Judging Your Book Choices

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I was on Twitter the other day, and someone asked the question, “If you were on a first date with someone and asked them what their favorite book was, what would be a dealbreaker?”

I read through the comments, because that’s what I do. I was surprised by how judgemental people were. Some of the popular ones for women were: Infinite Jest, anything Ayn Rand, Lolita, Catcher in the Rye. For men, they were things like Eat, Pray, Love, Twilight, and 50 Shades of Gray.

When did we all become so willing to judge people based on a single metric? Like, I can understand if someone named Lolita as their favorite book, and then said, “I thought the relationship between Lolita and Hubert Humphrey was inspirational and healthy,” then okay, I can understand why you’d nope out.

But the book is considered a classic. (Full disclosure: I haven’t read it.) What if someone started talking about it being their favorite book based on literary merit? Would that change things?

I’m honestly distressed by this trend of judging people based on a single metric of opinion, and I’m really over people being judged based on their book choices.

We like what we like, and there’s a huge difference between behavior and opinion. People hold opinions for a lot of different reasons. I’m not going to judge you based on your book choices or your clothes choices or even who you voted for. I will judge you based on how you talk to the waitress who just took our order and how you treat my other friends (even if you don’t like them) and how you react when I tell you something important to me.

I’m always puzzled when I read articles talking about how most readers have a favorite book, and then a fake favorite book that they tell people about so that others judge them differently. The first time I read that, I thought, “Is this a thing? Why is this a thing?” But now I get it. If people are judging based on your reading material, then it makes sense that people might want to pretend.

I’m always curious why people love a book I hated, but I’d never judge someone for it. Tastes are different, and I like learning about other people through their entertainment choices. There are so many books out there that aren’t for me, but that doesn’t automatically make the person reading them into someone I wouldn’t like. Learn to get along with lots of different people, and I guarantee, life will be happier.

And don’t judge other people based on their choices, when those choices hurt literally no one. Just don’t.

What’s your favorite book(s)? Do you judge others based on their book choices? If so, help me understand why.

 

 

How I Rate Books on Goodreads

img_3542I was looking at the books I’ve read on Goodreads the other day, and I realized that my feed is a sea of 3, 4, and 5 star ratings. It gave me pause as I wondered if I’m too easily entertained.

Goodreads suggests the following ratings:

5 stars: It was amazing.

4 stars: I really liked it.

3 stars: I liked it.

2 stars: It was okay.

1 stars: Did not like it.

And then it hit me… if I’ve finished a book, I at least liked it enough to give it 2.5 stars, which rounds up to 3. Anything below that, I don’t finish. In rare cases, I may hold out hope that the book will improve, or if I really like the author, I may give them way more of a chance than I would a relatively unknown.

That being said, I most often read two and one star reviews on Goodreads to see if I think I’ll like the book. Often, the negative reviews are more helpful for me in choosing a book than the positive ones.

If the flaws are something I can live with, I go for it. If I think those flaws will irritate me as much as the rater, I’m out.

Do you follow a rating system for books? Is it different than the one Goodread’s suggests?

Deciding If I Liked A Book Or Not

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Have you ever finished a book and thought, “I can’t decide if I liked it or hated it”?

Normally, it’s pretty simple for me. If I can’t put the book down and function in real life, I loved it. If it takes me a long time to read because I’m not obsessed, then I didn’t like it.

It doesn’t happen to me often that I can’t decide, but when it does, it causes me to go into deep thinking mode. What was it I didn’t like about the book, and why?

Normally, when this happens, it’s because there are things I both loved and hated about the book, causing a tug of war in me. For some books, the ending is enough to turn my like into dislike, but others cause more complicated emotions.

I recently read a book that I really wanted to like, but just couldn’t. It didn’t draw me forward. I liked the idea of it and where it was going, which was why I kept going back to it. But I tired of it easily and even put it down in the middle of chapters sometimes.

When I got to the twist in the middle of the book, that invigorated me quite a bit. But then I hated the ending. The whole book led up to this one moment, and it felt like a letdown.

When I finished reading, I kept mentally going back to the good parts of the book and thinking about how the bad parts could have been made better. I wanted it to be a different book, and that’s how I figured out that I didn’t like it, after all.

I like when books cause complicated emotions in me, make me think and feel, but it makes me sad to decide I don’t like a book that had so much potential. Maybe that’s what it’s really about for me… all that potential unrealized.

Does it ever happen to you that you can’t decide if you like a book or not? What makes it hard for you to decide?

 

Five Things Friday- May

Yes, I know it’s June, but just barely, so I’m calling this for May. 🙂 I haven’t done one of these since February!

One- What I’m Writing

I’m editing my YA horror novel, Not Dead Enough. I’ve recently gotten some good feedback on it that I’m incorporating.

Two- Random Fact About Me

Dodgeball is the only real (ie. not video game) sport I’ve excelled at. My strategy in dodgeball was to taunt the other players into throwing the ball at me, then someone athletic would attempt to catch it while I fell out of the way. I’m really good at taunting and falling.

Three- What I’m Grateful For This Month

I’m grateful for my peaceful home and my amazing animals. I’ve recently gotten a reminder that peace and quiet aren’t a given. Funny how it can take a reminder before we’re grateful, isn’t it?

Four- When I Wasn’t Reading

I was editing my book and helping a family member with a medical issue.

Five- Favorite Picture This Month

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A to Z Reflections 2018 #atozchallenge

 

t shirt 2018Another year of A to Z is over. I successfully completed my 8th year of A to Z!

As usual, it was fun (and stressful). And every year, I get a little bit more organized. Progress, right?

This year, I picked my theme way ahead of time and started brainstorming books I could use. I didn’t write any of my posts ahead of time, and though I didn’t always get my post up in the morning, without fail, I got my posts up on the correct day. (That’s two years in a row of a perfect score!)

What I’d Do Differently Next Year

I probably say it every year, but next year, I’d really like to finish my posts early. I don’t know how well this will work though, since I really do my best work at the last minute. I’ve never been one of those people who can do work in advance, then leave well enough alone.

What I Did Well

I visited at least 5 other blogs every day and left comments. There were days this was more difficult than others, but I feel that since we’re all a community, we need to support one another. I found other great blogs, which is always fun.

I’m rather proud of my pictures this year. I had fun using text and filters to make my stack of books more visually interesting.

 

I always have mixed feelings when April is over. On one hand, I’m glad to take a break from daily blog posts. On the other, it’s fun to write to a theme and take daily pictures.

Thank you, sincerely, to everyone who stopped by, read, and/or commented on my blog. It means a lot to me.

If there’s a theme you’d be interested in seeing me write about for 2019, feel free to drop a comment or send me an email anytime.

 

 

 

Book Challenges- Week 14

So… I made no progress on reading challenges this week. I mostly re-read books. In my defense, Blogging A to Z is a massive undertaking, and I’m writing a new novel while simultaneously brainstorming how to edit my old one. I didn’t have much mental space for new books. Maybe next week.

Popsugar Challenge

(11/50)

While I Was Reading Challenge

(4/12)

The Unread Shelf

Running Total: 3

5 Classic Books

(0/5) No progress

Miscellaneous Reading

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The Maze Runner, by James Dashner (YA science fiction): Thomas wakes up in a strange world populated by other teenage boys. He has no real memory of who he was before, but things feel familiar. Not long after he arrives, a girl arrives and tells them that “the end” has been triggered, before falling into a coma. Thomas and the others have to figure out how to get out of the maze before they die. Fast, fun, and action-packed, it was a page-turner. I don’t always love being confused in books, but the pacing was good, so I enjoyed following along with Thomas, figuring out what was going on when he did. I’m not sure yet if I’m going to continue the series or not. Everyone I talked to agreed that the others aren’t as good as the first, though some people definitely liked them.

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Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline (science-fiction): We went and saw the movie last weekend, and I loved it! It differs significantly from the book, and while that would normally irritate me, in this case, I think it worked well. Of course, I had to reread the book, and it was just as much fun as I remembered. There are people out there who have criticisms, and like every other book, this one isn’t perfect. But it is a lot of fun, nostalgic, and a fast, easy read. I’m always up for that.

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I Remember You, by Cathleen Davitt Bell (YA fantasy? magical realism?): Astute readers may remember that I just read this back in February, but I wanted to reread it pretty much as soon as I finished it. This time around, I listened to it on audiobook, and the narrator was lovely. Not long after Lucas and Juliet start becoming friends, he tells her that he has memories of her, of things that haven’t happened yet, or things that happened differently that time than this time. Juliet has to balance her growing attraction to him with her skepticism about what he’s saying.

Abandoned

None this week.

2018 Running Total: 38

 

Have you made any progress on your TBR or book challenges?

Saving the End Until Later

Recently, when I was re-watching Battlestar Galactica, a main character talked about his favorite book, and how he doesn’t know how it ends because he never finished it. His argument is that he loves the book so much that he never wanted it to end.

Um… say what?

There are a lot of bookish habits I find odd, but this one is almost incomprehensible. I can honestly say it never occurred to me to not finish a book I love. When I don’t finish a book, it’s because it’s so awful that I just can’t.

When I love a book, it’s hard for me to put it down. I race to finish it. I don’t want to do anything but read that book. For me, it’s like being in love. Sometimes I read so quickly that when I get to the end, I start over again so I can enjoy it at a more leisurely pace.

I’m not sure that I could stop reading an excellent book (especially a favorite) if I tried. I’d be thinking about it, dreaming about it, creating my own endings. And anything I could come up with probably wouldn’t be as good as what the author could come up with.

I wonder if this was just a weird character trait that someone picked because it seemed interesting, or if people actually do this.

Have you ever done this or heard of this? Are you a savor-er or a gulper?