Wow, long title huh? At least for me – I try to make most titles for posts short and sweet, unless it’s a really long title by a long-named author, in which case I really don’t have any control over it. OK, I’m already getting off-topic and I’ve barely begin. Back to the point at hand.
I decided to write this post after reading two different posts. The first is more pertinent to this subject: Hannah from So Obsessed With talked about the two kinds of readers, emotional and analytical (she’s the latter, while most book bloggers tend to fall on the emotional side). This really got me thinking, because I am a very emotional reader, so it was interesting to read about someone who isn’t, and how that can affect her reading and thinking. I thought about writing a response related to it, but decided against it. Then I read this post from Debby at Snuggly Oranges, which has very little to do with the topic: she’s mostly talking about how hype can ruin books for her, something I can definitely commiserate with her about, but she also mentioned how some books with a lot of hype just don’t work for her because she’s promised a lot of emotions and such, but grief stories like If I Stay and Where She Went just aren’t for her.
So, this got me thinking about the subject again, and this time I decided to write about it in a discussion post. Like I’ve already said, I am a very emotional reader, but I don’t think anyone in my everyday life would think that about me. I’m the type of person who can’t stand crying around other people – if I’m watching something that’s sad around other people, I will do almost anything to keep myself from even tearing up. It’s a big problem for me, and I would love it if I didn’t care as much, but I’m just not the type of person who can cry in public, even if I’m at a funeral or something. I think this is why I’m such an emotional reader, at least when I’m reading alone. I try to keep from crying even when I’m watching something much sadder, so when I’m actually alone and feel like I can cry, I cry really easily. There was a Top Ten Tuesday topic about books that make you cry back in January and February, and I was not one of those people who had trouble coming up with ten – for me, the question was which ten made me cry the most.
I feel like I’m the type of reader who can easily be manipulated if an author throws in a tragic event just to make you care about the characters more. I might realize that this is kind of lazy and doesn’t feel as genuine as it should, but I’ll still be heartbroken and tearing up. Grief stories really get to me, as well as simply sad scenes in regular, non-grief stories. That’s just the type of reader that I am.
So, when I saw Debby saying how she sometimes feels like “an emotionless robotic jerkface,” I felt so bad for her (see, I’m even very emotional about real life things!). It does seem like many popular book bloggers are more emotional readers, the type who will freely admit that they sobbed at every highly emotional scene in a sad book, so I’m sure it’s hard to feel left out of that emotional blogger group. You might feel like you’re reading something wrong rather than simply reading it differently – and that’s really what it is, different rather than wrong.
I think I’ll always be a highly emotional reader. Give me a book about a dysfunctional family, a screwed-up protagonist, a tragedy, a dystopian novel where people can get hurt or die easily, and you’ll have me tearing up at least a little bit. That’s just who I am, for better or for worse. I’m the type of person who thinks too much about what other people think, and thus I think too much about how they might be hurting and in pain and end up tearing up as a result. This makes me overly-sensitive rather than a better or more compassionate reader. We all read things differently, and it’s really great to get the chance to see things from the point of view of people who really don’t cry at a book. For them, a book that does make them cry is really special – for me, that probably just means I was reading an emotional scene while I was alone.
Morgan Matson’s Second Chance Summer will always have a special spot in my reading heart, though – because that book didn’t just make me cry, it made me sob. And just like there’s nothing wrong with reading it without even tearing up, there’s nothing wrong with going through multiple tissues while reading the end of an extremely sad and touching story.