The trouble with reading advance copies of books is, as I see it, that sometimes something crosses your desk, you decide to dive in and see what the fuss is about, and you find yourself profoundly disappointed. The flip side of this, of course, is that you read something early that you’re overwhelmingly excited by and can’t wait to encourage other people to read. That, however, is not the subject of this post.
So you finish this new novel with all the buzz and you think, “Wow. This is going to get creamed when it comes out. I can’t believe they’re making it into a big deal.” And then the book comes out and the New York Times raves about it. PW and B&N name it one of the ten best books of the year in its category. It sells thousands upon thousands of copies in its debut week. And you think…if this had come in through slush, I would have drop-kicked it back to the author in the blink of an eye.
I assume this has happened to all of you exactly as I describe.
Okay, fine, I’m talking about a very specific and current example, but the feeling of disliking something everyone else raves about is not completely new to me in any category whether it was feeling like the only person who didn’t love Cormac McCarthy’s The Road or fruitlessly trying to explain to people why I thought E.T. was one of the most overrated movies of all time.
And I do have these debates, but how I handle them can go one of two ways. Either (a) I convince myself I only know idiots who can’t tell quality from trash, or (b) I feel a profound sense of disquiet and begin to doubt my taste in absolutely everything.
(No I’m not.)
So what do you do when you’re the only person you know who fell asleep during Avatar or can’t for the life of you figure out why anyone loved 2666? Fight or flight? Extra confidence or a bundle of doubt?