Sunday, September 22, 2013

Does your personality affect your book choices?

Day after day, I look at George's blog and see that he is reading books laying out  the demise of almost every facet of our society. I am very sure these books have it right, but I could never do this because it would make me an even gloomier person than I naturally am. I write dark stories because my view of humanity and especially the direction we are headed in is so despairing of mankind.

If I read this sort of book (both fiction and non-fiction) I would not be able to get through the day. This is why I have always steered away from dystopian literature or non-fiction analyses of what we are doing wrong to the environment, the educational system, our health, etc.

Does your personality affect what you read? Are you able to separate yourself from a dire prediction? The farther I stay from the newspaper, news shows, predictions of the future, the better I function. Some might say I am sticking my head in the sand but I say if the sand's going to cover me, I don't want to know about it now.

14 comments:

Joe Barone said...

I limit my reading in very violent noir books because they add to my depression. I certainly only want to read books about people like Hannibal Lector (sp?) only once. I limit my reading of an excellent writer like James Lee Burke to fewer books because his stark (and, I'm sure, honest) view of the persistent existence psychotic evil is difficult for me sometimes. And often, I punctuate a hard-to-read book with someone more fluff just to settle back into a more normal way of thinking.

So yes, my personality does affect what I read.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I am ask wondering if this is age-related. Do we see the world differently now than 25 years ago?

Anonymous said...

Good question, Patti. I'm with you about reading those books. I get enough bad news from the newspapers and online news sites.

I still read a lot of mysteries, though I have diversified a lot more in recent years, but I do not like reading these pointless serial killer books. Yes, there are mass killers out there as well as serial killers, but no I don't believe there are these twisted genius masterminds out there toying with the dumb cops while they pile up a bigger body count than the violent CBS lineup.

That's why I have given up hopelessly depressing if well written series. I just don't want to spend 500 pages in Aberdeen or Glasgow wallowing in the filth and depression. I don't want to read James Lee Burke - one was enough for me. I don't want to read Cormac McCarthy's THE ROAD, even though I like end-of-the-world fiction in general.

Jeff M.

Charles Gramlich said...

I guess it's a part of my personality. My day to day interests is what drives my reading. But that comes out of personality.

Steve Oerkfitz said...

I'm a lifelong cynic and pessimist so books with a darker viewpoint don't bother me at all.
Hell to me would be a library with only self improvement books and mysteries solved by little old ladies, cats and characters who post recipes.

Rob Kitchin said...

I'm sure my personality inflects my reading, as do my interests and politics, but I'm not sure how well I could line up or reason the linkages between book choices and elements of my personality.

Kelly Robinson said...

I've been drawn to dark and gloomy things since I was a little girl, but I'd be hard-pressed to understand why.

RkR said...

I'll agree with the others who say they get enough bad news in the headlines and news broadcasts. My reading tastes are varied, but I stopped reading most noir and dark things a decade or two ago, because the last thing I want from reading - which is entertainment for me - is to be bummed out.

I find myself reading more old books and things I'm pretty sure will have a positive ending.

The other thing is I'm more aware of my mortality than I was 20-30 years ago, and have a lot less patience with books I "ought" to read but am not sure about or not enjoying.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Patti, I am usually confused and indecisive and that reflects in the books I read. I can never make up my mind about which book to read next and having decided I wonder if I made the right choice.

Anonymous said...

It's both age and personality (because personality does change with age). I gave up anything where a child is in danger after I became a mother (my imagination would conjure too many images). Later I gave up serial killer and psycho novels. Oddly enough, I don't read too much end-of-the-world stuff because I think I'm too optimistic! Go figure!

Deb

pattinase (abbott) said...

I can read a dark novel more easily than I can read a non-fiction book about how we are all going to lose our money, lose our earth, starve the poor, etc.

FIction is fiction. And a compelling voice leads me down some dark roads. But if there is no hope--like in THE ROAD, I find it rough going.


Ron Scheer said...

Forget the news and noir fiction. I find the night sky out here in the desert makes me feel "lost in space" and entirely too vulnerable. I started feeling that way even before I saw MELANCHOLIA. AT 71, I think it's an age thing. With each new day, you feel like you're pressing your luck.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I have always felt like that.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I have always felt like that.