Think Aloud explores book-related discussions encompassing reading, writing, blogging, and perhaps newsworthy content. The focus is to push the boundaries, stretch the mind, and encourage dialogue within this community. Let’s all think out loud.
Hype, Negativity, and
Reading Books I Know I’ll Dislike
There’s a moral responsibility to contribute to the reading community regardless of being the black sheep or not.
Negativity, opinions, and the Internet: the perfect triangle of rage.
On reflection, the past few months of [my] ratings have seen multiple 0-3 star books. And that’s fucking terrible.
Am I just bad at choosing books to read? Maybe.
Am I being too critical? Possibly.
Am I buying into hype for the sake of understanding what the fuss is about? Absolutely.
This isn’t to say that I venture into popular fiction with the expectation that it’s going to be a terrible, rage inducing experience but rather I [at times] make the conscious decision to read a book I may not enjoy to a) gain perspective and b) stay updated. Now this behaviour might seem problematic to some–and I guess that depends on who you ask. It’s a divergence from the “read whatever the fuck you want” school of thought but I would argue that I am doing just that even if appears as though I’m thirsty to stir the pot, be the black sheep, and hate for the sake of hating.
(accurate depiction of my hesitance/‘wtfness’ to the things I read)
Because here’s the thing: though I’m just one voice in the community, I feel this undeniable moral responsibility to be educated on current trends, where reader’s interests lie, and to the best of my ability, be prepared for inquiry when prompted — all of which is to say that I have, in the past:
- recommended books I’ve read and enjoyed;
- recommended books I’ve read and not enjoyed; and,
- recommended books I only know of in passing;
Let me expand upon the last point with an example.
With the release of A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Mass, polarizing critiques popped up left-right-and-center. This is fine. Love it or hate it; that’s not for me to decide nor would I police how you ought to think. As a non-reader of anything Maas has written–call me Switzerland if you will–I devoured these comments to gain insight so that when the time comes, I can address these concerns in a roundabout (“general”) way to prospective readers.
But is it disingenuous to recommend books you haven’t read or books you simply did not enjoy?
In my view, everyone is an ambassador in this vibrant community. Some are more vocal than others (speaking to reach, legitimacy, and influence) but regardless of your status as a blogger, a literary connoisseur, or pride as a book sniffer, the fundamental goal [I would imagine] is to find interest and be interested in dialogues sparked by the written word.
And part of my blogging story involves keeping up-to-date with what’s being read and/or experimenting with books I might not enjoy; which to be fair, there’s an equal chance the story could surprise me as well. I might not be as passionate or enthusiastic as the next person but that doesn’t mean any book [that I hated or haven’t read] isn’t someone else’s next favourite thing to flail over.
So to all the hyped debuts that have–and will–fail(ed) me, the friendly recommendations I couldn’t get behind, and for all the negative reviews now and in the future, your combined experiences merit value even if that gain isn’t immediate — if not for me, then surely for someone else.
How often do you recommend books you didn’t enjoy/haven’t read to others?
What’s your longest streak of reading “meh” books?
If you’re willing to share: which book has disappointed you the most this year? How has hyped influenced the appeal and your resultant review (if you wrote one)?
As always, think aloud.
I cannot help being a difficult reader (re “critical reviewer”). I need to be fully transparent because anything else wouldn’t feel right to me.
And there have been some of you who question why I’ve had long sprints of really bad reading months. This post hopefully addresses that even if I disliked something, I’d still gratuitously recommend it to someone (with caveats, of course).