Once You’ve Finished Reading

I was listening to the radio today and the host mentioned her lack of interest in visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Gasp! I know- right?) despite having enjoyed the books. She said that while she understands that fans of the book want to walk down Diagon Alley or select a wand or sample Butter Beer, she prefers to read a book and be done with it.

I was particularly struck by this comment, because to a large degree, this is me. I’ve never been able to get into or really appreciate the whole fandom thing. I don’t write fanfiction. I don’t spend hours absorbed in chat groups discussing and analyzing every little detail pertaining to a book. I don’t follow a lot of authors on Social Media (Honestly, I prefer the mystery of not knowing everything about them), I rarely go to bookstore appearances (I prefer the more intimate salon format offered by my city’s library system), and I don’t pay a lot of attention to the periodic revelations about Harry Potter that J.K. Rowling likes to drop.

Don’t misunderstand me- I love talking about books and recommending books to people. As a bookseller and as a buyer, that’s been a huge part of my job. Once I’ve finished a book that I like, it sticks with me, and I’ll keep it in mind the next time someone asks me about what I’ve read lately that I’ve enjoyed. (Which would be an ARC of Young, Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin if you’re curious). I also, like anyone who is enjoying a particular series, look forward to the next installment but don’t spend too much time theorizing about what might happen next.

What I want out of my reading experience is different. I want to read, absorb and possibly review. Then I’m done- at least on a personal level. Having lived in an apartment with limited shelf space for years, I’ve also learned the value of being more selective about which books I keep. Some, which I may want to read again someday, or which are special editions or autographed, I’ll keep. The rest, I’m happy to give away. If you are one of those people who treat books as a multi-immersive (is that even a word) experience, I think that’s really cool, and I’m a bit envious. Whether it be a TV show, a song, a book or a piece of art, I am very much a singular experience kind of person, and I’m fine with that. Whatever little tidbits I incidentally pick up are great nuggets to use in conversation, but I am definitely not the person to come to when you want to discuss the meaning of Sansa’s hairstyle. (If you watch Game of Thrones, you’ll understand what I’m referencing there).

How about you? Are you into complete immersion or basic enjoyment when it comes to the books you’ve read?

2 Responses to Once You’ve Finished Reading

  1. Marc Vun Kannon Aug 9 2017 at 9:25 am #

    I once wrote 622K words of fanfiction, trying to fix the many flaws in my favorite TV show, but for books I don’t get all that involved.I reread my favorites many times over, mainly because I’m a little extreme and idiosyncratic about what I want to read, and very few books satisfy my tastes. Not interested in theme parks or other ways the industry has to take my money. I go to quite a few groups on Facebook that talk about fantasy in general, but nothing specific. I belong to a lot of groups on Goodreads where all they talk about is the book of the month, which I usually don’t pay attention to. I’m not sure why I’m stil in some of these groups, to be honest.

  2. jeffo Aug 10 2017 at 6:42 am #

    I am a lot like you as well, Rachel. While I’m still (eagerly) awaiting Martin’s actual book 7 in the GoT series, I’m not on fan boards, making fan art, fan fiction, or commemorative plates. I recently re-read the last four books of King’s Dark Tower series (we’ll skip the film, thank you very much), and while there’s so much potential to discuss and unpack and analyze, I have never set foot in the community that I’m sure is doing that very thing. Read and move on, that’s me.

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