Lonely Werewolf Girl by Martin Millar for the second time and I think I liked it even better than the first time I read it. But, there are a million and ten reasons why I should hate this book.

1. The cover is hideous.

2. In technical terms, it's a hot mess.

3. As a rule, I generally don't like humor in my fiction and this book makes me lawl.

The first time I read it, I must have been in a rare mood. I remember really liking it and being really confused because I shouldn't have liked it. But not in the Twilight way. I think the pages of those books were laced with LSD or PCP or bath salts or something because I have no good explanation for not being able to put them down. At any rate, Lonely Werewolf Girl is fun and I liked it and my rare mood must be repeating itself because I liked it again despite all of its flaws. I am very picky about books with flaws.

Back to books and mood though, I think that the reverse can also happen. The quality of a book can affect your mood. Reading a good book makes me feel good and reading a bad book makes me feel bad. Sometimes, reading a good book also makes me feel bad, like The Road by Cormac McCarthy or Deathless by Catherynne Valente. Just because something is well written doesn't mean it's nicely written.

So anyway, does your mood affect your reading habits? Do your reading habits affect your mood?