Monday, August 20, 2012

Book Blogger Confessions #14

Book Blogger Confessions is a new meme hosted by All-Consuming Books and For What It's Worth. You can find out all about it here

Every second week there is one topic that has something to do with book-blogging that you can discuss on your blog.

This week's topic is: Have you ever loved a book that you know is not a great literary gem? Maybe it's filled with spelling errors, tired cliches, and is utterly cheestastic but you loved it anyway. How do you handle that as a blogger who is used to critical thinking and analysis? Do you pretend you never read the book - never to be reviewed or added to your Goodreads shelf? Do you write a review but maybe apologize and make excuses as to why you enjoyed it or are you bold and proud of any book you enjoyed? Conversely - have you read a classic, that is considered a literary gem but you just didn't get it? Are you embarrassed to admit that or do you review it anyway?

That happens to me ALL THE TIME. I've read so many books that I know are of little to no literary value but I just enjoyed reading. The most recent example would be The Selection by Kiera Cass. Objectively, I could see that it is pretty terrible. It is cheesy and makes no sense and the characters are flat and everything about it is terrible. And it was pretty hard to turn off my critical-thinking brain that was making lists in my head of all the bad stuff I could include in my review. But somehow, I did manage to tune all of that out, and then, I kind of loved it. A lot of the technical stuff is bad, but it's a fun read, and that's what matters most, to me. I ended up giving it 3 stars.

It happens the other way around, too. To be honest, I haven't read many classics, but there've been lots of books that I could see, objectively, were good, but I didn't connect with. Like Paper Covers Rock by Jennifer Hubbard. I could see that the writing was good, and that there was so much hidden depth in the book, but I didn't work for me. It was just too weird and felt like too much work for me, which is why I didn't enjoy it, even though I can see, objectively, that it's a good book. I ended up giving it 2 stars.

That might seem wrong, and I do feel a little bad about it, but I think it's justified. I don't give ratings or write reviews about whether or not a book is good; I have no business deciding that. I review and rate based on whether or not I liked a book - that's the only thing I can really judge. And if I enjoyed a cheestastic book and did not like one of more literary value, then I think it's fine to give the cheestastic book a higher rating.

At least, that's how I deal with it in the blogging world. In the blogging world, I'm proud of liking the books I like and disliking the books I dislike - I feel like the blogging world gets it, you know? In the real world, though, I'm not that open about what books I like. I'd be kind of embarrassed to say I loved a book that I know the other person would hate, with good reason, or to say I didn't get a book that is supposedly so great. In the real world, I just say something non-commital or something.

How do you deal with loving a "bad" book or hating a "good" book?


  1. Our feelings are pretty much exactly the same. I totally appreciate fabulous foreshadowing/symbolism/overall good writing, and I love it when a book really gets me thinking, but equally important is the story's ability to capture me. And yes, the blogging world totally understands so much better. I cannot tell you how many times my parents have ridiculed the books I read- even the ones that ARE brilliantly written and really thought-provoking- simply because they don't consider the novels to be "classics."

  2. I agree with you and have faced this dilemma... But everyone's idea of classic is different. There are so many different criteria by which you can judge, so sometimes it's a classic on my book shelf but I don't want to dt it.

  3. A good read is a good read no matter if it is a classic or not. There are some classic reads that are boring beyond belief & others I just love.


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