Listen, I am a terrible book reviewer. (What a way to start my third blog post on a book review blog.)
That is not strictly true. As a life long reader, with degrees that prove I can read and teach students to read, I am able to form an opinion about a book. I just struggle with writing negative opinions that are meant to be read. I struggle with the ability to show negative emotions anyways and I hate saying that I did not like something that someone worked hard on. I do not want friends/family/students to feel bad that they liked something that I did not and I sometimes I feel badly that I liked something they did not. I have such a tremendous sense of guilt, that I stopped giving stars to books on GoodReads. It felt wrong to condemn an author’s work, just because I didn’t like it.
I am capable of verbally expressing my opinion of a book and explaining why (with evidence. #englishteacherproblems.) However, that opinion is often expressed in a polite and non-controversial way. Now I realize, there are ways to give feedback without being mean. I am a middle school English teacher. I realize there are legitimate reasons that a book might not be good, or that I just do not like it. And that is okay.
So here I am, with a book review blog, ready to review books…even if I did not like them.
Some common reasons why I will not like a book:
1. I guessed the ending of the mystery novel. I still enjoyed it, but the ending did not wow me…therefore, I missed out on the shock that everyone else had at the end. Note: this happens frequently. I have read almost every mystery novel and nothing shocks me anymore. Ex. Gone Girl.
2. It is a best seller/award winner/popular book/becoming a movie/book every one else read and liked and I do not want to be the one negative person saying “I didn’t really like it.” Ex. The Hunger Games series.
3. It is a book everyone loves. This could just be stubbornness and a hold- over from my teenages emo phase. Ex. To Kill a Mockingbird. Don’t get me wrong, the story is powerful and important; the style didn’t speak to me as a fourteen year old. I should read it again…you are right.
4. I read it on an eReader. As a kinesthetic learner, I have to be able to flip a page and oddly enough, it affects my enjoyment of a book. Ex. Most of the Invisible Library Series (and I liked the first one, which I read using a physical book)
5. The world-building was beyond my imagination. I struggle with fantasy books that are set in worlds with imaginative creatures and natural laws. Ex. Children of Blood and Bone. I loved the characters and their relationships, but couldn’t do the magic part…the important part. That one is on me.
6. The book should have been a stand-alone/series should have been shorter. Ex. The Diviners. The first one was imaginative and thrilling. Libba Bray captured the 1920s and created a vibrant and very human cast of characters. I liked the next ones in the series less and less.
7. Chapters are too long. I just prefer short chapters.
8. Too many points of view or characters to keep track of. Ex. Game of Thrones.
9. I had no emotional responses to it.
To be fair, I actually like a lot of books, even ones that no one else liked. That might be my difficulty finding negativity in places and trying to stay positive (to a fault.)
That brings me to my purpose and the title of this blog. I most frequently rate books as three stars. Either, I didn’t like it and I don’t want to admit it or I liked it and I don’t want to admit it. That ends here. That ends today. I will be reviewing books with ratings beyond three stars….unless I feel like it actually deserve three stars.
Final thought: What do you struggle with as a reader or reviewer? I would love to know.
#bookblog #reviews #literature #zerotohero
2 thoughts on “On Reviewing and Preferences”
I try to stick to a few themes for books that I recommend on my blog, but I avoid star ratings. On Goodreads and Amazon, I post reviews when I especially find books enjoyable and thought-provoking. Most authors work so hard on their efforts that I think it is important to be supportive.
That is a great option for reviewing! I feel like the consumer always needs something quantitative to go by, but ratings trap the reviewer into a prescribed format. I may need to try that out. Thanks for your response!