A funny thing happened a couple of years ago that I just have to share. My wife is the type of person who won’t try something unless she likes the name. I always tell her she’s missing out on a lot of good things, but she remains unconvinced. At this particular time a seafood restaurant opened up across the street and she wanted to order something.
The only seafood my wife touches is haddock, or pollack, and she’s been known to enjoy trout, but she won’t go for anything with shells, or tentacles. The meal she ordered consisted of two haddock fillets, steak fries, and coleslaw. My order was a calamari sandwich, and steak fries.
After picking up the order, we sat down to enjoy the meal when she stopped me and said, “Ooh, that smells good, can I try a piece?”
I cut off a small piece and handed it to her. She took a small bite, and savored the taste for a moment, “That is good, what is it?”
Just as she put the rest in her mouth, I said, “It’s squid.” She didn’t pick up the napkin to spit it into. It took less time to hit the floor, than go into her mouth. I was laughing so much that my sandwich had time to get cold. She has never tried anything else without finding out what it was first.
Without ever giving them a chance, my wife will never watch black and white movies, or westerns, or even listen to classical music. No matter what, there’s just no talking her into it. I’ve always thought of myself as someone who would give most things a chance, especially books and movies. It turns out I was wrong.
The new idea for my youtube channel of book reviews brought up a memory of the only book I never gave a chance. The book “The Catcher in the Rye” was on my required reading list in high school, but because of my views on foul language, and certain subjects, I told my teacher that I refused to read it. Since my reading levels were way beyond the high school level, she told me to read whatever I wanted as long as I wrote a report on it.
I never thought I was being unfair, but I was. When you judge something strictly on someone’s opinion, that’s being unfair to not only the book, but to the writer, the publisher, and to all the other people who had a hand in its creation.
Just like my wife being convinced that squid tasted bad without ever having the pleasure of tasting it herself, I had allowed others to sway my judgement on a book that I had never opened.
When it comes to food and entertainment, tastes vary from person to person. This is not to say that the other person isn’t a reliable and trustworthy friend, or that they are trying to steer you wrong. They have their opinions, and they may be good opinions, but unless you give it a try, you never know. Some of your experiences will be good, and some will be bad.
If you’re worried about wasting money on a bad book, there are ways to preview the book online, as well as buying used for only a couple of dollars. Book stores, and libraries are available to preview books. While this may seem obvious, the point is you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to give a book a chance. Preview it, then buy it if it seems worthy.
Don’t judge a book before you open the cover. If you at least give it a try you might be pleasantly surprised, and if not, you can always use it to hold up the bad corner of the couch. Even the bad books can teach you something. Give it a shot, what have you got to lose.
Challenge: Find a book at the library that you refused to read because of public opinion, and try reading it. You might be surprised.