Monday, March 8, 2010

some (more) ponderings...


Hey everybody--hope your week's off to a good start! Once again, I'm going to use my blog as a sort of cyber diary and throw out some reading-related questions that have been going through my head recently...
I’m not trying to tattle about stuff from goodreads, or in my personal life, or whatever…but it does make me think. Have you ever felt like your opinions were placed on the defense? Or have you ever had reservations about speaking your mind because you were afraid of the potential backlash? I’m thinking about book reviews and such, but I guess I could be talking about any aspect of life. I don’t know, I’m just babbling. It’s either type away on here or pay attention to the lecture that’s going on a few feet from my table…

That’s not to say that I don’t like arguing—I was on debate team and I started out as pre-law…but I guess somewhere along the way I’ve just grown tired (or lazy) of always being on the defense. It was fun and noble when I was younger—now it’s just a pain in the butt. And my reading tastes have changed, I think. Now, for some reason I like books that people have never heard of, or books that are old (my favorite series, The Chronicles of Prydain, was popular in the 60s when my parents were little kids). And I seem to foam-at-the-mouth over books that everybody enjoys. There are exceptions, though. I love Harry Potter and as of yet, I’ve never heard any bad comments about Percy Jackson… And I do occasionally like to “stick up for the little guy” (aka Twilight…off topic real quick: what is up with all the Twi-hating? Come on, everybody!) But yeah, pretty much all the books in my “pile o’ crap” shelf on Goodreads are must-loves elsewhere. And I like being different, I guess…but I don’t really understand all the hostility. Is it really so extraordinary to have different opinions? If someone likes a book that I don’t like, I don’t feel the need to go, “OMG what is wrong with you?!” I really don’t understand the reasoning behind hostile comments…it’s one thing to say, “oh wow, I didn’t really see things that way,” but let’s not play cross-examination here!


- I mean, if I don't like a book, I'm going to say "I don't like this book!" Now my pledge to you - those lovelies who read my reviews: if I say "I don't like this book!" or rate a book down, I promise to explain why. Otherwise it may just look like I'm being PMSy or something. I have reasons---and to be quite honest, if I rate a book 3 or lower, I feel like there is a good reason. Truthfully, I try to look for the good in a book, if for no other reason than to feel like my reading time wasn't wasted. But if I rate a book down (2.5 or lower) there's usually something wrong with it, and not just "ohhh, the writing stank!" or "cardboard characters!" or whatever. It's something serious that I found extremely detrimental or just had a major problem with. And if you agree or disagree, cool! That's totally fine, but I do feel like I should be honest.
** I can't express enough how appreciative I am of honest reviews. That doesn't mean I take pleasure out of books/authors being turned into punching bags, but I really like honesty. If you have something to say, please share it! I know I will :P

Maybe I’m just getting lazy… but I wanted to pose the questions. Have you ever felt like you’ve had to get on the defense over a review, or an opinion you have expressed? Have you ever had reservations about speaking your mind because you were afraid of the potential backlash?

17 shout-outs!:

Allie said...

I completely understand where you are coming from. I simply don't get why certain people get so angry and upset for others' reading choices.

I once got into it with someone in college about reading Harry Potter. I am a huge Harry Potter fan and this person was offended that I, as an English major, enjoyed the books. He continued to put me down for it and tell me that I needed to read more sophisticated literature and that I shouldn't be reading if I was only going to read garbage. It really hurt my feelings. Honestly? Who cares what I am reading. I read what I enjoy-not what is popular and not what I am told to read.

I have always made it a point to not only check out books that are getting a lot of press, but to dig and find treasure in those books that never get attention. I like reading older series, or weird things that no one else seems to like.

I really hate when people rag on others for reading choices. Reading is a very personal experience and you know what? As long as you love the books you read, there is nothing anyone can say to you to change that.

(as you can see, I have very strong feelings about this.)

:)

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Some people just like to fight. I never indulge them. Just brush it off and keep on walking. You're keeping it real, light, and honest. You rock! ;)

Tina said...

What a good conversation starter....;D
Ive felt that way at times writing my reviews and actually have a hard time when it comes to getting in Religious debates...people are so touchy or bash-worthy. I once wrote I hated when authors took characters from the bible and twisted them into fictionial garbage- Yeah I got a lot of feedback on that, some good-some not.
I guess thats whats great about having your own blog, its your choices and thoughts- and you get to control what go's on it.

Amelia said...

Thanks everybody!
@ Allie: That's so weird that that person said that over Harry Potter...I think Rowling is an amazing author and one could even argue that with all the literary techniques she uses, her books could be "semi-educational!"

@ Juju: Oh no, dear. YOU rock :P

@ Tina: Haha I'd be right behind ya on that one (even if you just mentioned it as an example). We actually started a topic in my Christianity & Literature class last year that turned into a screaming match...apparently authors today are on this Angel/Fallen Angel thing, which I waver back-and-forth between. It does annoy me from a religious standpoint that they try and either manipulate religion or just totally ignore it...

But anyway, I digress. Thanks for the comment, and I totally agree with what you're saying!

Christina T said...

In my classes my professors always told us that we shouldn't ever look down on other people's reading interests. I have even made a conscious effort to quit referring to certain types of books as "trashy" romance because it sounds negative although I don't have anything against those books or their readers. I try when writing reviews of books to be kind when I criticize. Most of my reviews are positive (I haven't written reviews for books I truly hate and so far this year I haven't hated any books that I've read.)

I sometimes feel like I have to defend my reading of YA fiction or fantasy, particularly anything with vampires, witches, etc. My parents hate Harry Potter and believe that having the books in my house invites evil in or something strange like that. I've found that there are certain books or genres that just push people's buttons more than others (Dan Brown, Harry Potter, Twilight).

I hope that people haven't been giving you a hard time on your blog reviews. You should be able to freely express your thoughts otherwise the reviews aren't honest.

AtenRa said...

It's one of the drawbacks of stating your opinion publicly, I'm afraid.It becomes prey to everyone's ridiculous inferiority complex.Never be afraid to express what you think and feel and just ignore them.

Sarah (Book Reviews from Inside an Igloo) said...

Absolutely Amelia!! I feel the same way! Some of my favorite books, movies, and Tv shows nobody like, which I kinda love cause I like being an oddball haha. I know, that in books, I LOVE strong female characters. Like I noticed on goodreads you didn't like Graceling, well see I liked it due to the fact that female characters are so inspirational to me, and that aspect of the book is quite an oddity in literature these days (this is another reason why I love the hunger games).
Also, I feel like my whole book collection puts me on the defensive every time I have a friend over, because right after they say "holy you read a lot of books", they tell me what odd stuff I read. I'm sorry if my favorite books have nothing to do with "the real world" as my sister would say, but if I'm going to read books that are fiction why not read something way out there? After all NONE of it's really "real". And I would say a lot of the books you love, I've either do love or would definitely read! After all, honesty is the BEST medicine!! GREATTTT post!!! :)

Amelia said...

That's interesting, Sarah! I personally am a little tired of the "ultra-strong" female character :P I don't know, it just seems like we've swung from having stupid little whiny, wussy girl characters to like super-strong (and often times manhating)...I don't know, I just see that a lot, and that's just a pet peeve of mine. I think it's a really hard balance to create a good, strong girl who doesn't have an arrogance complex...so I understand how hard it can possibly be. But yeah, I didn't like that book :P

Sarah (Book Reviews from Inside an Igloo) said...

hahahahah!!! Yes I can understand that completely! I don't think Graceling bothered me on that front probably because I read it right after I read "The Devouring" which is the only book I have ever given 1/5 on. Now thats a book I strongly DISLIKED! haha

And yea man-hating in books does seem to be the new pink... I don't know maybe I was in a stage in my life where that spoke to me ! :) haha

Amelia said...

Hey, that's honest!! :D You know what's funny--if I read that book as like a 14-year old or something, I'd probably love it. But somewhere along the way I stripped and pricked my finger on the Hopeless Romantic spinning wheel... hahaha I don't know! She got on my nerves, but that's okay I guess.

Amelia said...

***tripped!! i meant to say "tripped"!!!

Alexia561 said...

I've never understood why some people react so strongly if you disagree with their opinion. There's no need for hostility, as everyone has different tastes. So long as people explain why they feel the way they do, I don't see the problem. I actually prefer honest opinions with lower ratings more so than someone who gives every book a rave review. Keep doing what you're doing and ignore the grumps! :)

Sarah (Book Reviews from Inside an Igloo) said...

hahaha!! Amelia I am definitely a victim of that spinning wheel too!!

Jillian said...

Amelia, this is a great post, because I think this issue/thought is something everyone ponders on, every once in a while. You also pretty much took the words out of my mouth.
And I really just had to comment on what you said about Harry Potter. I completely agree with you, I hate it when people look down on it, saying it's not literature. As far as I know, literature is ANYTHING that is art, in written form. Also, Harry Potter is amazing, for lack of a better word. Harry Potter actually allows readers to THINK for themselves, which is a bit of a rarity at times.

mini-rant over. haha.

I am always honest about my opinions and reviews, but still make sure to keep my tact in check. I have to remember not to offend people, and I think that's the best way to give an honest but unbiased opinion.

Cozy Book Nook said...

Ditto on all the above-- As limiting as I think it is to only read one genre, I'd never belittle anyone for it-- so I'm ready to battle a bookbully anytime anywhere! Can you tell I am a big fan of kick-ass women,too? Well, Sarah phrased it more politely--- sorry, I've been living smack dab in the middle of redneck land too long.

Errr...I would so love to lay into that bookbully who picked on Allie-- and over Harry Potter! What a pretentious sounding moronic jerk!! Really, there is something wrong with people like that... I'm starting to think maybe an inferiority complex like AtenRa mentioned-- why else would a person feel the need to so aggressively go out of their way to put down someone else's taste in books.

A person's taste in books evolves over a lifetime... it is an intrinsic part of who we are deep down in our souls.. so an attack on what we read is an attack on more than just a book... it is an attack on our truest selves.

And don't get me started on the folks still living in the darkages who think Harry Potter and other books are evil...

Whew! My rant wasn't so mini this time but it is now over. ;)

Amelia, I've ranted more since I started reading your blog 3 wks ago than I have in months! Thanks, it is quite cathartic!

Natalie (Mindful Musings) said...

Props to you for giving honest reviews regardless of the potential for backlash. I agree with you: I'm not going to tell someone I liked a book just because everyone else liked it and I'm not going to hate a book because everyone else hated it. Personally, I think different opinions are what make books and blogging so interesting.

Jillian said...

I agree with Natalie :) if every bloggers have the same opinion, what's the use writing reviews in the first place?

 
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