I hope everyone had a stupendous holiday season and good luck to you guys heading back to work or school or both! This past break I read a ton of books, and the last book I read for 2015 had me thinking a little bit, which led to this discussion post. The book was the good-not-great type: one that I’d certainly recommend to my friends and may reread once in awhile, but never obsess about. It was a sequel, and I didn’t even like the first book that much. However, I looked back at my rating on the blog and Goodreads and was astounded I gave the previous book a whopping four out of five stars.
If you go by Goodreads’ rating system, that’s a “really liked it” kind of book. If I used that system, that book would have actually been a two stars for an “it was ok.” So why in the world did I give it so many stars?!
I read over the review on my blog and understood. While the list of complaints and criticisms took up 70% of the review, I embellished and emphasized the parts I actually enjoyed, making it seem like they outweighed the bad parts of the book. And why did I do that? To fit in with the majority: that is, everyone else who L-O-V-E-D that book.
I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person to change his or her rating based on the thoughts of others. But thinking over it now makes it seem so ridiculous. I mean, I didn’t really like the book. Yet I still gave it a pretty high rating – something doesn’t add up there, does it? And when someone asked me about how I liked the book, I’d be like, “Wellll, it was good! Yeah! Although I didn’t like this-this-and-this, it was good.” As I was reading the sequel, I kept telling myself how much I liked it when in fact it was so-so. I mean, it was still a fun book; yet, I did not fall in the section of readers that contribute to the hype over it.
I guess where I’m going at is: Don’t be afraid to be the black sheep. In fact, you’ll even see that people with unpopular opinions may even get heard more. (I mean, they do make up for the majority of top reviews on Goodreads…) Although it may be safer to stay with the crowd (like I tried to do when I started blogging), making yourself “like” a book isn’t worth it. In fact, I kind of love reading negative reviews these days – the more savage, the better.
It was weird with this book because while I enjoyed reading it, there were also many negative aspects that I couldn’t stand. I could see why other people would like it though – it was just one of those not my cup of tea situations. Yet in the beginning of my rating days, I was so easily influenced to actually rate it higher than I believe it deserved.
In the end, it’s so much easier being honest with yourself and the readers of your reviews. You stick with how you see the book, and in turn help readers decide whether or not it would fit their interests. And honestly, I am in awe of the reviewers who do such magnificent rants on the flaws of a book. I mean, they are fearless with their voice and I strive to become like that too.
So this post was a lesson for me, and hopefully something that can help remind you guys too of sticking to what you think, and not becoming influenced by hype surrounding a book. It’s one thing to be let down by hype, but another to let it actually change how you think. Don’t let that change happen – stick to what your own thoughts are, because in the end that’s what makes you, well, you.
Have you ever caught yourself liking or disliking a book because your all your friends think that way? I’d love to hear your own experiences!