Mar 13, 2008

Meme: Negativity

I read this meme on Dewey's blog, The Hidden Side of a Leaf. It addresses some questions I've asked myself lately, so here goes:

1. When you dislike a book, do you say so in your blog? Why or why not?

Yes. Unfortunately reading is not always a positive experience, so my record of it isn't going to be, either. I like to be honest about my reactions to the books.

2. Do you temper your feelings about books you didn’t like, so as not to completely slam them? Why or why not?

Usually. I'm not out to hurt anyone's feelings. Most books/authors don't deserve to be pummeled with unkind remarks! However, I might have made a few exceptions, where I felt there was something dishonest about the way in which a book was written. I have to mention that yesterday I found a site that is all about slamming books, Scathing Book Reviews. At first it was hilarious to read what horrendous things were said about classics like Hamlet and The Grapes of Wrath. Then I discovered that all the remarks came from Amazon reviewers, which weakened the validity of it somewhat.

3. What do you think is the best way to respond when you see a negative review about a book you enjoyed?

Let it be. Not everyone is going to share my opinion or taste in reading material. However, if I feel I can offer a remark that may encourage someone who is reading the negative review to still try the book, I might leave a comment.

4. What is your own most common reaction when you see a negative review of a book you loved or a positive review of a book you hated?

See the above response: we all like different things. Why get upset about it? Sometimes it makes me sad if a book I really really love gets bad reviews, but it's not worth it to get all bent out of shape. I probably dislike books that those people love, in return.

5. What is your own most common reaction when you get a comment that disagrees with your opinion of a book?

I'm not about to censor other's opinions, so I just let them be. Unless of course, the language is abusive then I might moderate some comments but so far that hasn't happened. If anything, I get more repsonses on posts I make that reflect poorly on books everyone else seems to have raved about. I don't mind at all. I like to hear what everyone has to say, especially when their opinion is different from mine. It's more interesting than just having everyone agree with you all the time.

6. What if you don’t like a book that was a free review copy? What then?

I'm still going to write about it and be honest. I am up front to people who send me books that my "reviews" are based a lot on personal opinion and what I like to read, so they shouldn't expect rave reviews if they send me the latest hot romance novel or murder mystery. I'm just not into those kinds of books, so I probably won't like it regardless of how well it's written. And unfortunately, I'm not very good at stepping back and making an un-biased analysis of writing style, character development, plot arcs, etc. I'm just sharing my opinions on books. Including the negative ones.

7. What do you do if you don’t finish a book? Do you review it or not? If you review it, do you mention that you didn’t finish it?
I still make a brief note of what the book was about and why I stopped reading it. Sometimes it's just as interesting to see what people don't like in books as what they do. Also, I don't want to forget a book I really disliked and pick it up a second time.

This has happened. One time a college roommate lent me a book that was her absolute favorite. I got a third of the way through and it began to feel very, very familiar. Finally I realized I'd read it before- and been terribly bored. I handed it back to her with the tactless remark "I've read this before, it was kinda boring" and she got quite offended. The book had touched her so much, she cried when reading it. If I'd recalled my first attempt, I could have avoided that whole unpleasant scene!

Keeping track of the books I abandon removes that problem.

I'm curious to hear what my fellow book bloggers have to say about this topic. I tag Charlene, Ravenous Reader, Chain Reader, Trish, Chris and anyone else who reads this and wants to participate.


  1. Anonymous3/13/2008

    This is an interesting meme - I've not seen it before! I enjoyed reading your answers.

    Thanks for the tag, and I will consider and reply to all these questions :)

  2. Now this is such a cool meme! Thanks for the tag, I'm looking forward to doing this one. These are some great questions and I can't wait to see everyone else's answers. Really enjoyed reading yours. Negative thoughts on books really are a tricky thing sometimes. All of us book lovers tend to have such a hard time connecting the term dislike or even dare I say hate :o with a book...this will be fun!

  3. This is a really cool meme and I enjoyed reading your answers. I think I'll do it later on. I like how the questions made me think.

  4. Anonymous3/14/2008

    These are all interesting questions. Thanks for posting this and giving me something to think about.

  5. Ravenous- eagerly awaiting to read your replies!

    Chris- Yes, it's very tricky isn't it.

    Nymeth- they made me think a lot, too.

    Writer 2b- You're welcome.

  6. Hi Jeane!

    Sorry it took me so long to get back to you on this one. Life has been insane. I was also trying to work out how to particpate in the Memes without straying from my strict "review" posts only policy.

    Anyways, you can see the meme at:

    I am going to create a discreet little Meme section so I can still have fun with those!

    Thanks for sharing.


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