|"Oh dear god! Chick-lit!"|
Yes, I realize this appears to be a fairly ironic topic after my most recent opinion post, "Booksgiving." So it goes, as the man would say. But if you'll stick with me, I can show you that this topic and Booksgiving and my opening paragraph aren't that disconnected from each other.
I encourage book givers to be bold enough to give books they love. They (we) shouldn't get hung up on making sure the book is the perfect choice for someone. If you over-think it, none of us would give (or get) books ever again. But if someone gives you a book you don't like, let them know. You can be polite about it, but I wouldn't invent a series of white lies. You can say to a book giver, "I tried this, but it wasn't for me" or some variation on that. Readers need to be honest.
When I give a book that turns out not to delight the giftee or I get a book that I didn't like, I take comfort the the closest thing to a catechism librarians have: Ranganathan's Five Laws. Here are laws 2 and 3:
Every reader his book.If a book you give doesn't work out or you get a book you don't like, re-gift it. The book (even if it's Twilight) will find someone who loves it. In my experience, books have second, third, or even fourth lives as they change hands.
Every book its reader.
The upshot of all this is that we readers shouldn't be afraid to form and share our opinions about books. We should talk about why we do and do not like books. We should try new things and avoid reading ruts. Our reading lives should be dynamic.