Discussion: I’m a Very Emotional Reader – But It’s Totally Fine If You Aren’t

Discussion

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.

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14 thoughts on “Discussion: I’m a Very Emotional Reader – But It’s Totally Fine If You Aren’t

  1. Great topic Genevieve! I have to admit that I’m definately not an emotional reader. I’ve never cried with a book, although there have been occassions where I’ve teared up. But I’m fine with it. I don’t feel like I would enjoy a book more if I cried. And it’s not that I don’t get involved in the story. I just react differently.

    1. This seems like such a weird topic to me since I only really know the way I read, which is obviously emotional, so it’s weird to think that other people aren’t quite as emotional as I am. And getting emotional doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m involved in the story – I’ve read stories with some sad scenes where I’ve teared up a little yet haven’t felt really invested in the story, while there are plenty of non-emotional books that I love. It’s just so weird thinking about how different everyone can be and how there can be so many different reactions to just one book or scene!

  2. Very good topic Genevieve! I myself am quite an emotional reader, I know for a fact I’ve teared up at books I shouldn’t have, the ones that weren’t particularly sad, I cried in Mortal Coil when Tanith was taken over, I just couldn’t be dealing with, and I cry all the time at Skul and Val’s relationship, I’m so pathetic, but then in others, such as The Year of the Rat, which I’m sure was meant to be emotional just seriously lacked anything for me. Sometimes I’m a little more judgmental on books, but that tends to be after I’ve read books with the same theme, and that’s when I move from emotional reader to analytical and it’s a shame sometimes.. Great post girl! 😀

    1. It’s been a while since I read the Skulduggery Pleasant books (obviously time for a reread soon :D), so I don’t remember if I teared up during some of those, but I wouldn’t be surprised. And I definitely get what you mean about comparing books – a lot of my early, big issue contemporary books have pretty high ratings because it was all so new to me and I wasn’t used to dealing with so many emotions and such, but now I’ll look back at them and wonder if I would rate them so high and react so much to them if I read them for the first time. I think I tend to be more analytical when I’m working on a review, though – emotions are definitely running while I read the book!

  3. I love this! I read that post on So Obsessed With and it was like Hannah and I are the same person haha. I’m definitely not an emotional reader. Sometimes I like that — because it means those rare books that DO make me cry/tear up are very special — but other times I wish that I could get a little bit more emotionally connected to the books that I read. I think it’s so interesting to read about, like, how different kinds of books affect different kinds of people and how different people react differently to the same situation. It’s intriguing!

    1. For me, it’s the really, really emotional books that make the difference since I’m so emotional about the majority of them! I definitely like hearing about someone’s emotional thoughts in reviews and such – being a bit objective is important, of course, but if someone has an emotional impact on the reader, then that’s the type of thing that I’m really interested in.

  4. I can be an emotional reader, but I’m also pretty analytical. I have cried over books, but I’ve also been able to recognize when something is a tear-jerker, and been completely unaffected.

    For me, it all comes down to how connected to the characters/story I am. If I’m fully invested in their journey, then I usually shed a tear or two during a particularly tough scene. But if I’m enjoying their journey, but slightly ambivalent about which direction it takes? Then I’ll acknowledge that the scene is a sad one and move on.

    I think it makes the books that affect me that much more poignant, since I don’t cry over every sad book. It’s why there’s some books I hold in high regard, despite their flaws, because they connected with me on an emotional level. And sometimes that’s worth more than a perfectly executed plot.

    1. Sometimes I think I’m almost too emotional with books. I can be like you and recognize a scene is meant to be sad from an analytical stance, but even if I’m not that connected to the story or the characters, I can still tear up about it. Books have to really, really affect me on an emotional level to stand the test of time as a Super Emotional and Engaging Book for me. Books that make me emotional aren’t enough if they have flaws – they have to leave me pretty much emotionally devestated, which can get a bit tiring!

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