I don’t really like reviews. I don’t read reviews before I buy a book. I don’t really care what other people have to say about a book. I want to make up my own mind.
I remember reading as a kid. It was a wonderful experience for me. I would open a book and be transported to another reality. I loved every book I read. Let me say that again: I LOVED EVERY BOOK I READ.
It wasn’t until I began writing books for a living that I found out some people read books and don’t like them. It blew my mind. How could you read a book and not like it?
I mean, sure, some books aren’t the stories I like best. I may not be a big fantasy fan. Or a big sports biography fan. But if I ever did sit down to read it, I’d like it.
I don’t understand why people have to qualify art. Yes, writing novels is art. It can also be a business—same as selling paintings at an art show—but it is first and foremost an art. Why do we have to assign qualifiers to art? Isn’t all art good? It’s ART, man, it’s all good!
I found myself falling into the trap of judging art. I got all caught up in reviews because other authors were talking, talking, posting, posting, posting, about their reviews—sharing the good ones; bitching about the bad ones. As a result, I would read a book and try to think of all the ways I didn’t like it. I found myself thinking things like “The characters weren’t real enough. That plot could never have happened.” Um, big duh. Of course the characters aren’t real. They’re fictional. Same for the plot.
But, you know what? I’m tired of qualifying art. It’s so exhausting. And it took away my pleasure of reading. A couple of months ago, I decided not to judge art anymore. I would simply experience it, not judge it. And you know what? It feels good. No, it feels great! I read a book and have the joy again! I found the same joy I used to have as a kid.
Think of it this way: Dogs have a great sense of smell, right? They don’t qualify smells. Humans smell something and say, “Hey, that smells great!” Or, “Yuck, that smells awful.” Dogs don’t. They smell stuff and just experience it. It’s just a smell, neither good nor bad.
Try being more like a dog. The next movie you watch or book you read, leave your judgments behind and just take the trip. You’ll be happier for it.
Here’s a good book to smell!
Now available in print, too!