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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Wednesday Chatter #6: Why I don’t write negative reviews

Wednesday Chatter is a weekly feature at Ruby's Books where we'll be talking about anything and everything related to books and reading. Click here if you want to see what we talked about in the previous weeks


WARNING: Some bad words might be used in the following post. Don't say I didn't warn you!



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There have been many discussions about posting negative reviews and the pros and the cons of that. I think it’s safe to say we’ve all heard of at least one blogger/ reviewer that received a lot of negative responses over a negative review. I also know that a lot of bloggers like to read on other book blogs both negative and positive reviews. I know I'm probably in the very small boat of people who don't write negative reviews, but here's my take on writing them.

I've had a few close friends who know about me being a blogger ask me why I don't write negative reviews. Do I like every book I read? Not necessarily. Are all the books that I love deserving of a 5 stars/cups/whatever-your-rating-system-is ? No. Am I trying to appear as a reader that likes everything she reads? Hell no. So why don't I post negative reviews? Easy.

I probably said this so many times, you guys are tired of hearing it, but it is the truth: it's very easy for me to DNF a book. It doesn't make me feel like I'm disappointing anyone, it doesn't make me feel like I didn't try hard enough. I don't have a system, a mark, a certain number of pages that I need to read before I decide I will not read one more page of a book. It's just a feeling I get or, if you like, it's like I lose a connection that maybe wasn't even there to begin with, but I thought it was. I read and then at some point it stops being a fun experience. When that happens, I shut the book, pick up another and I never give it another thought. Do I feel okay about DNFing a book? No, especially if it's a book that I was dying to read and everyone around me seems to love it except me. I don't feel fine at all. But it is what it is and instead of losing time reading something I know I won't enjoy, I just don't read it.  I really respect the readers who can keep reading even if they don't like the book, I really do. I wish I could read a book I didn't particularly enjoy, but I can't.

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Ever since I discovered that reading was cool and that I loved books, there has been only one book that made me want to keep reading even though I didn't particularly like it, and that's the only book I've ever given a rating below 3 cups. Of course, in my twisted mind, I kept hoping that there was some paranormal element in it, some twist that will make the book magically awesome at some point. There wasn't but that's not the point. That review exists, it's on my blog and if you want, you can read it here. There's also a DNF review on my blog and even though I don't feel particularly good about writing and publishing it, I won't pull it from my blog. It just wouldn't seem fair.

Why don't I review DNFs? Well, it has nothing to do with the fact that you shouldn't review books you didn't finish. I think that as long as you can still be honest and respectful and have something to say about it, you should write it. But I find it so hard at times to explain why I decided to stop reading it. Yes, it's easy to say "I'm not reading this anymore", but explaining what led me to that decision is hard. Sometimes it can just be a word or expression I don't like, sometimes it can be a scene, sometimes it's a character or maybe I just don't click with the story. I don't write DNF reviews not because I don't want to, but because I honestly can't explain it at times.

I said earlier that I don't always like every book I read, which is true. This is why you'll find 3 cups reviews on my blog. But I've been reading for quite some time now and I have some good systems that allow me to know for sure if I'm going to like a book before I decide to buy it. Of course, there's always that book that slips through the cracks, the one book that doesn't raise any flags and then not liking it takes me by surprise.

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For example. I don't like reading about time travel. I just don't get it. I understand the confusion of someone going into the future. Hell, if I went in the future and saw flying cars and weird robot-like creatures flying everywhere I'd be confused. But being confused about what was in the past? Come on, dummy, you studied about some of those things in history class, did nothing stick with you? I don't like reading about characters going in the past and being confused about what happens there. Oh, okay, I'd probably be confused as well if I went in the past, I don't know. But since I've tried reading a book about time travel and didn't enjoy it, I know when I see time travel on the blurb that I won't enjoy it and stay away from it. Am I losing some good books, worlds, characters or stories? Yes, I most certainly am. But why risk it? Why should I try reading a book about a subject I already know I don't like? So I just don't.

What I'm trying to say here is that I have no hidden reason for not writing negative reviews. I'm not trying to show readers and/or authors how positive I am or to appear as a reader that loves everything. Lord knows I don't and I couldn't stand it if I liked everything I read either. But I know how to choose my books and I know when to give up.  So that's my reason for not writing negative reviews.

What about you? Do you write negative reviews? What do you think about the whole should we/shouldn't we write them subject?

2 comments:

  1. Great post! I can totally understand not writing negative reviews because sometimes I can't explain it either. Sometimes I just can't come up with the words to describe how I feel or don't feel.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! Exactly, sometimes I can't get past the "I didn't like it" type of explanation. And I do like to have a logical reason for it, but I just don't. Thanks for stopping by.

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