Lola’s Rambings is a feature on Lola’s Review where I talk about me. Usually these posts are everything that doesn’t fall under any standard header, like blog tours, book blitzes, cover reveals or reviews. Lola’s Ramblings posts are are personal discussions of a certain topic. Sometimes about book related topics and sometimes about non-book related topics. This feature was previously known as About Me. The banner for this feature is designed by Michelle from Limabean Design.
After I finish a book I always write my review, this discussion posts was sparked at one such moment. I was collecting my thoughts and realized I enjoyed the book, but not as much as I hoped and I wondered what was the cause. It lead to me thinking about the different factors that influence how much we enjoy a book and then I ran to my notepad to jot that thought down as I knew it would make a good topic for a discussion posts. As there is so much more than just the book itself that can influence my enjoyment of a book and I wanted to share my thoughts on the topic and hear the opinion of my blog visitors.
The book itself
Okay so while this is again one of those topics I go into deep thought mode about, please don’t take understand me wrong, ofcourse when reading a book the biggest influence is the book itself and all those other influences still play less of a role. But I like thinking more in depth about topics like this and trying to understand how they influence my reading experience. When it comes to the book itself it’s mostly about things like: Do you enjoy reading the book? Does it addres topics you like? Can you relate to the characters? Do you like the character? Does the writing style work for you?
So lots of aspects from the book itself and how it is written influence how much you enjoy it and these factors are probably different for anyone. So yes it matters which book you are reading, but beside that, I also think outside influences can play a role.
What outside influences influence your enjoyment of a book?
- Mood. I like to define myself as a moodreader and for me my mood feels like a big factor when it comes to reading a book. If I am in the mood for the book I am reading I will likely enjoy it more and if I am not I will enjoy it less. This effect can be small at times, but also big. I believe this can make a difference of about a half star or even a whole star rating at time, to make it more concrete. If I am in the mood for a contemporary romance book and force myself to read a sci-fi book without romance, chances are I won’t enjoy that book very much even if it is a book I normally would enjoy as I simply would rather read a different book. My mood can influence this in big ways, like which genre I am in the mood for, but also more subtly. For example when I am annoyed things that I can normally deal with in a book suddenly seem more frustrating, like miscommunication or the infamous obligatory break-up. Normally I don’t like those things, but in the wrong mood they can seem much worse, while in a happy mood I might not mind those as much. Ofcourse it’s not always this big, but it feels like my current mood and the book mood I am in can up or down my enjoyment of a book.
- Season. There are some readers who are seasonal reader and are more likely to read a certain genre in a certain season, so in those cases the seasons will influence their enjoyment of those books. I have this to a certain degree, when the weather starst getting warmer I usually am more in the mood for contemporary romance. Usually I got to a lot of them after each other and after I have had my fix of the genre and my genre mood levels out a bit more normally and I also will be in the mood for other books again. I already had that burst of contemporary romances this year and nowadays I am in the mood for other genres again. I am not exactly sure why this is the case, but as soon as spring comes here I pull out the contemporary romances and I seem to enjoy them more in that season. My guess is that is because I read one of my contemporary romances, Pushing the Limitss by Katie McGarry, one fatefull summer and I read it during a few particulary warm summer days and it seems that ever since then I associate summer and warm weather with contemporary romances.
- Previous book I read. I think that both the genre and my enjoyment of the previous book(s) I read can influence my enjoyment of my current read. If I really enjoyed my previous books it often feels like my current read is less good, simply because I can’t help but compare it to my previous book and want more of that. While if I just finished a book I really didn’t enjoy or DNF’d I probably will enjoy my current read more. Or in the other extreme I might get into a reading funk and everything feels bad.
If I just read a whole lot of dystopia’s in a row I probably am in the mood for a different genre as I can’t read too many of those in a row. Same goes for most other genres, too much of the same isn’t good and I probably enjoy a different genre more after that.
- Deadline or not and how close. I don’t deal well with pressure, the closer a deadline the more I stress, the more I lose focus. I am sure there are people who are the opposite as well. The closer a deadline for a book is the less I probably will enjoy a book. Just putting a deadline on a book or pressure probably makes me less eager to read the book and I’ll enjoy it less when I do. This is also the reason why I state in my review policy that I am a mood reader and don’t like deadlines. I will enjoy deadline books quite frequently and I can deal with them pretty well especially when I am in the mood for that book and can start it way too early before the deadline. Finishing a book way before a deadline gives me a weird sense of pleasure and achievement. Same goes with non book related things btw, I love being ahead, so much so that I am striving to be ahead with a passion, like how I am writing this posts on 29 April as I want to be two months ahead with these posts (I had originally scheduled this post for a month later, but switched things up as I wnated to feature a certain topic for more weeks in a row). Yeah I am weird sometimes, I know. So with books this also matters, I probably will read a deadline book as soon as possible and don’t like it when the deadline is too close. I prefer to read without the pressure of a deadline altogether. I don’t like deadlines and I don’t like feeling rushed. Some books I really want to read and accept them even though they have a deadline, weirdly enough I am also bad with staying away from deadline books altogether which my Bookish resolution Challenge showed and I failed in the second month already.
- Previous book(s) you read by the same author. How much I enjoyed previous books by the same author also can influence my enjoyment, I expect a certain awesomeness from books written by my favourite authors. I set high standard for them, but also cut them more slack at the same time as I love their writing style and books. It can also set me up for disapointment though when a book isn’t as good as expected. I also expect a certain style of a certain type of book often and this can influence my enjoyment. Or on the other hand a book by a new to me author doesn’t have those expectations, but also less excitement to pick it up as I don’t know what to expect. This also applied to a series, earlier books in a series create certain expectations or a trend or standard on which I judge later books.
- Expectations. I use this term a bit more broadly. I already addressed some expectations in the previous books, but in general I think expectations can meak or break a book. Expect a kick ass assasin and get someone who cares about how she looks, that can lead to a DNF. Expectations can be very specific like that and apply to one aspect of the book like a character, but they can also be broad and generic. Like for example expectating a book with lots of romance, while it’s only a subplot or vise versa. Expectations can also be based on things you heard about the book or how much others enjoyed it. Expectations can be very high or low and that can influence how much you enjoy the book. If a book is better than expected it’s usually a good thing, while if a book is worse than expected it’s often a bad thing.
- Surroundings. Surroundings can influence your mood or even how much you can enjoy a book directly. Ever read a sex scene in public? or a comical scene where you laughed out loud? Or maybe even worse read a sad book that made your cry in public? I think these situations are pretty specific, but I still wanted to mention it. Mostly this works through influencing your mood, like for example when reading on a plane while frightened is probably not good for getting absorbed in a book or wanting to let your emotions out while you aren’t alone can put a damper on the scene. I don’t think I had this happen often, I have a poker face for when it comes to reading in public and can read in public very well, but I have read a funny manga in public once where I laughed out loud and it was embarrassing, but not laughing also feels wrong.
- Daily Life and Stress. daily life, general state of mind or the amount of stress in your lfie probably has some influence on your current read as well. I read while tired quite often and the more tired I am the harder it is to follow complicated plot lines or remember which side character is who. Or reading about a character who is also tired doens’t really help matters, This can frustrate me and lessen my enjoyment and I often see it as a sign I should go to sleep instead. On the other hand I often find that when I had a busy day the reading time is even more rewarding and I can enjoy a book more and relax after a hard work day. But when I am really busy in my head with a problem it can be hard to focus on a book. So yes my daily life and state of mind often influence my enjoyment of a book.
So while ofcourse it matters which book I read, I also think multiple outside influences can change how much I enjoy a book. It can depends on when and where I read and how I feel and what I’ve read before how much I enjoy my current read. And when reviewing and rating these influence might make the difference between two different star ratings as well on which points I focus in my review.