Have you ever been called a "novel-wimp" in a comment?

Today I received my first ever discourteous comment - in which someone called me a "novel-wimp".

I couldn't stop laughing when I first read it. Come on - novel-wimp! That is hilarious and I intend to use it at some appropriate point in the future (only about myself of course).

I feel a little bad for Josh (the commenter). When I read his comment my first reaction was to laugh, and my second was to wonder whether he is actually somehow related to the author and when he felt that his family member/friend was being unjustly criticised he jumped to her defence.

Having had time to reflect, I think that Josh just really loved Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke, because it is this book that he left the following comment on:

This review's conclusion is silly. I don't agree at all. I don't read a lot but, I wanted this novel to be twice as long. In fact, I wanted it to be 6 feet cubed so I could open it up and climb into it. This is a book for people who actually enjoy reading. Don't be racing your way through this book for your book-club. The footnotes and word-geekery only made for a richer experience. Don't be impatient and don't be a novel-wimp or you will never be able to properly enjoy the best kinds of novels. I'll be re-reading it as soon as my memory has finally stopped harassing me with Clarke's imaginings.
I admit that I got a bit carried away in my response, but what can I say? Maybe his passion rubbed off on me? Here it is:

Wow Josh, don't hold back. My conclusion is silly, I'm impatient and a "novel-wimp", tell me what you really think! Although I have had people disagree with my opinion about a book, I have never had anyone be so forthright.

Sometimes, I have to admit, I have a look at someones blog and see that they have reviewed entirely paranormal fantasy books, and I wonder to myself about their taste (sorry, I don't mean to offend anyone), but I have never gone so far as to actually leave them a comment accusing them of being someone who doesn't "actually enjoy reading" or a "novel-wimp" or someone who "will never be able to properly enjoy the best kinds of novels".

Sometimes, I even disagree with a reviewers conclusion, but I have never left them a message telling them that their "conclusion is silly".

Do you know why? Because it's kind of rude. So, either you are rude OR you are extremely passionate about the book that all other considerations have become secondary to the defence of your most beloved novel. Given all the wonderful praise you have lavished on the book, I hope that it is safe to assume that it is the latter.

I really wanted to enjoy this book as much as you did, and I thoroughly expected too. Unfortunately I didn't. It sounds to me like the things that you loved about the book, are the things that didn't really do anything for me.

This doesn't mean that you enjoy reading more than me; it doesn't mean that my conclusion is silly or that I will never be able to properly enjoy the best kind of novels. It also doesn't mean those same things in relation to other people who didn't enjoy it as much as you did.

It simply means that we each had a different, but equally valid, reaction to the story.

I hate to be cliché and use a quote here, but I can't help it. No doubt it's the silliness in me coming out. In Shadow of the Wind, Carlos Ruiz Zafon wrote "…a book is a mirror that offers us only what we already carry inside us, that when we read, we do it with all our heart and mind…" Each of us is an individual, with unique life experiences, and with that comes different interpretations of, or reactions to, the same book.

Thanks for your comment, but perhaps next time you could express your own passion without being so judgmental?

I don't mean to embarrass Josh by posting his comment in an entirely separate post. I am being honest when I say that it is nice to see people feel so passionately about a book. Hopefully more people can be just as passionate about reading books, as opposed to watching reality tv and other such crap on television these days.

I just thought that you might all enjoy reading the comment as much as I did. "Novel-wimp" is a great phrase and rest if the comment is just so brazenly vitriolic that I couldn't help but share it with you.

So, to all of those novel wimps out there - what do you think? Do we lack an enjoyment of reading if we don't like the same book that someone else does? Are our conclusions silly if someone else doesn't agree with them?

More importantly, will we never be able to appreciate the best kind of novels if we don't enjoy Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell?

Over to you! 

PS. If anyone thinks that I have gone too far with this post, please let me know and I think about taking it down.

14 comments

  1. Keep sharing! It's really helpful. Thank you.

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