Hi Guys! It's time for a little personal reflection in Libraryland...
(and yes, that's me making funny faces at the camera)
(and yes, that's me making funny faces at the camera)
So, today I was browsing through Goodreads and reading people's reviews for a bunch of different books-- some were for books I liked, and others for ones that I didn't. And as I was reading, I noticed something that seemed to come up again and again-- readers apologizing profusely for giving their honest opinions about a book they did not personally care for.
Now, this really got me thinking, because it bothered me. Why are these lovely readers apologizing again and again for honestly saying what they didn't like about a book? Do they think they are offending someone? Are they afraid of getting bullied by the big-bad Goodreads trolls?? Are they ashamed to admit that they read a book and **gasp!** didn't like it?
I was confused by this phenomenon-- mainly because I have absolutely zero problem with stating quite clearly that I hated a book.
No apologies for being mean.
No blaming myself for not liking it.
No excuses for why I thought it sucked.
I just hated it, plain and simple.
So let me try to explain my way of thinking as a reader and a reviewer of books-- and I know not everyone is going to agree with this and that's totally OK.
Basically, I go into reading books for many different reasons. Sometimes I'll pick something up because the cover caught my eye or the story sounded particularly intriguing. Other times-- I won't lie-- I start a book because it got tons of ranting and negative feedback and I have to see if the thing is really as big of a train-wreck as everyone says it is. In some cases, I'll absolutely love a book I started out thinking I might not like. Take Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick for example-- I LOVED it! And other times I go into a book with the best of intentions and I just can't stand it-- The Replacement by Brenna Yavanoff would be a good instance. One star all the way, baby.
But does that make me a horrible reviewer-- just because I gave the Dreaded One Star and made my point very clear as to why I gave that rating?
I really don't think so. Not only am I giving honest feedback on how I felt about a book-- which is informative to other readers-- but in a lot of cases I almost feel like I'm still promoting that book with the negative review because so many readers think like me--> WOW, it sucked THAT bad?!? I have to go check this one out and see for myself!
So, there ya go. I get to rant, and the book gets more publicity than if I'd meekly watered down my opinions and merely stated "it just wasn't for me guys, SORRY, don't be mad, I'm not trying to be mean..."
In fact, I should probably point out yet another phenomenon here-- which is that my MOST POPULAR reviews on Goodreads and my blog are not for books I loved and raved about but rather-- you guessed it!-- for those 1 and 2-star reviews where I really got on my soapbox and ranted my little heart out. Which leads me to believe that people do appreciate honesty and find those kinds of reviews to be both heartfelt and interesting.
Now, let me also state that there is a BIG difference between giving legitimate reasons for not liking a book-- even ranting a bit-- and then totally abusing and otherwise trashing a book or author. Ranting I can deal with, if the reasons for doing so are backed up, but it is never OK in my opinion to trash someone or their hard work just for the heck of it. I do rant at times, but I don't think it's unprofessional, because a.) I always explain WHY I'm ranting, and b.) I would never tell someone NOT to read a book just because I personally didn't like it.
And here's another thing-- are you one of those people who doesn't thoroughly trust the reviews of people who give 4 and 5 star reviews for everything?? I know I am - because I just can't relate to it. If you totally love every single book you read, well that's great, but I don't, so your reviews probably aren't going to be that helpful to me, because I have no frame of reference for how you're judging your books, other than hey, you fall head over heels for every single one. I gain much more insight into a reader's thoughts once I've read BOTH their negative and positive reviews.
Finally, I always have my Review Policy to fall back on, just in the in-case that someone has a serious issue with what I have to say on my blog or any other public platform where I voice my opinions:
I guess my final word is this: You as a reader should never have to apologize for not liking a book. It is perfectly OK to state why you didn't like something you read, and that's not being mean, that's being honest. In fact, your negative review of a book is just as worthy of respect and consideration as the next person who couldn't stop gushing about it. I actually consider it my responsibility to my followers and fellow readers to be as honest as possible, and I think I'd be doing them and myself a disservice if I wasn't perfectly honest about my likes AND dislikes as a reader. Furthermore, all authors should know that when they are published, they are putting their work out there to be seen and judged by the public-- that is the very nature of being published. If an author is not OK with receiving BOTH positive and negative feedback, then I'm sorry, but they are in the wrong profession. I am not an author, I am not published, and I give credit to each and every writer who is. That takes hard work and guts to put yourself out there. But just as it is their right to speak their minds and put their honest words out there, it is our right to do the same!
*****So in honor of the books I couldn't stand, I'm leaving you with a fun feature: A showcase of the very best of the worst on my blog! Here are the books I ranted on and on about-- but you know what? I remember every single one, and I had so much fun sharing my thoughts about them. Also, in no way did I think reading and reviewing these books was a waste of time-- each one gave me the opportunity to express my opinions and hone my abilities to analyze and critique works of fiction-- and to me, that makes reading even a crappy book worth it.
But don't take my word for it, go out and read them yourself! In fact, I guarantee that after reading some of these negative reviews, a couple of you are going to bump these up on your lists to read next, because you have to see for yourselves if they really, truly are as bad as I thought they were.
And honestly? I seriously hope that you do-- because I'd love to hear what you think about them too! :)
~LC's Best of the Worst~
Click on the cover to go to the review!
Of all the books I've read and reviewed on my blog, this is probably the one that I take the most issue with-- want to know why? Click on the cover to find out!
I was so dedicated to explaining why I couldn't stand this one, that I even included cartoons to illustrate my dislike!
The totally creep-tastic cover did not save this book for me-- like, at all. Couldn't stand it. Click the cover to find out why...
Holy crap, this one was a serious train-wreck for me-- beginning to end!
Ah, yes-- the Fallen series by Lauren Kate. I love it and hate it at the same time. Impossible you say? Read my reviews for all 3! :)
Pretty, empty words with a zero-action plot and no character motivation was my main beef with the second book in the Matched trilogy. It was beyond boring-- and that's me being totally honest.