(Meme from: https://www.pinterest.com/MSLibraryComm/302232-book-memes/)
I honestly just love this meme because I think it describes my reading habits perfectly! There are books that I will immediately put at the top of my To-Read Pile despite the many books that have been sitting there for years. But there are also books that I would never admit to reading and/or liking to my friends–but I’ll admit to them here (on my blog) because of the power of the anonymous internet.
I actually really liked Twilight: I actually liked it so much that I immediately reread it after finishing it the first time! Now when I tell people this, I list a few excuses about why I felt this way. Those reasons are:
- I was 15 when I read it–the target demographic for the series
- If I read it now, as a woman in her 20s, I probably wouldn’t feel that way
- it was the first paranormal “teen” romance novel I read
- by this point my reading habits weren’t what they were today so exposure was limited
- the writing never bothered me
- I liked that it was an easy to follow story plus I was no literary critic (still aren’t)
It’s just as easy to come up with these excuses for Fifty Shades of Grey (if you strip *no pun intended* all the BDSM away, at its bones, it is a love story and the later books do get a plot line) and the Sweet Series (this series was just kinky BDSM that I was probably way to young to read when I did; do this day I don’t have them rated on my Goodreads account).
But my question is why do I feel the need to justify why I enjoyed a book a vast majority of people label as “garbage”? Why do I worry about getting judged for reading and enjoying something that interests me that others seem to detest?
I want to be clear that I am not talking about disliking a book that others have given 5 stars to: I’m talking about feeling embarrassed for reading a book and liking it. Two different things, though I agree that they can often go hand in hand.
The simple answer is of course to blame it on society. We live in a society where we are self-conscious of what other people think of us. Especially if you live in a democratic society like I do, you are raised with the thought process that what the majority thinks is best for the population or common good is probably that choice that is made at the end of the day.
Critics are basically using a set of standards that have been created by a larger group of people to criticize works. I always find it fascinating to learn how literature canons are created because who gets to decide what pieces of work are the greatest and why it is the greatest? Even the definition of “literature” is heavily debated on.
I guess the point I am trying to make is that reviews and opinions are subjective. There is a quote from Family Guy (judge away) that I think really emphasizes this point:
“This is life, the one you get so go and have a ball, because the world don’t move, to the beat of just one drum. What might be right for you, may not be right for some. You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have my opening statement”
So why should I be influenced to feel a certain way about a book just because one person says I should?
I suppose it is a little hypocritical of me to “bash” reviewers when I myself have a book reviewing blog. But the underlying purpose of creating this blog entry is to point out that it is OK to like books others dislike! Just because one reviewer writes an extremely negative review about your favourite book doesn’t mean you should second guess why you like that book, or not admit that you like it! Everyone has different tastes and personal pet peeves that can influence why you rate a book like you do and it is A-OK to disagree!
That’s why when I write my book reviews, I try to present both sides of the story. If I don’t like a book, I explain why but I also mention who I think would like this book and vice versa. Just because I don’t like it, doesn’t mean you won’t; and the same can be said about your reviews and me. Reading is a subjective experience and at the end of the day it comes down to how that book makes you feel and why it makes you feel that way. Don’t ever be embarrassed by what you read and embrace your tastes! Don’t be afraid to share them with the world!
So, do you admit to reading/liking the books that you read?
Do you feel the need to justify why you liked a book that is panned by critics or your friends?
Do you take into consideration who might like/dislike a book when you review it?
Do you think blogging/the internet has influenced how people perceive certain books?
PS: Check out Nerdybirdy @ Daydreaming Books’ discussion on Book Bashing as well!
Leave a comment below!