I love to read. I have been reading books since I was three according to my mother and I distinctly remember reading books from the “Illustrated Classics Series” by second grade. I am a tried and true book worm. One thing that may surprise people though is how many books I just don’t like. While I love books in general I am fairly picky about what books I devour. It fascinates me how many readers there are in the world and how many different opinions people have about the very same books. I have read many award winning books that I hated and I have read books that my peers grumbled about and I loved them.
Part of the reason I became a book reviewer was to share my opinions about books with others so that they could decide for themselves if a book was a good match for them. I write reviews on my blog but I also share my reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. After posting a review (always after because I don’t want to taint my opinion with what others thought) I will go back and read the reviews most opposite of my own. If I loved a book I want to see why others hated it and if I hated it I want to understand why people are raving about it.
It amazes me how unique readers are. I have a friend at work who likes books that are the exact opposite of what I enjoy. If I love a book she will probably hate it and vise a versa. Why? I think it is because we read for different reasons. Different elements of the story are important to us. For instance, I am not much of a detail person. I hate when a writer spends ten pages telling me about the scenery. I want to see people interacting and maybe have some kind of cool plot I can follow along. I read for fun so I don’t want to read a book that feels like work. My friend on the other hand loves detailed descriptions in her books. She also enjoys books that hold more complexities than I want to push through. For her, figuring out complex magic systems or deciphering language that hasn’t been the norm in a hundred years is what she finds fun. Neither of us is right and neither of us is wrong. We just want different things.
In some ways finding the right book is like finding the right relationship. I am divorced and have been for almost five years. My ex husband remarried and his new wife just thinks he is the most amazing guy on Earth. Things he did that drive me crazy are traits she adores about him. One example (obviously there were many issues in our marriage) is that my ex husband commanded a room. If he was in a room he was the only person anyone could see. I don’t know if you would call him a class clown or a ham though either of those describe him well. He is a people person and if there is a crowd he owns them. That was a nice quality when we were dating but once we married it became impossible to make mutual friends because I always disappeared into the background. I couldn’t exist in his shadow because I am a much quieter person. His new wife loves how fun and personable he is. She is very similar in personality so they end up playing off each other instead of him overshadowing her. I now am with a man who is even quieter than I am and who I will never have to compete with to be seen or heard. We are a good match. My ex and his new wife are a good match. Neither my ex or myself are bad people because we were not well matched. We just were bad for each other.
Books are the same. If a book is reasonably well written then it probably has a match out there somewhere. If it is amazing there will still be people who hate it because they are not well matched to the book.
As a writer I can only hope that my books find the right people who will enjoy them. I also have to accept that there will be people who read them and won’t like them. As a reviewer I have to try to see the gems in books I don’t like. Every reader is unique and every book read is part of a personal journey.
Have you read any books that your friends loved but you really disliked? Feel free to tell me about it in the comments.