I picked up a book last night (shocker, I know) and began reading. It’s really a fascinating book about the housing styles throughout American history and how they reflect the lifestyles of the time. However, about a third of the way through reading it, I interrupted it to post:
Because the dude is talking about conservation and environmental affairs, and heck yeah, I’m on board. I will NOT, however, build my house out of hay. I will also not NOT have air conditioning when it’s like 100 million degrees outside. So there. Then, one of my wonderful Twitter followers posted this:
Have I mentioned how much I love you witty people? Because I do. Touche, @scarletncream, touche.
Here’s the deal: Do I think books, non-fiction or fiction, should avoid politics, current affairs, and moral issues? Of course not. Look at me. I’m a teacher. I don’t go in for censorship. Obviously, I’m not telling you I want my books devoid of such things.
HOWEVER. I also really don’t like being hated on for an entire book because I use a computer or turn a lamp on when I go to bed. The premise? The author is talking about different housing styles and how each evolved and why. I could see a couple well-placed statements in the Intro (which, coincidentally, are there). But the author never misses an opportunity to tell me what an awful person I am for owning an iPod or getting in my car to drive to work. I am a human being in the 21st century. Scratch that. I am a human being who lives in Texas in the 21st century. People die in this heat. So, come on. If I can, you know, not die because of central air, I’m good with that.
These thoughts all converged this morning, particularly because I find the subject matter, outside of the harping, really interesting. And I thought to myself: when is too much too much? Is it the writing style I find offensive more than anything?
The answer to this, I would say, probably differs reader to reader. For me, it isn’t usually bothersome unless it’s blatant, which this is. However, I know I have read blatant political statements in books (Sarah Vowell comes to mind) without really being annoyed.
So, I’m curious – have you ever read a “preachy” book? What constitutes too much preaching in your book?