Does Our Value Affect Our Reading Experience?

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Happy monday guys! Another monday means another week has started and I really wished you’ll have an amazing week ahead. But first, just some fair warning. I know it’s been kinda quiet on the blog for some time. I rarely replied to comments and even though I post, I don’t feel like they’re what I want to post get it? Like it’s not the kind of post I’d like to posted. What happened is things has been really hectic. I ended my internship in August so a lot of things need to be done, then I had an airport crisis, went straight to uni for orientation, then back home for a holiday with my family and back to uni for the start of the term. I feel like I lost some of my blogging motivation and ideas and need time to recovered from the stress and burnout, so I guess I will post kinda rarely for a while.

Now we get that out of the way, it’s time for another discussion post! I’ve been thinking about this topic for a while but didn’t know how to convey it. All the motivational speakers/blog we know must’ve talked about personal values at some points, whether it’s about finding them or how to prioritize your life according to those values. I think personal values are great. They give a sense of who you are and what you want to achieve in life. It also kinda reflects my roots because most of them are molded through my experience in life. But sometimes I wonder whether they actually inhibits my reading enjoyment. Here are some instances:

  • I don’t like children in general, they are too nosy, noisy and nagging for my taste, and that is my main reason of not liking Room by Emma Donoghue. It’s narrated by Jack, the 5 year old boy that got stuck in Room with Ma and me being stuck in his head is not an experience I love. It’s emotionally exhausting to me and I was actually become more crankier and stressed the next day! It was not a great experience.
  • Confession: I get disgusted by sexual things. Make out session is okay, but one we’re talking about sex… the book just lost point for me. Okay, maybe not if it’s only talking. But when it started to get graphic I’ll usually skip that part. Even though I enjoyed Game of Thrones, I skipped most of s1 because there were just too many sex scenes. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but sex scenes just reduce my enjoyment of that entertaiment. This is one of the main reason I don’t read NA, they usually have sex scenes and sometimes they are graphic and just made me feel uncomfortable. So when I say “I don’t like how many sex scenes this book has” it’s not that I slut shame the main character; it’s just ME being uncomfortable.
  • I’m Asian, and while I’m not sayingΒ all Asian does this/hold this value, “honor thy parents” is an important value in my culture. Children are expected to obey their parents and take care of them when they got old. Which is why it’s really uncomfortable for me to read, especially in YA, how teenagers cursing and screaming at their parents. There are some parents that deserve those treatment, sure, but perfectly nice parents that just ~try~ to help? Maybe you think they don’t understand, maybe you think they don’t know you. But they are your parents, they take care of you and educate you and all the things they do for 17-20 years (depending on the characters age) and you yelled at them because “woe is me no one understand me”. They were once teenagers too and while their issues must’ve been different, I guess they kinda get an idea of the things you’re going through. It’s just sad to read how often strained parents-children relationships in YA is.

I try to read diversely, both in figurative sense of reading outside the genre I usually read and in literal sense of reading diverse books. Some books work wonders to me as in it opens my eyes to various cultures and problems the world has and I enjoyed them immensely. It feels like I experience those cultures and events and gained new values for me. But there are books that even though important, are just hard for me to read due to this value differences. Reading books with the same values as mine while at times made me feel representated, it also kind of feel unstatisfying because I want to know what’s out there beside my own living bubble. But it’s hard when I read books that just drastically different from me, because they are just too different. Like I like thriller, but when the crime and culprit is just too messed up, I just stopped because it was too much.

Over to you: what do you think of this? Do you mostly enjoy or dislike books that are different from your value?



23 Replies to “Does Our Value Affect Our Reading Experience?”

  1. Great discussion, Tasya! My values and experiences definitely colour the way I read and enjoy books, which I’ve actually recently discovered while writing a review because I was picking up on little comments that might not have bothered anyone else. Also, there’s nothing wrong with being uncomfortable with sex scenes! I still squirm a lot when I read romance novels haha.


  2. I think that everyone’s experience of a book is shaped, in some ways, by their values. It’s just natural—our values are a part of us, and we can’t completely separate them from our enjoyment when we read. I DO think that sometimes it’s good to read outside of your comfort zone because it can expand our horizons a bit, but you certainly don’t have to read something like a sex scene if it makes you uncomfortable. πŸ™‚


  3. I used to avoid any YA with romance in it when I was in middle school, because I just really wasn’t a fan of it. And I’m the same way with drama now, which is why I often don’t read contemporary unless I’ve seen many positive reviews for it. So I think at times, my values do affect my experience, but it depends on how well the book handles the topic.


  4. First, I LOVE this post. You did a great job putting this together, I think it’s something that needs to be talked about!

    Because, yeah. I think your values make up part of who you are, what you enjoy, etc, and so how could they NOT be a part of how you see a book? And really, it is in no one’s interest for someone to read a topic they feel uncomfortable with. Because look- you aren’t saying that you are against anything or anyone, you just have personal feelings toward certain things, which I think is just straight up being a human being.

    Also, I don’t see how kids being jerks is anything but kids just being jerks. I am in the US, and white/European descent, and if me OR my brother ever acted like some of these kids do… well I don’t think we’d have fingers in which to type to you bwhaha. Like- I honestly cannot imagine the level of disrespect. Sadly, it DOES happen, but I don’t think that normalizing or okaying it is the right path to take. Also, does cursing and screaming at people EVER help to get a point across? No. No it doesn’t. (Sorry, that one is a pet peeve of mine too hah.)


    1. Thank you! I didn’t mean to single out certain culture, I think it’s a universal problem. However, these disrespectful teens are overwhelmingly present in YA books, which is pretty western centric and when I do read Asian MC or Asian setting YA books, the teens tend to be nice with tiger parents. I think this is a stereotype, which I will do another post on, but in real life I acknowledge that teens everywhere are actually getting more and more disrespectful to their parents… I mean they are the one bringing you up and they were teenagers once, they might’ve some useful advice to listen to! πŸ˜€


  5. Tasya! How have you been?

    I don’t read NA for much the same reason unless a book comes highly recommended. I don’t particularly want to read books with high sexual content, just because that time.can be used to develop characters or refine a narrative. I don’t mind sex scenes as long as it doesn’t overwhelm the storyline. I’m a white Australian with Irish heritage and I think it’s universal sadly. So many kids seem to lose respect for their parents. It’s great that teens especially are socially aware but it often seems that they are also very closed minded to others experience that are not their own.


    1. Hi Kelly! I’ve been really good thanks! How are you? ❀

      Yeah I think it's a universal problem but it's so sad how common they are in YA books. Not only by the teenagers itself, it seems like the parents/children relationship is also detoriating due to the trend of absent-parents-in-YA. I really think that not all people have bad relationships with their parents, there are other teenagers that are actually close with their parents, and we need more of them! (Lara Jean is one terrific example). And yes, sometimes teens can be so closed-minded by not listening to adults. I get like they feel like no one understands them and adults suck, but those people had been in their position once, so they might have some wisdom to share and it won't hurt to listen to them once in a while instead of screaming at them!


  6. I think it’s totally fine to have preferences and different tastes and values! I know I’ve definitely rated books lower or dismissed them for characters being so crappy to their parents. ARUGH. I would never have gotten away with that as a teen and in some cultures it just seems accepted? *backs away* So it’ll totally influence my enjoyment of a book in a lot of cases…but, like you said, I don’t want to live in just my own bubble and unless it’s a problematic difference of opinion, I am fine to read about it.πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰ I also don’t like values being forced on other people. Like books that get preachy? Ew no thanks. And I don’t like it when other people online demand others view things the same way as them.πŸ™ˆπŸ™Š

    (Also I don’t think there’s anything “wrong” with you for not enjoying reading sex scenes! You don’t have to feel that way!)


  7. I think it my personal values play a role in my enjoyment, because I have DNFed books that I found offensive. I also get turned off when there is mockery involved. If the author can only make their point by mocking someone else’s beliefs, I lose interest.


  8. Wow. Just wow. I haven’t seen anything on this topic before. This is such a well thought out post, Tasya! I kind of relate in the fact that I’m not religious, so I usually avoid books with a lot of religious aspects because it kind of makes me uncomfortable, personally. Religion is good for some people, but not for me. And I totally relate about the not liking kids thing. I hope you feel less burned out soon! Awesome post!


  9. my value does not affect my reading experience, I guess I had learned how to be an outsider looking in, and not to judge people. Having said that, i think teenagers being disrespectful are not only a Western issue, but a global one. I have seen Asian kids being rude to their parents (friend’s kids, the like) and it is definitely a problem as parents are losing control of their kids.


    1. Ahh it’s really nice when you can separate your feelings and able to look at the story from an outsider’s perspective! yeah I think so too but they are mostly present in YA books, which is usually pretty western-centric. When it comes to Asian-setting YA or Asian MC YA, we rarely see disrespectful kids. Maybe it’s another kind of stereotyping or stuff? I might write about this on another discussion post. Thanks for pointing that out!


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