A few years ago I started baking cookies and other treats for the bike racing team that my husband and I coach. After a few batches of cookies I started to experiment with a pinch more of this or a dash of that. I asked the team for feedback on my changes, but few of them said much beyond, “They’re good!” It occurred to me that either the team didn’t like what I was making very much or they just didn’t know what to say. Finally, one of them explained, “The thing is, in any proportion butter, sugar and chocolate taste pretty good.”
I’ve noticed that lots of people say similar things about the authors they like. I wonder if that’s because most people forgot the analysis techniques they learned in school. I also think that the kind of close reading that this analysis requires just isn’t fun for most people. There isn’t a lot of casual dialogue like this about books. There’s a lot of it in book clubs – but that’s where it stays.
Do you think this level of analysis matters? And is the personal experience you have with a book more important than being able to talk about it and learn what other people think about it? Add your answer to the comments section below and you could win a copy of Outside In by Maria Snyder.