Recently I’ve come across a few book reviews (some of books I’ve read and some that I haven’t) that have made me feel bad, bad for myself as a reader and bad for the authors and I just had to talk about it, purging it out of my system in a way. I know that when we do reviews we put into words the feelings that a particular book made us experience, what we enjoy about it and what we didn’t. But I’ve always been a firm believer that there is a gentle way to give criticism (positive feedback and all).
What I’ve seen in some of these reviews that I mentioned, it’s that they focus mainly in some controversial topic in the book or a problematic theme (the more recent one being Diversity or the lack of it) and exploit it to the point of almost making it fee like a witch hunt with pitch forks and all. Commenting on how you shouldn’t like this particular book nor should you support it because of “this issue” they point out. As a reader I’ve found myself feeling almost guilty for liking those particular books, and it bothers me when someone makes me feel bad for what I read. Being the avid romance reader that I am I have a lot of experience with being judged and critiqued because of what I enjoy reading. We romance readers are used to the ridicule and to hearing how what we like to read is shit (Excuse my language) or stupid or that it doesn’t have meaning and it’s trashy and how can you read that? and so on, but I’m getting off topic.
Controversy sells, I know, and I’m sure that posts like those get a lot of views and comments but I can’t help thinking that it’s not worth it to become popular so negatively. Like I said there’s a gentle way to point out what you think might be problematic in some books (because of course there will be sensitive topics and a whole lot of things we all won’t agree on) but at least give the author a chance to take the information and grow, and give the readers the opportunity to appreciate your opinion even if they don’t always share it, without feeling bad about what they like. Thankfully it’s not something so common in the book blogging community, at least for what I’ve experienced of it. It’s a great community to be a part of.
It is a given that we all have different tastes, tolerance levels, and topics that will affect us more than others due to our background and life experiences, that is what makes sharing and discussing books so enriching but there has to be respect.
To finish this rambling of thoughts I just want to say that in my case I Do read for pleasure, I pick up a certain book for enjoyment just because I felt like reading that type of book at some point, I won’t pick apart a book just for the sake of finding what it’s wrong or what could be wrong with it, my reviews will be my feelings on that particular book and if and when a problematic topic pops out at me I will refer to it, always trying to be respectful of the author’s work and of my fellow readers, like I mention before we all have different things to which we might be more sensitive than others so with these in mind I’ll always try to give a positive feedback.
This post has been added to The June Discussion Challenge link up at Feed Your Fiction Addiction, Click here to check out the challenge.
Do you read for pleasure? Have you found reviews that had made you feel bad for enjoying certain books? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.