All tagged Reading Culture

Reading Rights + Wrongs: Interpretation, Point-of-View and Other Complicated Things

“They belong to their readers now, which is a great thing–because the books are more powerful in the hands of my readers than they could ever be in my hands.”

— John Green

I've learned a lot in the last year about reading and what we bring to the table in terms of our personal experiences, points-of-view, beliefs and biases. This is not only thanks to writing reviews on Clear Eyes, Full Shelves, but also because I also joined a book club with several other very smart women ranging from 25 to 65. 

It's fascinating to talk books with people and hear what resonated with them, how they interpret characters' choices and the realism--or lack there of--situations depicted in fiction. What's fascinating to me is how varied these readings are.

Which brings me to something I've noticed quite a bit, that I've been reluctant to talk about for fear of that judgmental side-eye that pops up all too often in some corners of the internet, including within the book and reading community:

I do not believe that there are many "right" and "wrong" readings of books.

(Or other cultural products, for that matter.)

Now, I know a number of you are probably reading my words and thinking,

"Well, duh, Sarah. Of course it's all relative."

But the thing is, while we know that, we don't always believe it, and certainly don't always practice it.