Wednesday, September 10, 2014

When Everyone Loves a Book but You




This may be weird, but I struggle with being the NEGATIVE black sheep more than I do being the positive one. Don't get me wrong; when people hate on books I love, I want to crawl under my blanket and weep off my eyeliner and shriek, "LEAVE BOOK-EY ALONE!" because obviously those meanies are not worthy of the precious and wouldn't know genius if I bashed them in the face with it. Or... something less unhinged.

But when people love something I categorically do not, I start to wonder if there's something wrong with ME. The latest example is a book that just came out and that everyone and their grandmothers seemed to love: Falling into Place by Amy Zhang. (This is not to knock the book, which many people love fiercely and which I thought objectively was very impressive.) Oh, I wanted to badly to love this. I could see the skill behind the writing, and I could recognize the very profound insights the text was unraveling, but I just. Felt. Nothing. Which was a such a surprise to me, because a) I am a very emotional reader and will cry if my favorite characters get so much as a paper cut and b) everyone else said this book ripped their hearts out.

http://img0.joyreactor.com/pics/post/ecards-auto-225805.jpeg

I looked down at my heart in confusion. Nope, still there. Still most definitely there. Whaaaaat? Why didn't I get those feelings? We read the same book, didn't we? How did I see something COMPLETELY DIFFERENT in the exact same words? What is this devilry, and how do I make it stop? I hate not loving a thing that people are gushing over. I don't want to be the party pooper, sprinkling turds of negativity all over their shiny confetti. It's an isolating experience that somehow makes you more stubborn in your negativity and determined that you are right. It's much more fun to join in the gushing when you're part of a bookish community, and it can certainly be much more fun to join in the universal dismissal if eeeeeveryone hates the same thing.

But being the lone Negative Nancy? *bleats sorrowfully like a sorrowful black sheep would*

http://cdn.ebaumsworld.com/picture/kyle_ex_machina/blacksheep.jpg

Sometimes I see raving five star reviews for books I abhorred and I am SO. CONFUSED. How can one book be so different for someone else? But it truly does happen. There are people out there and in this community and reading this post right now who probably sincerely enjoyed books I thought were some of the worst I've ever read in my life.

In this community, you can develop sort of a hive mind if you're not careful. So it's moments like these that actually are pretty beneficial, though they sort of suck to go through. Books are subjective. They're probably the most subjective form of art there is, because the reader forms so much of it themselves. We're passive participants while watching movie or a TV show, but with books, our brain actually constructs images from the words on the page. Readers turn books from paper and ink into mind-movies. So we're kind of like the directors or cinematographers, I suppose, and so every director is going to interpret the "screenplay"--aka the written text--slightly differently, and every cinematographer's lens is going to to display it differently. WHICH IS AWESOME.

Blogging needs black sheep every now and then. It's hard being one, but there's always one, and I'm always glad. That doesn't make being the Negative Nancy any less fun, but there's always another book around the corner I can fangirl about until everyone on Twitter begs me to STOP TWEETING IN ALL CAPS YOU CRAZY LADY, but I won't, because it's sooooo fun being the... white sheep? The shepherd? The fansheep? Whatever.

High five for all the negative black sheep out there, and hang in there. You're alone, but you're not ALONE. We still love you, even though you make us want to cry under our bedsheets for hating on the preciouses. (So long as the Negative Nancies aren't being jerks about it, obviously.)

leave britney alone -  LEAVE MY BOOK ALONE!!!

Do you hate being the negative black sheep? Are you used to it? When was the last time you Negative Nancy-ed?

24 comments:

  1. I don't mind being the black sheep OCCASIONALLY. But it does get frustrating. The times that get me is when a book is universally OMFK FIVE FUCKING BADASS STARS and I objectively do not understand. Like, hold up, I am legitimately asking if we read the same book. Was my ARC fucked up or something? Did none of you fall into this gaping plot hole? HELLO FROM DOWN HERE. CAN YOU HEAR MEEEEE????

    Then there's being the positive black sheep, which is better because YAY A THING TO LOVE but also makes me wonder if I'm an idiot. Did I blithely leap over the giant plot hole this time? What are this?

    WHAT are this?

    WHAT ARE THIS?

    what are this?

    This comment brought to you by Jenna Marbles.

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  2. I don't really mind so much. But when I do it's usually for the books that everyone seems to love! Like Hunger Games and Divergent I don't really get the appeal of those books? They were okay but I just don't see why they got so much love and why people are so into them! So when it's for a book that gets so much hype that I expect to love it when I don't it's kinda a let down!!

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  3. I feel guilty/weird about swinging too far in either direction, but I feel - like Christina said - a bit like an idiot if everyone loves a book I can't stand. Am I dumb? Is there something about this that I just don't get, or is everyone else a ... sheep?
    I don't know, man. *sobs in corner* I JUST WANT TO LOVE EVERYTHING BUT IT'S SO HARD WHEN EVERYTHING ISN'T AWESOME

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  4. OMG, yessssss! There have been books that I've hated but the vast majority of book bloggers have loved. I'm all "Did I not understand the book?" OR "Am I the only one who disliked this book with a firey passion?" Sometimes, it's the other way around when I absolutely adored a book that so many people didn't like. When that happens I'm all "Stay away from my precioussss." and "Stop being mean to this beautiful book."

    The last time I was a negative black sheep was actually very recently. Don't Touch by Rachel M. Wilson. I felt so left out that everyone in the blogverse seemed to love it and I was so unimpressed and definitely felt let down. The last time I was a positive black sheep was Feral by Holly Schindler. So many people didn't enjoy the book and I'm all "this book was creepy, twisty and totally enjoyable."

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  5. I totally understand! There are a number of books that I'm like, "Wait, did we even read the same book??" There's no way you gave that 2-stars or 5-stars or whatever the feelings I have about said book. My most recent book that everyone loved but I hated was 17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen. I actually didn't understand why people liked it at all, and I thought it carried with it a lot of not so great messages concerning the peer pressure that teens go through, but everyone loved it, and even some were calling for awards. Hell no -in my humble opinion. But you're right. Everyone brings their own experiences to the table when they read a book, and maybe what worked for them just didn't work for me.

    Great post!!!! :)

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  6. You are not alone! I go through that all the time. ALL THE TIME. I've been known to tear my hair out (figuratively) over random apparent love of a book I abhorred. Sometimes you just have to shake your head and walk on.

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  7. You put this so well! I'd much rather hate a book everyone loved, than have everyone hate a book I loved though!

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  8. This happens to me all the time, especially with these famous, huge-following having and with fierce-fangirls-protection-squad books. At best I find them mediocre and this frustrates me immensly. I just don't get it most of the time?! Are we reading the same book?! And it also makes me feel so odd, when everyone gives 5 stars and then I come with my 3 or, in the worst case, 2 stars. It also sometimes makes me question the reading experience (have you read a lot or a little) of reviwers on Amazon for example, because so often books that, I'm sorry to say, aren't that good, analyzing them as objectively as I can, get like a hundreds of 5 stars! It simply makes me scratch my head and shrug, but then again to each their own.

    I usually don't care if people don't like the books I rave about, honestly, it might stinge a bit, but nothing I can't forget in the next minutes. As long as I love it is all that matters to me.

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  9. I LOVE THIS POST SO MUCH. It is frustrating and I do begin to question myself when I read something personally horrid, but then everyone appears to praise it like the heavens. I question myself all the time--perhaps I missed the page turning moment; maybe someone ripped some pages out of my book; maybe I've got a dud copy which is actually another book printed in the wrong cover?!! I'LL TAKE ANY EXCUSE. But I still love reading other reviews, the glowing ones, just so I can see the merits that I missed. I love how subjective this experience is and it just opens my eyes to different perspectives all the time!

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  10. oh this happens all the time, but usually the glorified books aren't *all* that bad. But the most recent (and horrifyingly yfkuydegfu superbaddest) was the Throne Of Glass. With the most aggravting heroine EVER in the HISTORY of unrealistic (sorry, IMPOSSIBLE) heroines. This post breaks it down: http://spraypaintedtunnels.blogspot.in/2014/09/review-throne-of-glass-sarah-j-maas.html

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  11. I totally agree! This recently happened to me with Heir of Fire. I adored the other books in the series, but felt nothing with HoF. It upset me SO much because I desperately wanted to feel what everyone else was feeling!

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  12. This is an awesome post! I know there have been cases when I read a book everyone has been raving about, and I really dislike it. And although I hate being the Negative Nancy, as you said, I love that books affect people in so many different ways. I think that's one of the best things about books and stories.

    But I still hate it when everyone loves a book, and I am stupified as to why. And I always want to growl at people who don't love the books I love. But then I tell myself to take a step back and remind myself when I was in the same situation.

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  13. Hah. <3 I love this post Gillian. But.. when I hate a book others love, I don't get what's wrong with THEM. How they could love such an awful book. It makes no sense to me :) But yeah. I also HATE when someone hate a book I loved :p Don't understand that either, hih ;p

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  14. I personally like the word fansheep. Anyway, I have been the black sheep before and I always feel awkward, but usually I stumble upon at least one other blog that feels the same way and I feel a little better after that. Since everyone has their own unique life story/experiences they bring to their reading you never know how a book may affect them, not to mention I'm sure everyone's mini movie in their heads is a little different (like you said.) One of the many reasons I love books is because of how much I get to bring into the story myself in my little mini head movie. Great discussion post!

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  15. Lately I've been the black sheep on everything. I've gotten tougher on my reads, because it takes so much more to hold my attention and really blow me away, so other people are giving books 5 stars that only get a 3 from me, and that's OK :)

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  16. I don't feel guilty persee, but more .... uncomfortable. Like WHAT did I miss? Did I completely zone out and miss the awesome?! But I LOVE blacksheep reviews - if I see a meh review of a book I've just seen 43 gazillion gushing reviews for, I'm far more likely to read it because I want to know both sides of the story.

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  17. "I don't want to be the party pooper, sprinkling turds of negativity all over their shiny confetti. It's an isolating experience that somehow makes you more stubborn in your negativity and determined that you are right." <-- SO MUCH THIS. I hate being the negative one when tons of people loved a book, but it definitely makes me sink deeper into my little corner of dislike.

    But I totally agree that disagreement can be a positive thing. If nothing else, it lets us know that we are capable of forming our own opinions of things outside of the bookish community's "hive mind" as you put it! :P

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  18. Gosh, I feel this. Being a black sheep in either direction can make me feel soooooo insecure. It's especially rough when I'm a negative black sheep because of elements that I personally don't appreciate. Everyone is so vocal about sex-positive YA and realistic depictions of drug and alcohol use and YAY PROFANITY, etc. etc. etc. Whatever. You champion what you want, but *I* do not like that stuff in *MY* books, so suddenly finding myself in the middle of an orgy scene will automatically lessen my enjoyment of and connection with a book. Sigh.

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  19. I used to mind but I don't so much anywhere. I've become a hardened blogger with skin of steel. Okay, maybe not really, because sometimes it's a massive disappointment to read something expecting greatness only to end up disliking it. I think We Were Liars was my last black sheep book.

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  20. Yessss you're totally right! It's much easier to be the positive black sheep because then you can run away with your book and never look back. I think the fact that some books are very popular can enhance the negativity for me: if everyone told me that I'll LOVE LOVE LOVE this book, and the beginning is very meh, I'll be disappointed and rate it accordingly. While if I didn't know anything about the book beforehand I'll just think it's a mediocre book, but I won't focus on all the negative things so I can prepare for the inevitable onslaught of "but it's such a GREAT book, WHY didn't you like it??"

    On rare occasions, I have found a fellow black sheep though, and it always gave me the warm fuzzies to know I'm not alone and not EVERYONE is gushing over THAT BOOK, even though it sounds like it. And I love black sheep reviews, if I'm on the fence about a book I always try to read at least one positive and one negative review to make up my mind.

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  21. *raises hand* Anna and the French Kiss and Scarlett right here. I almost had a break down because I hated that book. But, like you said, we need people out there who question the popular books, that make us stop and look at something we missed or ignored. I can't even count how many times a negative review has helped me pick a book. And no, they doesn't mean that the book lost a sale. It helps me set realistic expectations for a book. It helped me prepare for the sucky romance, or the shoddy world building, or the dislikable main character.

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  22. I always try to remember: everyone has different taste, we can't always like the same. I do wonder if I read something different when everyone loves it and I.. didn't *eyes Anna and the French kiss* but then I just get over it. I honestly find it harder when I love a book and a lot of people don't. I want them to see the beauty of the book like I did.

    I also didn't like Falling into place that much. I didn't connected with the characters and if the writing-style wasn't so good I would have DNF-ed it.

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  23. Honestly, I've never been the lone hater in the group. But I've done the opposite. There have been quite a few books I've read where I loved it, gotten my review all typed up, and then went to mark it read on goodreads, only to discover "everyone" disliked it. Which makes me second guess myself. It's very tempting to pull up the document again and tone down my excitement. But that'd be a disservice to everyone, and I'd be letting myself down for the same reasons you've mentioned.

    Dreams @ Once Upon A Dream Books.

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  24. Oh, I've totally felt this way this year although it wasn't too extreme. Like you, I objectively still liked the books in question -- I just didn't personally connect with them the way I'd hoped I would! It's hard, especially when I know how much someone else has enjoyed that story. But it's also better, in my opinion, to be honest - because somewhere out there, someone probably feels the same way!

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