It’s a small world, that’s for sure, and it’s inevitable that as writers, we get to know each other. We form friendships, etc. etc. Over at HTMLg, they’ve had discussions about friends publishing friends, which is a question worth exploring, but let’s not beat a tired horse.
So I’ll reframe their question: How do you feel about friends reviewing friends? Is it ok, or is it not? Does being friends with someone change your reading of their book?
I have to admit: I’m biased when reading a friend’s book. If I like him/her as a person, I’m bound to read differently than if it’s a stranger. Now, I’m not necessarily saying I’m a more generous reader if I know the person (though that’s often the case), but it does change things if you’re friends, right? Or am I wrong?
I had a conversation with a writer-friend (let’s call him Adam) recently who asked me why I liked another writer (let’s call him Bob). Adam argued that Bob was not a good writer, his sentences were un-noteworthy, and the book itself without point or purpose. I respect Adam. I generally respect his opinions too, esp. on books. (Though sure, we don’t always see eye to eye. But who does?) When asked why I like Bob’s writing, my first default answer was that he’s my friend. But I like his writing too. Only: do I like his writing because we’re friends? Except I can usually separate my opinions from my friendships. Kind of.
I often find myself saying: I don’t especially like his/her writing, but I think he/she’s a great person. So then do I read what I read, do I like what I like, primarily because of friendships? I’ve confused myself. I’ve talked myself in a circle.
How much of an influence does friendship play in your reading?