Wednesday, October 31, 2007

book choice

Stacey posted a very interesting question to ponder:
So, what does a book choice say about a person? Anything at all? Or everything?
My first reaction was that book choice says everything about a person, but then I decided that this wasn't always the case. If the book is for a reading group or challenge, it may not reflect an individual's choice, but rather a group decision or a specific subject matter. I have read several books for reading groups this year that I might have never selected. I liked some and disliked others.

If a person picked up a book they might not otherwise select based on another person's recommendation to simply see if they would also enjoy it, the selection would not be a reflection of them. The curiosity or willingness to try a different author or genre, however, would be a reflection of their personality. Do you think if you only seriously looking at the books a person liked you might get a clear picture of who they are or at least how their mind works? Or do you need to know the books they disliked too. And which of these gives the better picture of who you are?

If the books I always selected and liked were romance novels, what would that say about me? Alternately, because as many people know I intensely dislike romance novels and never read them, what does that say about me? In a book review I might say that a book was too much like a romance novel for me, and mean that in a negative sense, but for someone else that could be a clear indication that they might enjoy the book. Does that say something about me?

A person may pick up a book on a whim or because the topic is intriguing. Do the topics a person chooses reflect on their personality? Is there a difference between those who only read fiction or nonfiction? How about people who will read both? Is my willingness to easily go off on reading sprees about specific subjects (viruses and pirates this year) a good indication of an active, curious mind? Or is it an indication that I can easily become distracted and obsessed by different topics?

In the end, I think the books a person likes or dislikes would reflect more about their personality than simply book choice.