Monday Musings: Books are Magical and the Power of Words and Emotion

Monday Musings II

Three things happened in the last week that prompted this post:

  1. I read an ARC for an upcoming release by one of my favorite authors. And I didn’t like it.

im-sorry

  1. I wrote a rather negative review of a book on Goodreads. And I was one of a few who rated it rather lowly.

    I give up

  2. A book that I edited and received overall very positive reviews also received a few negative ones that put the author in a temporary moment of insanity. I have to admit, even that one stung.

Fuck It All

All of these events were somewhat of a shock to my literary being (I know that may make zero sense to some, but let’s just go with it). I was not only shocked that I didn’t like something that one of my ultimate faves had written, but I was even more perplexed that everyone else overwhelmingly loved it. What did they take away differently from a story that so utterly turned me off? Same with the book that received the glowing reviews as opposed to my scathing one? With the book that I edited, that author and I put our feet in it, and we both had a few headscratching convos about where we went wrong, and we conspiratorially concluded that those readers are just nuts (teehee…Yes, I do get in my feels.)

I’ve thought about this, and the simplest answer is “Everything ain’t for everybody.” But more importantly, when we read, we process things differently. Our head spaces aren’t the same. Life events may come into play. While both books were not badly written, meaning, they were “technically sound”, I wasn’t captivated by the storyline or attracted to the characters. And you know what? I felt really badly. I felt like I was betraying a friend for not liking her work, and I felt like shit for going in so hard on a book that just triggered something in me that just pissed me off to the highest level of pisstivity. With the book I edited, I am still quite pleased with the end result, but more importantly, the author loved the end result, and that’s all that matters as far as I am concerned (But yeah, I’m still a lil raw over one particular negative review…)

Words and emotion. They don’t just apply in real life.

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15 thoughts on “Monday Musings: Books are Magical and the Power of Words and Emotion

  1. I feel your pain with being the odd man out when it comes to stories that everyone else loved, but I’m standing to the side all by my lonesome! It’s especially hard if it’s an author that you usually love. I just had that experience last week too! Must be something in the air! You are right, everything is not for everyone and it’s all subjective. It is what it is, and we as readers just have to move on to the next read. Keep doing you girlie!

  2. The first negative review always hurts. No doubt about it. Once you get past the first one… it gets easier. I’m sure you and the author did a heck of a job editing the story!

    I purchased book one in a series about a year ago. Everyone in a reader group I’m a part of LOVED IT. Sang the praises of this book like an ole Negro spiritual. Of course I couldn’t wait to dive in. So yeah, um I hated the characters. I thought they were one dimensional. The book barely made three stars. It was actually a 2.5 star read for me but I rounded up.

    Reading is just one of those subjective things. No need to feel bad. We have winners and we have losers. Every author won’t knock it out of the ballpark every time. lol I know for sure I won’t. Once you get used to that, it’s not so bad.

    1. Like an old negro spiritual…I can’t LOL, but yes! This is my current situation, and I feel like I have a comprehension issue or something. My dislike of the book does not make me love the author any less. Sometimes I’ve reread a book some time later and actually liked a little more. I may try again later.

  3. If there isn’t anything wrong with the book structurally (grammar, spelling, punctuation, POV shifts, etc.) and I find that I don’t like the book, I don’t leave a review. The reason I don’t is because my bad feelings about the story have nothing to do with the quality of the book or the author’s writing. It’s a personal response to the story. I just didn’t connect with the characters or find the plot intriguing. To leave a bad review in this instance is very similar to telling someone their baby is ugly. 🙂 However, if it’s just a book of poor quality, I might leave a critical / constructive review.

    As an author, I know how it feels to get bad reviews simply because the story made someone sad (I received a 2-star rating because a reader said the story made her sad). I even got a 1-star review because a reader didn’t like that the protagonist and her twin demonstrated affection toward one another in a way that’s not customary in our culture. It’s very difficult to create unusual characters in unusual situations that will resonate with everybody. But I do enjoy reading the emotional responses to such stories. 🙂

    Great post!

    1. Thanks for the insight! I do tend to base my reviews on emotion rather than plot and grammar and all the technical stuff. I’ve loved some villains who were the scum of the earth and rated a book favorably because that villain made me feel something even if it was hatred. Conversely, there are books that I’ve rated less than favorably because of the sheer ridiculousness of a character. Yeah, it made me feel something, but it was rage, lol

  4. I think we all have had that moment when we read a book by one of our fav authors and it’s a dud. You find yourself really wanting to like it, but it’s just not there. I’ve also found that depending on what mood I’m in, there are certain books I know to stay away from because there will be a lot of eye rolling on my behalf and a negative review will surely follow..LOL.

    I agree with Harper Miller, reading is a subjective things. Everything is not for everyone.

    1. Exactly! If I know I have nothing positive to contribute to a review, specifically an ARC, I will recuse myself-unless the author wants the real regardless…

  5. Been there, done that. It’s been over a year since one of my auto-buy authors wrote a book I simply could not get with…that the rest of the free world cheered en mass over. Oh well, I’m over it. Problem is (for me anyway), I have not been able to get back into her books. I buy them – I just do not read them. (The dysfunction is strong with this one.)

    Just as you stated, “Everything ain’t for everybody” – folks need to understand and agree to disagree. More times than not, I’ve had negative feelings over a book that was bleeding 5-star reviews. I’ve even re-read a couple of books to see if I missed something – nope, still didn’t like it. But the reverse is also true. I cheered and wanted to chant, “Pulitzer Nominee!” over books readers skewered. There is no rhyme or reason. We’re drawn to and connect with different aspects of a book, and that just keeps things “interesting.”

    1. Oh wow! That book must’ve really struck a nerve. I have had an incident or two where an author’s actions on social media have made me stop reading her books, and that really hurt me because I liked this person. When I saw some ish go down though, I was done…

  6. Reading is very subjective and I also avoid reading certain types of books when I’m in certain moods. I recently read a teaser from a book by an author I read quite often and know I just won’t enjoy the book. S I’m not even going

    1. Pressed send too early. I was going to write ‘So I’m not even going to bother reading the rest.’

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