How much does mood affect your reading of a book? Or what about feelings? Personal circumstances? I know that our differing backgrounds and past experiences can influence us to relate more to a character than others who have not experienced those things. What about the book you just happen to pick up when things are going badly at work? Or the one you were reading when you learned a family member had passed away? Or even the one you read while recovering from a sickness?
Are these kinds of reactions to books that aren't solely based on the book's merit but on your own individual circumstances valid? Should they be considered as objective as ones we read when we were happy or enjoying good fortune? It is impossible, in my experience, to put aside personal feelings entirely.
Now think about a book you read when you were stressed or feeling pressed for time. A book you had to rush through and couldn't spend time pondering it over or thinking it through. If you read something simple and light, perhaps it wasn't much of a problem. But, what if it was a more complex book, requiring time and effort? Would you have loved it if you'd read it at a different time of your life?
I know that I've changed my opinions of books when I reread them. Is that because something in my circumstances changed or does it relate to how well I read the book the first time? Does it matter if we acknowledge these reasons or don't even recognize them?
I've been posing a lot of questions in this post, and honestly I haven't got many answers. I know that absolutely my reading is affected by mood, circumstance, time of life, and many more environmental and personal factors. I absolutely think these reactions and thoughts are valid. We should be able to recognize some level of skill or ability on an author's part no matter the circumstance (though that opens the whole can of worms involving the subjectivity of "good"). But should we post "reviews" of books that we had moody reactions to and that we recognize as such? Do they need a disclaimer?
Honestly, I'm not sure I've ever posted a review of a book I haven't had a moody reaction to. That's probably one reason I began having a positives section and a negatives section in each review - to force me to think about both the good and the bad in a every book. After all, each review I post here is 100% my opinion, subjective, and may or may not be helpful to you.
What are your thoughts?
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