The relationship between reader and writer is intertwined. Of course, a writer can write without a reader, but if their words remain unread and unexplored, then do the words really mean anything? On the other side, a reader cannot exist without a writer. Therefore the relationship is one of symbiosis a relationship of mutual benefit or dependence.
I view the writer as someone who is writing for my pleasure, and hopefully for theirs as well. To pick up a book and be transported to another time, place, world etc for a few hours is the ultimate experience for me, and I would assume, what the writer is aiming for when they are constructing work.
However what a reader takes from a piece of work may not be what the author intended. Because a reader’s view is skewed by their own personal experiences, their view and interpretation of the words may be different to that of the writer, or even another reader who has had different life experiences.
Not including school texts, most people read for pleasure, and so will read what they like and/or what they know. I like Scheers’ point of “Both writing and reading are, in fact, acts – that is, roles that writers and readers voluntarily take on.” (The Art of Reading) After all, if reading a fantasy or science fiction novel, you are indeed acting, taking on the belief that a particular world or skill can exist for the sake of the story.
I think one problem writer’s have is the requirement to classify their work into a certain genre for the publisher to market. This obviously effects their audience, and also what the reader expects to get from the work. As Chandler mentions in his article “It is seldom hard to find texts which are exceptions to any given definition of a particular genre” (An Introduction to Genre Theory).
Something may be classified as a fantasy novel, as it is set in another world, but the actual bones of the story may be a drama or thriller. However, because the book is marketed as a Fantasy and Science Fiction’ book, a reader who might enjoy the story may never pick it up because they believe it is not something they would be interested in.
Because the way books are pigeonholed, I think that some of the responsibility also falls to the reader to not be so closed and specific about what type of books they read. Instead of always going to the same section of the bookstore, perhaps once in awhile as readers, we should head for a section we normally wouldn’t and pick up a couple of books for consideration.
http://www.stevencscheer.com/artofreading.htm (The Art of Reading) Steven C Scheer http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/intgenre/intgenre.html (An Introduction to Genre Theory) Daniel Chandler