Discussion | Personal opinions about books

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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.

And

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.

And

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.

 


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Please do let me know what your thoughts are. We can even have a discussion about it.

29 thoughts on “Discussion | Personal opinions about books

  1. I completely agree with everything that you said in this post! I wholeheartedly agree with what you said about loving a book while being aware of its flaws. I’m so sorry that you’ve had to experience such negative reactions to your reviews. Love this discussion, Noura! 💛

    Liked by 3 people

    • I’m so happy to hear this! It has been eating me up for days and I’m so thankful to have found someone who understand me. It’s alright it isn’t your fault. I’ll get over it at some point I’m sure 💛 Thank you for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I always reply to the hostile fanboys who’s feelings I’ve hurt by not loving their favourite books with the old ‘that’s the wonderful thing about books, we all read the same words and get so many different things out of it’.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve been in your shoes. It’s terrible to be attacked just for expressing your opinion. I know I can be sometimes exuberant in my praise or harsh in my critiques but I always try to explain and I always try to be fair. It got to a point where I felt scared to post because I was worried what people would say about my opinions. But now, I’ve realized that filtering myself and my thoughts isn’t fair to me and I need to work on ignoring people who have nothing better to do than tear me down.
        I’m glad you wrote a post like this, because it really needs to be addressed!

        Like

  3. Unfortunately we’ve become a culture that if I don’t agree with your opinion I’m against you. It’s sad that this hassle comes along with it but don’t turn your back on the sun and stand in the shadows. You’re meant to shine girl! ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Everyone has their own thoughts on a book, and I truly don’t understand why some people get mad at others for stating opinions. That’s literally the point of a review. Those types of people are the most annoying thing, for me, about using an app like Goodreads. Lovely post; I agree wholeheartedly 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts! It has happened way too many times and I’m just so tired about it. I don’t feel like going through a whole argument with someone when I know all it will give me is a headache and they won’t back down.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I totally agree with you! If I gave a book 5 stars, it just means that I (emphasis on the I) loved it. But of course, it doesn’t mean that it is perfect! Also, sometimes you just read the book you NEED to read at the moment and you feel such a deep connection with it that you just can’t rate it lower than 5 stars. Thank you so much for this discussion!

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  6. Urgh I’m so sorry you’ve had to deal with people like that!
    If you’re going to be offended by negative reviews if your favourite books then you should avoid reading reviews of it – if someone doesn’t like it that’s their right!

    Like

  7. I am one of the you-liked-it-I-didn’t-and-that’s-ok type people, but you know, the thought police are out in full force these days, and there are some people who do NOT believe you can form your own opinion. Sad but true

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Here’s a hug 🤗 I’m so sorry that you’ve had to deal with this, Noura, because it’s incredibly unfair and ridiculous. Some people just don’t get the definition of an opinion and I’ll never understand why they can’t. And I love what you said about loving books but knowing that they have flaws. Everything and everyone has flaws, but we can still love them nonetheless while being aware of the issues.
    I’m sorry that this has been making you feel down, but keep smiling! I’m also one of those people who really overthink things, but try to stay positive and remember that you are always entitled to have your own opinion ✨💖

    Liked by 2 people

    • Aww thank you! 💕 exactly! We can see that something has flaws and we can acknowledge them and still love the book. Constructive criticism is important too. Thank you for your kind words. It has been a rough few days but I’m getting over it. Especially since I’ve gotten so much support from so many amazing people 💖

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I completely agree with you! Just because you enjoyed a book and gave it 5 stars, it doesn’t mean that someone else might not like it or find it bland. Opinions, just like people, are so diverse and different! Maybe you found a book problematic, but someone else might have missed that, so if you feel like it, you might let them know that there are some problems with the book in a nice way. Constructive criticism is always welcome, being rude is just plain annoying. Thank you for bringing attention to this issue and I hope people will be kinder to you in the future 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes exactly! Especially the pointing out problematic things in a nice way. I dont understand why people cant do that. The person might have missed it or didn’t understand the issue with it. there’s nothing wrong with educating someone. Thank you so much for reading it! 💛

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Hoohoo!
    I completely agree with you. I’m an exhibit A myself and when it comes to reviews, there is no “wrong” opinion, I think. Because as you said, at the end of the day a review is exactly that: an opinion. Of course, there can be opinions that are problematic or ignore certain aspects of a book or are biased but they are opinions we form due to our personal interests and likes and dislikes. We all have a different taste and that’s okay. Great even. And while we should discuss and acknowledge problematic aspects in books, we also should stop shaming people for what they like to read and having an opinion on it.
    Great post and I very much agree with it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes to everything you said! I’ve seen so much shame towards people who enjoy Twilight for instance. I’ve only read book one and didn’t like it much but I can see why some readers do. There are a million reasons behind them liking it including personal ones. If you don’t like it then go. I dont see why we need to shame anyone. Thank you so much for reading!

      Like

  11. YES TO ALL THIS!! It truly is just an opinion and I too am sometimes oblivious to certain issues, which I’m continually trying to improve upon. But also sometimes get very anxious and don’t want to hurt anyone, so I try to be as mindful as possible.

    Like

  12. I’m with you 100%. It’s nothing new, but for some reason, it’s really just grating on me lately, how MEAN some people are to each other over their tastes in books. Like lately, I feel like the new norm is going out of your way to roast people for their book taste, and maybe I’m just too old for this shit but I don’t get the appeal.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I completely agree with you! I feel like everyone experiences a book differently and takes away different things from it. Also, it’s completely possible to find certain aspects of a book problematic but still liking the other. I think what one feels while reading a book is a very personal experience but at the same time talking about them only enhances one’s perception, and that’s why I love talking about books and the things I read to other people. And this is why I really dislike the people who shut down someone else’s opinion without even bothering to talk about the difference of opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I haven’t experienced this with book reviews because not many people see my reviews (in a way, fortunately??) but I’ve received MANY comments on my Kdrama reviews (because they somehow found their way to the first page of Google results) with several paragraphs of “you are daft if you think that’s all there is to the drama” and “if you really think this, you clearly did not see the drama with an open mind”. It’s very frustrating. If you don’t like my opinions, don’t read them *rolls eyes*

    Like

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