Wednesday, August 17, 2011

There's No Accounting for Taste

Today I was thinking about the many varied tastes we all have in books.  This is one of the things I love most about book bloggers is that everyone has opinions and most of them time they are very different.  Specifically, though I was thinking about when it seems like you have an opinion that is different from most everyone else's.  This usually happens when:

1-You love a book that everyone else hates, OR
2-You hate a book that everyone else loves.

To me, it seems like #2 happens a lot more than #1.  But either way, I was wondering what your response is.  Often, I will feel somewhat uncomfortable with my opinion and a little apprehensive in posting my reviews, for fear of retribution, though honestly I've never had any truly negative responses to my opinions on books, so I'm not sure why I have that fear.  I'm thinking this simply comes from my personal discomfort in having vastly differing opinions from all of you smart people!  (I'm realizing how silly this makes me sound, but I'm sticking with the truth here.)

I'll usually, when I have said reaction, stop and think about why my opinion is different.  Often, I'll check out reviews of the book to see what other people had to say.  I always try to retain my original opinion, but I like to see reasons for others' opinions.  This helps me understand why people hated or loved it and I had the opposite reaction.  It helps me think slightly more objectively and recognize the good or not so good things I might have overlooked.  I think this makes me a more balanced reviewer and I like that.  

What do you think?  Do you worry when your reactions are so different from the majority?  Do you look at others' reviews before you publish yours?  Any thoughts on this?

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  1. I don't really think about if my reactions are different from other people because how am I supposed to know if I like something or not without trying it myself? It's more important for me to think about what something meant to me and I realize it's not going to be the same for everyone.

    I didn't like Toy Story 3 and have yet to meet someone else who agrees with me, but I'm not going to change my mind because I just didn't get it. What was so wrong with them staying in the attic? I think it has something to do with the stubbornness in me because I refuse to be told what to like or not like :)

    I like to keep my reviews honest so I won't read any reviews at all for a book I haven't read. When I've written a review, I'm always curious to see what other people thought and if I was in the majority or the minority. Great questions!

  2. Great discussion post! I wanted to do a discussion post today, but couldn't think of a thing to discuss! But this is a good one...

    I sometimes wonder about myself if my opinion is way different from everyone else's, though I do stick to it (Wuthering Heights, anyone?) But it is fun to examine and ponder the points other people make. And I agree, it does make us more balanced. But I don't think anyone should ever be nervous about their reactions to a book, that, bottom line, is what makes this reading thing, this interacting with other readers, so much fun.

    No, I don't look at reviews before I publish mine though I'm sure I've usually seen reviews before I've actually read the book.

  3. #2 Happens to me A LOT. I probably write more negative reviews than positive ones, lol. I'm a rather picky, hard to please reader.

    Perfect example: Divergent. Everyone and their second cousin twice removed seems to be completely gaga over this book, but I thought it was total crapola. Nothing in the story made sense, and I just didn't enjoy it at all.

    But despite feeling like the odd one out, I still posted my very honest and admittedly negative review because I feel that I'm entitled to my opinion just like anyone else (even if it does happen to go against the vast majority). As it turns out, people who liked Divergent agreed with several points I made and were very supportive of my review.

    Honestly, I don't really worry at all about sharing my opinion and how others will receive it. I'm a very honest, frank person by nature, so I like to speak my mind openly...and I don't intend on changing that just to please or be accepted by others.

  4. Well, as you probably know I always tend to hate the books everyone else loves. I have no problem voicing my opinion about this but after reading and hearing everyone else rave about said book, I start wondering what's wrong with me. Do I decide to hate it subconsciously? To be original? Or am I just THAT different from everyone else? But here I was thinking I was different because I hated Divergent and I see Marg hated it too. Yay! I'm not alone after all.

  5. I don't worry about this so much on my own blog. After all, it's mine, and it's my opinion. I feel a little bit more pressure when I'm writing for a magazine. Even though it's still my opinion, I guess I feel like I'm representing the publication or something. But I have to be true -- and I try to do that.

    I just posted a rave review of Misfit -- since then I've seen some very mediocre ones -- especially the ones that say the main character wasn't sympathetic, when I really thought she was relatable...it does make me wonder, but I stand by my opinion and agree to disagree!

    Interesting topic....

  6. Jessica, I don't usually read reviews for books I haven't read yet either, though sometimes I'm intrigued to know more about them. I was mostly referring to after I've read something and have a different opinion. Good for you in being happy with your opinions, sometimes I question mine :)

    Suey, I totally like to check out what others say, even when I'm writing a review. I wonder if this makes me unethical? I don't think I write what other people say, but maybe I should stay away...

    Marg, I really like to read non-positive reviews, especially if they go against what I thought (I loved Divergent :) I think I just need to become more comfortable in my opinions. I can usually see what things in a book I liked bugged people who didn't like it.

    Jenny, I love to read your reviews of stuff I liked. It makes me stop and think about it again. Glad to know I'm not the only one who wonders why I have these opinions :)

    Annette, ooh that would be harder. I know I usually don't mind saying when I didn't like something or even when I did like it. You guys are all so comfy in your opinions, I just need to be too. Sometimes I worry when I post the reviews though. I know I shouldn't be.

  7. I love this question! I've disliked a couple of books that most people loved (like Wither. It just didn't work for me), and that doesn't really bother me. But the other week I read Possession by Elana Johnson & am now the biggest fan girl. And I haven't found many people to fan girl with me.

    So usually when I have a totally different take from the majority I downplay how strongly I felt about the book. I guess I don't want to alienate anyone who has a different opinion? I don't know. But I worry a little when I post a review I know will be different.

  8. I see a lot of book reviews that begin, "I know everybody else loved this book, but ...," so you're definitely not alone! I'm always honest about my opinion - no matter what - because it's just a fact that not everyone is going to like every book. Personally, I like to see why someone else's opinion of a book differs from mine. It's always interesting!

  9. Good idea for a discussion post! I do exactly what you do when I'm about to write what could be an 'unpopular' review. I'll go peruse goodreads reviews in an attempt to get a broader view of how the public received the particular book. I know it may be seen as 'cheating' by some... but I hate to just unload on a book. So if I have strong feelings, I'll do a little more research, and usually it tempers my reaction to the book a bit. That being said, I do strive to be honest on my blog. I just don't want to be the person whose posts are overly negative or anything like that. Hope that all makes sense... again - interesting post topic!

  10. kathy, I'm so glad I'm not alone! I always feel a little weird posting a review expressing such a different opinion. And unfortunately, I like Wither and not Possession :)

    Susan, I like seeing opposing opinions too, so I'm not sure why I feel reluctant to express them. I love how straight forward your reviews are!

    Bailey, it makes sense to me! I like to see others' opinions and it makes me think about why I reacted the way I did. It doesn't change my opinion, but it does make me understand what elements worked or didn't work for me.


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