Today’s post is going to be a lot different than my usual. I never really like to bring up the negative things that have happened to me in the bookish community for two reasons. The first being that they haven’t happened often (thankfully). The second is that I prefer to curate my blog to things that bring me joy. But I’m often left overthinking things and I figured this one time (or whenever I need to) I should discuss it with all of you to know what you think. The post today is as the title suggests about personal opinions towards the books we read, and the way we react when reading a good/bad review of a book we liked or didn’t like. This might go as a bit of a rant so do bare with me.
Now I decided to write this post mostly because over the years I’ve gotten some private messages on Goodreads and otherwise from people letting me know why they think my reviews of some books are wrong. Now I’ve mostly ignored these and looked past them. This happened a few days ago and it honestly left me overthinking a lot and it truly doesn’t help when you’re already anxious. I decided to let it out here in the hopes of helping myself, as well as to get your opinions on this.
To me when I rate a book 5 stars it means that I loved it. Does it mean that it wasn’t problematic or that there wasn’t something in there that I didn’t enjoy? Of course not. If it’s something that I understand enough I’ll mention it in my review. If it’s problematic and something that I read recently I’ll try my best to point it out. Trigger warnings and all. I don’t mind someone telling me that I might have missed something because that could happen. There is however something that I don’t appreciate.
I believe there are two types of people. There’s exhibit A:
I personally didn’t like this book but I can see why you enjoyed it.
I didn’t like this one but I’m glad you enjoyed it.
Exhibit A is basically my approach to things. At the end of the day it’s called an opinion. What you think is solely what you think. If you enjoyed it or it helped you who am I to tell you otherwise. Books aren’t something we’re all magically going to agree on. There’s nothing wrong with someone not liking a book that you enjoyed or vice versa. If there’s clearly something wrong or there are red flags like something that could hurt a certain group of people or a culture (as we’ve found many of these books recently) then by all means speak up about it. Educate someone on why it’s hurtful. There’s nothing wrong with that. But dragging people because they enjoyed a Sarah J. Maas book for example doesn’t count. Have important discussions like the lack of diversity. We’ve all had them. We acknowledge that there should be more of it. A lot of us are aware of this fact. Some of us really enjoy her stories or the books were there for us in a time of need (this is personal). Doesn’t mean we don’t acknowledge that there could be more added to it or that there might be something problematic in them. I’m personally aware of that and won’t tell you you’re wrong in that department, especially if there really is.
And then you have exhibit B:
I don’t understand how you liked this book! I thought it was blah blah blah.
Your opinion is wrong. This book was great/horrible and here’s an essay on all the reasons why I think you should change it because you clearly don’t have anything better to do.
I’ve been approached by this multiple times and let me tell you it’s exhausting. I am the type of person to take certain things to heart. I’m just like that. When a person says something like this to me it gets my mind thinking about everything I read and every rating I ever gave. It isn’t a good feeling. Overthinking isn’t something I want to do but it happens. Can I be biased sometimes? Sure. Is that anyone’s concern? No. My opinion remains my opinion. Some people need to realize this. Just say you didn’t like it and go. Or better yet don’t say anything at all and just let people be. It’s 2020 and I think we need to have realized this by now. You can like something and still be aware and acknowledge what’s problematic in it.
This rant clearly became a lot longer than I wanted it to be but I’m so exhausted of having to go through this and I’m tired of having to explain myself and my opinion to other people. This might not be as polished as I want it to be but I’m a little upset and it would be best for me to let it out there. If I worded something wrong please do let me know.