Thursday, March 31, 2011
The Literary Blog Hop Asks: Are You Predisposed to Like the Classics? Yes. Next Question.
Do you find yourself predisposed to like (or dislike) books that are generally accepted as great books and have been incorporated into the literary canon?
Yes (like). Next question.
Discuss the effect you believe a book’s “status” has on your opinion of it.
Aha! I thought we were getting off easy this week. Ok. Well, I'd like to say that I remain objective in my reviews, regardless of the reputation of the author or work under consideration, but that's simply not true. In fact, I would argue that it's not human. We're all subject to social pressures and preconceived opinions, though some do a better job than others of maintaining a relative objectivity. For myself, I think that a book's status or reputation creates a kind of synergistic effect on my own appreciation of it. If it enjoys a reputation as a classic, I am predisposed to like it, and I tend to be more effusive in my praise of it. On the other hand, if I do not like it, my dislike tends to be exaggerated as well.
A case in point is our recent review of The Man Who Loved Children. Though not widely known, the book enjoys a reputation as a modern classic and, in fact, is included in Time Magazine's list of the Top 100 Novels in the English language from 1923 to the present. I was predisposed to like it. I did like it. And I was probably more effusive in my praise because the book (twice) met and even exceeded my expectations.
What about you? Do you love to love the classics or do you love to hate them?