Thursday, January 19, 2012

Mood and Criticism


I have not been at my best lately, as you might already know if you follow my tweets. I am having some health problems in addition to the usual chronic health conditions, so my mood is swinging from not-so-good to very bad most of the time. But that’s not what I wanted to write about.

I have come to notice that when I read something in a bad mood I am much more critical than otherwise. I am more likely to notice mistakes and they seem less tolerable to me. I pay more attention to character flaws and/or plot holes. I am bothered by things that would not bother me (so much) otherwise. I do not laugh at things I would if I were in my normal or good mood.

So, you what do you think? Do you think a reader’s mood and criticism towards a certain book are connected? Have you noticed anything similar in your reading? Do you enjoy some books less when you fell unwell than you would otherwise?

I am very curious about your opinion. Feel welcome to sound off in the comments!

14 comments:

  1. Absolutely - mood has a huge impact on what you're writing. I'll usually let a book sit for a day or two before I write a review, just to create that emotional distance.

    Having said that, there are a few instances where I've been so utterly disappointed or completely infuriated that I've intentionally drawn from that emotion to write an immediate review.

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    1. I'm like that, too. I usually wait before writing a review for a couple of days in order for my thoughts to form into something coherent. Although if I have a very strong reaction - either positive or negative - then I can write it down right away, sometimes.

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  2. I am certain that my mood has a lot to do with how I feel about a book. That's why I try to choose something I'm "in the mood for" when deciding what to read next. But, sometimes, the outside world gets in. Not only if your ar physically sick, but if I feel like I should be cleaning the house, or I should be somewhere else--in other words I'm feeling stress from somewhere else -- that can change how I feel about what I'm reading. I try to take this into account and recognize this, but we are only human!

    Sometimes I quit on a book, deciding that I will pick it up some other times. Unfortunately, I rarely do...

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    1. Exactly as you say - I have to read something I'm in the mood in, but the outside world does get in so even if I am in the mood for, for example, romance, I don't enjoy it the same as I would in a different situation.

      Certainly, we are only human! :)

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  3. My mood completely changes how I read, I've stopped reading books because I haven't been enjoying them only to go back later in a different mood and love them. Reading is so subjective anyway.

    Great topic!

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    1. True, reading is subjective. Thanks, Jules!

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  4. Mood definitely has an effect. Sometimes I can't get into a funny book if I'm feeling down or a love story if I'm feeling bitter. Plus, if I'm sick and my eyes are irritated, I don't want to read at all.

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    1. I feel the same. I hate it when I'm too sick to read because then I get bored and all I do is think about how sick I am and that doesn't do any good. :)

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  5. Absolutely! Pepca, I believe that we, as readers, bring our baggage to our reading experience, and our "moods" have an impact on that experience.

    I try not to pick up certain books at certain times. I go with the tide... and read what I'm in the "mood" to read (or what calls to me). Otherwise, I end up not enjoying a book that I might love some other time.

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    1. I forgot to mention it in my post, but yes, our baggage is important - our pre-existing knowledge, our experience, it all influences our reading. Thanks for pointing this out!

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  6. I definitely think your mood can affect how you view whatever it is you're doing. That means with reading too! I know for me my reading mood constantly changes so it just depends.

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    1. Mood certainly affects our perception of everything, I agree.

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  7. Agreed! I'm actually strulgging with this now, I just finished a book that I liked for the most part, but I think I'd have stronger fond feelings for it if I hadn't read it while I was busy & annoyed at work. I can't think of anything I didn't like about it, and in fact there were a lot of things that were awesome about it, but my feelings are very... tepid.

    Stupid bad moods ruining good books!

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    1. "Stupid bad moods ruining good books!" Hear! Hear! Reading a great book but not being able to enjoy it feels to me like a waste of a great book due to bad mood. It's such a shame. But, what can we do? :)

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