It’s not that Nick is wrong in his content, he’s wrong in his delivery. You can’t refute a reader’s experience. Books are not a science – are not a quest for irrefutable proof. Treating books that way ends by hammering one person’s experience into another person’s, and misses the point of reading entirely. The result is a lot of readers who are afraid to engage in discussion because they don’t know if their experience meets with the approval of the biggest referencer in the room. Ultimately, no one has read enough.
Happens at SF Cons all the time. Happens elsewhere, too. Bothers me, obviously.
It also bothers me that it’s an accepted form of class discussion in literature programs. We’re raising lawyers not readers.
And, it did sideline from the useful discussion going on elsewhere, with Jeff and others.
I’m still thinking about how the metrics of book recommendation mixes the genre definitions up a bit, and sharpens the categories.
If anything, someday it may be possible to talk about a specific genre because the metrics will reflect it in booksales, that there are distinctive camps of audiences. But, that day’s not today, for the most part.
I think, what it does is weakens the boundary between mediums. Fans of Lost, for instance, also buy a lot of books, and the same quest for the art experience arises out of all these different mediums. You’ll see Lost showing up in Amazon also recommends for plenty of writers.
Still, I’ll think about it more.
Anyway, that’s where I am, today, and it’s a nifty place to be.