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Trashing Books I Hate


In response to someone complaining about Pollyanna type reviews–here is a not exactly quoted example, “I don’t understand people who say they love every book they read. Have some balls and don’t be afraid to give a book a negative review if you thought it sucked.”

Here’s the thing–I am not a book reviewer. Nor would I ever care to be.

I am a book recommender. If I’ve read a book, and I enjoyed it somewhere on the scale between “Liked It” and “The Aliens Can Take Me Now!!” I want to tell people about it–and I do.

I respect writers personal decisions about whether they choose to negatively review other writers’ work or not, but it’s not a choice I would make. There are many, often very popular, books I’ve read that damn near made me want to rip out my frontal lobe. Invariably, because people in my life know I read a ton, someone is going to talk to me about that very popular book and then proceed to gush at me about how much they “The Aliens Can Take Me Now!!” that book.

And while I likely glowered at that book so hard it burst into flames the minute I finished it, I have no wish to do that to someone I care about–or don’t care about for that matter. I respect that others will like books I hate and realize people will probably hate books that I love. This is the magic of preference.

So, to sum up, you won’t hear about the books I didn’t like. You might hear that I read them which would be followed by a strange and eery silence. You will, however, see me do back-flips for the ones I thought were great.       

78 Responses to Trashing Books I Hate

  1. Julia says:

    I am fairly open about books I don’t like, but I try to be respectful to the author. And if I’m reviewing it on Amazon, say, or someplace where my review “counts”, I try to be as constructive as possible. But when I read a critical book review written by an author, it doesn’t sit right with me for some reason, so I really respect authors who choose silence instead. Great post! 🙂

    • Julia, I totally agree. I don’t even blink an eye at fellow reader’s negative reviews (even if I don’t agree) so long as they at least sound fair. But there is always a hint of sour grapes when writers negatively review books–especially when it’s a book or series that sold really well. I’m thinking of when Stephen King bashed Stephenie Meyer.

  2. I’m with you. If I don’t have anything nice to say I won’t say anything at all.

  3. Can I just quote Emily? She answered the same as me. I’m totally with you on this. I hate to give a bad review. I’d rather just not say anything.

  4. Jennine G. says:

    It may have been here that I commented about how harsh negative reviews make me want to read the book. I will admit and say when I didn’t care for a book, but I would never bash it. That books means something to someone somewhere…the greatest part of writing and reading is the connection made. I would never want to take that away from someone.

    • I totally value a respectful, soundly written, negative review (even if I don’t agree) but I do think writers sort of come across as having a conflict of interest.

  5. Louise Bates says:

    I will sometimes leave a negative review, if only because there are books that I was able to make more of an intelligent decision on whether to read or not based on reading both positive AND negative reviews to give me a broader picture of the book, and I want to provide the same service for others. But I always, always strive to be fair and measured, to give specific (without spoilers!) reasons for not liking the book instead of the generic “OMG I hated this,” and to only express my negative opinion about the book itself, never letting that slip over toward the author. I also usually try to end the review by emphasizing that this is my opinion alone, to take for what it’s worth.

    But I also respect those who choose to not say anything at all!

    • Louise, Your negative reviews would likely be an intelligent read in and of themselves. Also, so important about the spoiler thing. I hate when I get skunked by one. In fact, I quite dislike when reviews just reblurb a book. I care more about 1. did you like it and 2. how did it make you feel? But, like you, these are just my personal preferences.

  6. Amen!! I don’t write negative reviews either. I’ll say why I didn’t like a book sometimes, but I NEVER trash the author. I know what it’s like putting your heart into a book you love, so I’d never try to bring an author down, even if I absolutely hated their book.

    And I hate it when someone loves a book and I read it and end up hating it. Then when they ask me what I thought about it, all I can say is … uh … 🙂

    • “And I hate it when someone loves a book and I read it and end up hating it.”

      This! This! This! Happens to me frequently in my real life. It is easier to avoid online–unless, of course, you’ve been asked to review a book.

  7. j.a. kazimer says:

    Smart woman. I too think writers should avoid badmouthing books. I will shout from the heavens if I liked it, but I’d hate for another author to bad mouth me, so I keep quiet (when I can help it) on the subject.

  8. I definitely agree. There’s no reason to talk about a bad book and every reason to talk about a good one. There are tons of amazing books out there that just aren’t getting enough attention. Why not spread the news about those??

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