Weekend Reads #69: Reading and my beliefs

Weekend Reads is a weekly post in which I discuss a variety of topics and mention the books I plan to read on the weekend.

I often run out of ideas for discussion posts so along with Sara Letourneau’s Thursday Thoughtfulness and Weekly Writer Wisdom posts, which inspired my last Weekend Reads post, I’ll also look to the Book Blogger Hop feature for ideas.

The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly book discussion meme that was created by Jennifer at Crazy-For-Books in March 2010 and is now continued by Billy at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. It offers bloggers the chance to find new blogs, gain followers, and discover new books. It also provides a long list of discussion topics that stretch well into 2018, so no need to cast around for topics if you can’t think of any.

This week’s question was submitted by Maria at A Night’s Dream of Books:

Would you stop reading a book if an element of the plot strongly clashed with your personal beliefs, or would you continue reading until you finished the book?

The quick answer to this is No. I have read many books and articles that present situations, characters, and ideas that are contrary to what I believe, but their topics do not discourage me from reading them. I do not mind reading about ideas, beliefs, or lifestyles that are contrary to mine because that’s how we learn. As long as the author isn’t trying to force me to accept their point of view and clearly explains whatever point he is trying to make, I will read it. Sometimes I surprise myself and agree with something that I initially disagreed with because of how the writer presented their argument.

I’m pretty liberal and open-minded about things so I hardly feel conflicted about what I read, however books like She by H. Rider Haggard drove me crazy because it was obvious that the narrator and the author is ethnocentric, racist, and misogynistic and though I despised much of his thoughts, I admired how the book was written, though it was a boring read, and was interested in the adventure. There have also been books like Scarlet, the second in the Lunar Chronicles, a YA sci-fi series by Marissa Meyer, where the character or plot does something that I do not agree with; in this case, entering into an unhealthy relationship.

I also read many articles and blog posts that I do not agree with but my curiosity to know why the writer believe as they do keep me reading and sometimes even drive me to strike up a conversation to know more about their motivations.

An example would be the various discussions floating around about Dana Schutz’s painting of Emmet Till called “Open Casket” that was included in an exhibit at the Whitney Museum of American Art, in New York City. Many artists called for the painting’s removal and destruction because a White woman dared to do a painting of Emmet Till and display it in a museum, which also angered me a little considering the history here, but ultimately I think such censorship is damaging. Despite my strong opinions, which are contrary to the popular opinion (destroy and remove the painting), I continued to read articles and personal posts surrounding this because I was interested in the topic and wanted to learn why people held such opinions.

In both cases, reading She and the responses to Dana Schutz’s painting, I was angry as I read (I was mostly frustrated while reading Scarlet), but that didn’t stop me from continuing to read and wanting to know more.


What I’m reading this weekend:
The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan

Some of y’all might remember that I was crazy hooked on The Strain TV show (it comes on FX) last year. Well, I found and bought the book and now I’m hooked on the novel! It couldn’t be helped. The story starts out slow and for a couple pages and a chapter or two, I feared that I wouldn’t like it. But, like the strain itself, the story slowly creeps up on you and next thing you know, you’re hooked and can hardly put the book down (even while your eyes are tearing up as you’re getting your braids put in cause your head is so damn tender! (I still can’t touch my head. I could hardly lay down my head on the pillow last night! (Okay, I exaggerate but my head is so tender y’all!!!))).

The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan, narr. by Michael Kramer and Kate Reading

This is a reread by audio book. Basically I had an Audible point and didn’t know what to reread next so I chose this because I own the fifth or sixth book and would like to read it. It took a while to get used to Kramer’s voice, which sounds like an old-school sports announcer to me, but after a while the texture of his voice didn’t matter and I found myself hooked on the story again. However, the dynamics between men and women in the story is still annoying and so is Nynaeve.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, illus. by Jim Kay

My library is an awesome place, I’ve realized. I went there couple days ago and was able to borrow the illustrated version of the first Harry Potter book. Now I don’t need to buy it! (Right? I hope I’m right. I hope (pray) I won’t want to purchase it.)

Mad Ship by Robin Hobb

I’m still working through this with Emily from Embuhlee liest. We’re both becoming more and more interested in it as the story progresses, but OMG, it’s emotionally exhaustive sometimes.

Eldest by Christopher Paolini

The second book in the Inheritance Cycle, a fantasy series that I enjoyed overall but this second book is sooo slooowww. OMG! I got bored and put it down for a while.

Anyway, what are y’all reading? And do you read books and other materials that are contrary to your beliefs?
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20 thoughts on “Weekend Reads #69: Reading and my beliefs

  1. Hi Zezee – I thoroughly enjoyed reading your response to the question about reading and beliefs. Your comment about the surprise of having a change of heart or mind because of how a writer framed their point of view resonates with me. Your post makes me realize, though, that I could be more intentional with reading even more outside my comfort zone.

    I read a bit of the hullabaloo about Dana Schutz’s painting, and it kind of depressed me because it seems so often that people choose sides and then hurl arguments at each other; which isn’t the same as having a conversation: really hearing what’s being said, and learning from each other.

    Also, thanks for telling us about the Book Blogger Hop.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Leslie. I’m glad my post spoke to you. And you’re welcome; I’m glad I found that Blogger Hop feature too.
      The arguments surrounding Dana Schutz’s painting really angered and saddened me. I think an artist’s or writer’s intent is important when considering a piece and I don’t think she intended to be harmful, but instead to start an important conversation. Sometimes I think people are too quick to label something as exploitation and such just because of the color of the person’s skin…I mean Dana Schutz is an American and Black history is also American history (so I see it; separating it aids the division of peoples in this country) so as long as her intent isn’t harmful and totally self-serving, I don’t see why her painting should be removed. Art is supposed to spark conversation. I’m glad the curators refused to remove it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, what a wonderful post. I too don’t mind reading books that would be contrary to my beliefs, as outrageous as they can be. I believe that the only way I can fully refute what the author is trying to say is to listen to their whole story, even if I find it absurd. You’re reading some very wonderful books and I hope you’ll enjoy them all! Happy reading! 😉

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  3. I very much liked reading your reply to the Question – an excellent response:). I hope you continue enjoying Mad Ship – I love Robin Hobb’s writing and the Rain Wild Chronicles, which sort of continues the storyline is one of my favourite series:)). Have a great week, Zezee.

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  4. I have similar thoughts when it comes to reading something that may clash with what I personally believe. I don’t mind reading something that is different that what I believe or think. One of the reasons I love to read is because it gives me the ability to look at life through a number of different lenses. I want to see the world from as many different people’s eyes and beliefs as possible. I think it helps me to relate to the world around me better. I may not change how I think but it is nice to read something that is well written and gives me a way to look at a situation or thought process in a new light. (Great post and good reading list. The illustrated Harry Potter is gorgeous!!!)

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    • I agree. I think it helps us to empathize better and be more tolerant of opposing views, or at least consider a different perspective on things.
      Thanks and yes, I agree HP illustrated is beautiful. I’m so tempted to get my own copy.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I actually can’t read something that clashes with my personal beliefs. But then my persona beliefs are very specific so I don’t miss out on a lot. But that is such an interesting meme that I’ll have to get on board!!! Thanks for introducing us to it!

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  6. I’m the same as you when it comes to reading books I disagree with- I’m pretty open-minded, so I will read things that contradict my own world view. And when it comes to things that I find downright offensive, to be honest, if I’ve started it, I’ll finish it- a lot of the time because I firmly believe that you don’t know your own side until you know the other side. And I also really don’t believe in censorship- because the only way to truly defeat an idea is to counter it with rationale and logic. Great post!

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    • Exactly! One thing I hate seeing is people trying to censor the opinions of those they oppose, which I see often these from liberals (usually on Facebook) who don’t like certain conservative opinions that pop in arguments. I find that sad because it’s young peeps my age I see doing this and it shows that people don’t want to have discussions anymore, or aren’t patient enough to have discussions or a little debate.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh gosh definitely!! I feel the exact same way. I just think it’s so important to have a debate and it actually doesn’t help anyone, on either side, to avoid it, because it is so important in life to find common ground with people that disagree.

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  7. I avoid books that has content I’d find disturbing, like a rape seen, but don’t avoid opinions that are different than my own. That’s what makes the world go round. However, I have seen some bloggers attack someone who comments on their blog with an opinion that differs from their own. The example I’m thinking of references politics. I don’t agree with attacking someone for a different belief. I’m always open to respectful conversations.

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    • I’ve seen that happen too when it’s regarding strong opinions on politics and certain social issues. I prefer a conversations were all stances are considered and possibly debated even. I don’t think we all have to agree with each other.
      And I understand avoiding disturbing scenes in a book. I tend to read on despite being troubled by it.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’d have to say yes and no, yes if it’s well written or piques my interest, but into the bin if no.
    Same with music, if it sounds good I’m gunna shake my ass.

    Reading nothing 😞
    All out of new books 😞
    Suns shining though, so I’m helping a friend on his farm, working up some ground. we have about twenty piles of stones left to pick up , i think we must have picked up about fifty tons of stones so far,
    Then maybe a 🍻 or two.

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