Judging Matters of Opinion

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Bet you never thought you’d see these two books pictured together!

I like the Walking Dead, Longmire, and Man in the High Castle.  I couldn’t care less about Game of Thrones.

I liked Twilight and 50 Shades of Gray, but I liked The Girl With All the Gifts by MR Carey and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury better.

I see judgmental articles online all the time about what it means if someone likes “trashy” books like Twilight and 50 Shades.  I also see tons of response articles with people saying they won’t apologize for their taste.

Why is this so common?  Why is it such a thing for people to pass judgement on other people’s choice of entertainment?  What in particular does it say about me as a person that I can enjoy the entire spectrum of novels, all the way from the widely criticized to the highly revered?

In my opinion, the answer is not much.

What it says about me is that I have broad tastes and that I enjoy many things.  I enjoy things, not because I’m supposed to or they’re popular (or unpopular), but simply because they entertain me.  I’m all about relishing what entertains me, unapologetically.  I don’t feel the need to hide fondness for romance, or to brag about it when I’m reading classics.  Because while one might expand my knowledge and thinking, the other is something I like.  I don’t need reasons to enjoy something, just like I don’t need to explain why, for me, mint chocolate chip will always win over vanilla.

If you see me sitting at the coffee shop, and I’m reading a book that you consider awful, think about this: yesterday, I may have been reading a classic or difficult book.  And if I am reading that “difficult book” while I’m standing in line at the grocery store, don’t assume that says anything about me.  I’m likely to also have something by Nora Roberts in my purse.

I read a lot, and I don’t judge other people for any reading habits, other than when they say, “I like to read, but I don’t have time for it.”  If you don’t like to read and don’t do it, that’s cool.  But if you claim you don’t have time, I call shenanigans.  There’s always time for what you like.

Anyway, the point is that judging people based on their taste in entertainment is silly.  And if you weren’t sneaking peeks at what I’m reading, maybe you’d have time to finish that book that’s been sitting on your bedside table for the last six months.

Not that I’m judging.  😉

 

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Books I Read In 2014

On Spontaneous Saturdays, I post something on whatever topic comes to mind.

Berry Springs Park and Preserve Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Berry Springs Park and Preserve
Photo Credit: Doree Weller

In 2013, I started keeping track of the books I read.  I did this partly because I was curious, and partly because I do read a lot of books.  It got to the point that I couldn’t remember what books I’ve read and which I haven’t, so I thought that keeping a list was a good way to figure out if I’ve read a book before or not.  It’s not terribly sophisticated; I just keep a Google docs list so that I can update it anywhere, and I also like to keep track of the amount of time it takes me to read something.  Because I’m almost never without a book, people always asked me how much I read, and I used to tell them it was on average, 5 books a month.  I can see now that I was very much underestimating that.

I started reading 87 books this year, and only didn’t finish two.  One, I stopped reading, and the other, I’m still working on.

Forty of the books were rereads, and 6 of them were from the 100 Classic Books I’m working my way through.

My favorite new books from this year were The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, On Little Wings by Regina Sirois, Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl,  The Unfortunate Fairy Tale Books by Chanda Hahn, and Every Ugly Word, Aimee L. Salter.  Interestingly, I didn’t find any new books to go into my all time favorites list, but these are all good, and worth reading.

I tried to read more “smarter” books this year, in addition to the classics.  I learned that while “smart” books might be good for my brain, I hate them.  I’ll stick with the classics, which at least make me feel like I’m accomplishing something, and if nothing else, help me get some references made by other authors.

What was the best book you’ve read this year?

* This is a book I’ve read before.

+ This is a book I didn’t finish

# From my classics list

X This was a book recommended by my book club.

  1.  #1984, George Orwell (12/23/13- 1/4/14)
  2.  The Book Thief, Markus Zusak (1/5- 1/7)
  3.  Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict (1/12)
  4.  *Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen (1/12- 1/18)
  5.  +The MELT Method (1/20-
  6.  *Mr. Darcy’s Diary, Amanda Grange (1/20)
  7.  *Christy, Maud Johnson (1/23-1/24)
  8.  *Starting from Square Two, by Karen Lissner (1/27- 1/30)
  9.  X Boy’s Life, by Robert McCammon  (1/30- 2/22)
  10.  On Little Wings, by Regina Sirois (2/2- 2/3)
  11.  *Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire (2/16-2/17)
  12.  Orange is the New Black, Piper Kerman (2/22- 2/28)
  13.  Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (2/28- 3/3)
  14.  *Black Dawn, LJ Smith (3/11)
  15.  *Witchlight, LJ Smith (3/11)
  16.  The Dogs of Christmas, W. Bruce Cameron (3/13- 3/14)
  17.  *The Chosen, LJ Smith (3/16)
  18.  Hollow City, Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children, Ransom Riggs (3/18- 3/25)
  19.  Doomed, Chuck Palahniuk (3/26- 4/5)
  20.  *Carolina Moon, Nora Roberts  (4/3-4/4)
  21.  *Genuine Lies, Nora Roberts (4/5-4/10)
  22.  *Red Dragon, Thomas Harris (4/11- 4/15)
  23.  Island of Fire (The Unwanteds 3), Lisa McCann (4/16-4/17)
  24.  *The Host, Stephanie Meyer, (4/18- 4/20)
  25. #*The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, CS Lewis (4/21-4/22)
  26.  *Hannibal, Thomas Harris (4/24-4/28)
  27.  *The Fault in Our Stars, John Green (4/30-5/2)
  28.  The Heartbreak Pill, Anjanette Delgado (5/4-5/12)
  29.  *Baby Island, Carol Ryrie Brink  (5/16)
  30.  X The Glimmer Palace, Beatrice Colin (5/18- 5/26)- boring, read like historical fiction
  31.  #The Golden Compass, Philip Pullman (5/28- 5/31)
  32.  *Anne of Green Gables, LM Montgomery (6/1-6/2)
  33.  *Anne of Avonlea, LM Montgomery (6/3-6/4)
  34.  A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Dave Eggers (6/5- 6/15)
  35.  The Cold Dish, Craig Johnson (6/6- 6/10)
  36.  The Broom of the System, David Foster Wallace (6/17- 7/6)
  37.  *Blue Dahlia, Nora Roberts (6/24-6/25)
  38.  *Black Rose, Nora Roberts (6/25-6/26)
  39.  *Red Lily, Nora Roberts (6/26- 6/30)
  40.  *Jewels of the Sun, Nora Roberts (7/6- 7/7)
  41.  *Tears of the Moon, Nora Roberts (7/7- 7/8)
  42.  *Heart of the Sea, Nora Roberts (7/8- 7/10)
  43.  House of Leaves, Mark Danlewski (7/11- 8/ something)
  44.  *Beautiful Disaster, Jamie McGuire (7/17- 7/19)
  45.  *Born in Ice, Nora Roberts (7/27-7/28)
  46.  *Born in Shame, Nora Roberts (7/28-7/29)
  47.  *Born in Fire, Nora Roberts (7/29-7/31)
  48.  *Sea Swept, Nora Roberts (8/1- 8/2)
  49.  *Rising Tides (8/2- 8/3)
  50.  *Inner Harbor, Nora Roberts (8/4)
  51.  Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl (8/5- 8/18)
  52.  Timebound, Rysa Walker (8/18- 8/22)
  53.  *Pride and Predjudice, Jane Austen (8/22- 8/28)
  54.  Four, Veronica Roth (8/28)
  55.  Unenchanted (An Unfortunate Fairy Tale Book 1), Chanda Hahn (8/28- 8/29)
  56.  X While I Was Gone, Sue Miller (8/29- 9/2)
  57.  Fairest (An Unfortunate Fairy Tale Book 2), Chanda Hahn (9/2-9/3)
  58.  Fable (An Unfortunate Fairy Tale Book 3), Chanda Hahn (9/3)
  59. X  The Promise: A Tragic Accident, a Paralyzed Bride, and the Power of Love, Loyalty, and Friendship, Rachelle Friedman (9/4- 9/7)
  60.  *Walking Disaster, Jamie McGuire (9/8- 9/11)
  61.  Notes to Self, Avery Sawyer (9/11)- A girl with a head injury has to learn about herself and remember what happened the night of the fall.
  62. Broken Promises, Dawn Pendleton (9/13- 9/15), meh… poorly written, no conflict
  63. It Started With Dracula: The Count, My Mother, and I, Jane Congdon (9/15-  9/21)
  64. Broken Dreams, Dawn Pendleton (9/22)
  65. Broken Pieces, Dawn Pendleton (9/23- 9/24)
  66. Broken Valentine, Dawn Pendleton (9/24- 9/25)
  67. Every Ugly Word, Aimee L. Salter (9/25- 9/26) Young girl being bullied, Older Self, excellent.
  68. Kiss a Girl in the Rain, Nancy Warren (9/29-9/30)
  69. Iris in Bloom, Nancy Warren (9/30- 10/1)
  70. The Mad Tinker’s Daughter, JS Morin (10/2- 10/10)
  71. *Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte (10/14- 10/15)
  72. Loving Lauren, Jill Sanders (10/24- 10/25)
  73. X The Light Between Oceans, ML Steadman (10/25- 10/29)
  74. Ghost in the Bedroom, MA Harper (10/30- 11/3)
  75. #Dracula, Bram Stoker (11/4- 11/11)
  76. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, Fannie Flagg (11/12)
  77. Reign, (An Unfortunate Fairy Tale Book 4), Chanda Hahn (11/13)
  78. #The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath (11/14 -11/15)
  79. X #A Farewell To Arms, Ernest Hemingway (11/16- 11/25)
  80. The Crying Lot of 49, Thomas Pynchon (11/28- 12/18)
  81. *Divergent, Veronica Roth (12/4)
  82. *Insurgent, Veronica Roth (12/5- 12/6)
  83. *Allegiant, Veronica Roth (12/6- 12/7)
  84. *Blood Brothers, Nora Roberts (12/10- 12/12)
  85. *The Hollow, Nora Roberts (12/12-12/14)
  86. *The Pagan Stone, Nora Roberts (12/14- 12/15)
  87. X +The Night Circus, Erin Morganstern (12/30- present)

“A good book on your shelf is a friend that turns its back on you and remains a friend.”

~Author Unknown