A novel is preternaturally neutral. It has no feelings though it is full of emotions; it does not judge the person who decides to open its pages.
The reader’s status in society, gender, heritage, handicap, age, IQ, attitude, aptitude, height, weight, and health, do not affect the pages one iota. One reader develops a response from perusing the pages quite different from another reader’s stance, but no matter how many people read the text, it remains unchanged, accessible in its virgin form, to all.
While the Academy, the Globes, the Oscars, the Romance Writers of America, and other groups implode because they don’t nurture diversity, books deliver anything to everyone.
This notion of a book’s neutrality gives me a sense of peace. I have enough experience with the reading process to know that each observer of a text comes to the words with a unique attitude, background, and intellect. Rarely do I see a given book the same way another person does. In fact, the joy of several readers taking on a single text, is the rich conversation that comes from discussing our different ‘takes’ on the novel.
Preternatural. The novel comes alive when it is read. By anyone. Everyone. Forever.