Discussion- How do you feel when others hate a book you love?

I’ve been recently thinking about how it feels when a book we love receives a negative review or isn’t appreciated by someone else. This can be another reviewer, family member, friend or anybody. What is your gut reaction when someone hates on the book you love?

I don’t usually get upset when I read a negative review on a book that I love. I often find myself really interested in what the person noticed that I did not or how varied opinions can be. I have to admit, when a very close friend hates a book I love it does make me sad because I wanted to share in the flails about the book.  How could they not love that beautifully written work of art? But, I think it comes down how each book speaks to every reader differently. Even with each reading a book can morph and provide insight or emotions that we didn’t feel prior. This is the beauty of books and our perception of them.

Carina (you can see her comment below) brought up a great point…she is more bothered when people love a book she hates. I can relate to this! I always feel like I must have read a different version of the book. Even if I see hype from a book that I just feel meh about but everyone is loving, I think…did I miss something?

I asked Twitter, are you offended when someone hates a book you love? A lot of people chimed in to discuss this with me:

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These were just some of the responses I received but most people expressed that they were sad when a book they loved wasn’t appreciated…which I think we can all relate to being passionate about the books we read. How about you? What are your thoughts on this topic? Have you written about this topic on your blog? If so, I’d love to read your post…leave me a link 🙂

Comments

  1. says

    I think I kind of fly under the philosophy of “to each his own”. Like you, when I see that someone hasn’t loved a book in the way that I did, I’m curious to see why. I want to understand why they didn’t enjoy the story that I found so riveting. But I also think that the way we read a book is also dependent a lot on our mood because as you also said, our opinions on a story can change from one reading to the next. On the flipside, when someone loves a book I hated, my gut reaction is to immediately tell them all the reasons why it was such a horrible book. I don’t do this, of course, but the mighty need to do so is there nonetheless. Instead, I read their positive review same as I do the negative ones, to feed my curiosity and to see why they felt so differently about the book. It also might make me second-guess my friendship with that reader. ;0)

    • says

      I hope you aren’t second guessing our friendship because of Mortal Danger! haha. I think we feel about the same about this topic. ‘Feed my curiosity” I really love that phrase 🙂

  2. says

    I get pretty sad when someone who normally loves the same books as I do doesn’t like something I did. Like Mel, I just wished they could’ve loved it as much as I did. Sometimes, I actually start to second guess myself. Especially when I’ve written positive review and I reach a bunch of negative ones. Lkke “was I too easy?” “should I of noticed that?” But in the end, it doesn’t stop me from loving a book and making everyone else read it. :3

    • says

      It is hard when it is someone that you share the ‘same’ taste as. I think that’s when I get the most interesting in why they didn’t feel similar to me about it. And yes, about writing a positive review and then seeing all those negative ones. It’s never easy being the black sheep of the group.

  3. says

    Usually I don’t mind it when people hate a book I love. The only time I get remotely annoyed is when the person in questions begins to ridicule people for liking a certain book. I will jump up and down on Goodreads comments if I see anything like that happen.

    Another thing is that I may start to feel stupid. Especially when I give a book with horrid reviews a good one. like “did a really miss that?” type mood!

    Great discussion post my dear! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    Alex @ The Shelf Diaries

    • says

      Any ridicule about someone’s opinion tends to peeve me a good deal. I enjoy a difference in opinion when it’s handled in a mature way. I don’t enjoy condescending comments, etc on a review where I didn’t care for a book. I guess a lot of it is how the exchange is handled. I feel like I might have missed something too when I don’t enjoy a book people I typically have similar taste love. Thanks for dropping by and telling me your thoughts!

  4. says

    If it’s not a book I dearly loved and that spoke to me in a very personal way or a long time favourite, I’m not that bothered. I might be sad that we can’t flail about the book together, but I understand that we all have different tastes, perspectives and go through different things in our lives that can make the reading experience of a book different.
    But, if it’s a book I adored, I will refuse to read negative reviews… call it what you may, we’ll agree to disagree but nope, not reading a review that might make me angry, because everyone is entitled to their opinion and they are all equally valid, but I might not be able to keep my cool that way if a book I adore is trashed.

    • says

      I know that even reading the same book at different times in my life will change my opinion a good amount. With those few absolute favorite books I tend to skip the negative reviews too. Why bother since I loved it? haha

      • says

        Yeah, just yesterday I saw a review for Daughter of Smoke & Bone that upset me, cause I loved it and it called the book “mediocre”!!! I stopped reading after that. The most curious thing is that it’s put me off reading that particular blogger reviews for a while!

  5. says

    I don’t get offended, but I do feel sad if someone doesn’t love a book I did. But if I disliked a book, I’m confused, but also interested, if someone loved it. But if I HATED it I’m usually just angry at the book at stop reading.

    • says

      I get angry at many books and stop reading too! But sometimes all the positive reviews for a book I’ll read the whole thing trying to see those aspects everyone else loved so much. I’m sad if I don’t see it and can’t connect.

  6. Sophie says

    I feel like everyone has their own tastes, and if we all liked the same stuff life would be boring. For example, the majority of people I know absolutely adored The Perks of Being a Wallflower, but I had to force myself to finish it and was utterly disappointed in it as a whole. I suppose it’s just life for there to be different opinions and thoughts on different books, and other media products, that not everyone is ever going to agree.

    • says

      I’ve yet to read The Perks of Being a Wallflower! I’m not big on contemporary so have skipped most of the ones even if they are popular. I agree that things would be boring if we all had the same opinions.

  7. says

    It doesn’t really have an effect on me either way when it is on the internet. Reading good reviews of books I dislike or bad reviews of books I love doesn’t bother me, though I’m probably likely to skim read the ones I don’t agree with.
    However, I had a harder time when it is someone I’m close to, family or friends. Me and my wife get into arguments about books sometimes, both of us defending the reason why we liked or disliked a book that the other had the opposite reaction to. Funny how those kind of arguments can get very heated sometimes! 🙂 So, yeah, I like for the people I’m close to in RL to have the same opinion as me about a book.
    Great topic! 🙂

    • says

      Thanks Joel! I agree it is harder when it’s someone you are very close to. My husband isn’t a big reader but I can imagine us getting into it if we were to disagree, haha. the books we’ve both read we’ve felt mostly the same about (all my recommendations so yea, that helps).

  8. says

    This is why it can be so hard for me to recommend my favorite books! Sometimes I want to say “If you decide to pick this book up you have to promise me you will love it!” I will say last year I recommended a favorite book to a friend that I thought she would love (given what books she liked/similar writing style) and she was like “it was just OK”. I haven’t recommended a book to her since…

    • says

      I have a hard time recommending books too. Less because I’ll be hurt if they don’t like it, but more because I’ll feel guilty for not having a better idea of what they like. Which is ridiculous, because I can’t always figure out what I like or why I like it… so how could I know what they’ll like? So, yeah, I tend to stay away from personal recommendations altogether.

  9. says

    I don’t mind. I mean, everyone has different opinions. I’m usually curious to see what it was that they didn’t like, and often I can see their point, even if the same things didn’t bother me.

    • says

      Yes, I love to see what had someone connecting or not to a book. The difference of opinions is what makes this community so diverse and interesting.

  10. says

    Like a few people here, I don’t get offended either. My initial reaction is sadness, because when I love something I want to tell everyone and get them to read it, but other people read the negative reviews/dislikes too (and will be hesitant to read it). I feel like that’s messed up though, cause I’ve hated a lot of books that I’ve seen other people enjoy. So it’s a double standard, but I try not to voice it! I just try to make my love louder, if that makes sense.

    I’m curious about what they dislike too — but I’ve read a few negative reviews of books I love and they all generally hate the same things, the things I love, so again as the first commenter said “to each their own”.

    • says

      I agree…I want to share the love for the books and flail with everyone about how awesome it was. I agree, there have been books widely loved or disliked that I’ve felt opposite about.

  11. says

    You already know my thoughts, haha. Sometimes there are books I love SO intensely, that I stay away from negative reviews. But most of the times I find it interested to see what someone disliked about it 🙂

  12. says

    I think I’m casual. If that’s even something you can be? If someone doesn’t love what I love, I want to know their reasons — because I’m curious; but I can’t say it affects me emotionally. And if I do feel anything, even for a split second (maybe disappointment) I don’t dwell on it. I move on pretty quickly.

    Fantastic discussion, Kris! Thanks for including different viewpoints too! 🙂

    • says

      I think when I first started blogging I was a bit more emotionally affected but the longer I’ve been reading reviews and seeing other’s point of views the less I’m surprised. I expect for people to vary on their opinions so find it interesting to see them all (most of the time!) I still do get a book here and there that I’m more passionate about and don’t bother reading the reviews.

  13. says

    It bothers me more when someone close to me, when someone I like, doesn’t like a book that I loved. While I know that not everyone is going to love a book, because I care about these people, I want to be able to share the things I like with them. It’s more personal than if a complete stranger posted a negative review of a book I love. In comparison, if it’s a book I hated but someone else likes… well, I honestly don’t know what they’re thinking. Nevertheless, it can be interesting to learn what others think of a book. Sometimes, I may love one aspect of a book only to find out that’s the precise reason someone else didn’t like it at all.

    • says

      Yep, me too. I guess if the friend and I have similar tastes then it’s hard when they don’t like a book I love. I do have some friends that I know have opposite tastes as I do so when they like a book I like it’s exciting because we typically vary so much on the books we love. I agree, it is very interesting to learn why someone connected or not to a book.

  14. says

    This is so so weird…I literally drafted a post for this earlier this week! HA. Don’t worry, I think I’ll just leave it in drafts for a while. (I loved this discussion of yours!) Anyway….YES, I do think this is a huge thing and well….I do get offended. But not like deeply! >_< I just get really emotionally protective over books I love that everyone hates. Like Allegiant? I love that book. And Half Bad? I ADORE THAT BOOK. I can't read negative reviews on my favourite books because it just makes me angry. Heh. But I don't necessarily think badly of the person. I just agree to disagree and don't talk about it anymore.

    • says

      Feel free to post it and send me the link! I’d love to see more from you on the topic (and link from this discussion). Agree to disagree is what I do as well. You can’t convince someone that a book is amazing if it doesn’t hit them the same. I have a few favorites that I feel a bit more protective of (The Winner’s Curse and Angelfall) but I understand that I love them because the writing speaks to me so it wouldn’t work for everyone. I’ve still not read Allegiant! It was spoiled for me which angered me so much I’ve not picked it up to read yet.

  15. says

    Ohh, you included my tweet, hih 😀 Thank you Kristen. <3 And ah. I love this post. Thank you for writing and sharing it 😀 I did post most of my thoughts on twitter ;p But yeah. I don't really like it when people hate a book I loved. But as I said, I'm more bothered when someone love a book I hated, lol. But mostly I just want everyone to love the books I love, and hate the books that I hate 🙂

  16. says

    I’m usually pretty cool about it….or I try to be. lol There are certain books where I’m like whyyyyy can’t you see how amazing this book is? And I want to convince them that it really is a wonderful book. But I’m not offended or angry. I’m more hurt and upset if that doesn’t sound weird. I know it’s unrealistic to expect everyone to love a book, but still, it crushes me and I think how did this bother them and not me. But it’s also amazing to see how books speak to people differently. Lovely post! 😀

  17. says

    I think I agree with Carina, it’s harder when everyone else loves a book that I just don’t get. When I love a book that others don’t, I guess it’s just sort of a “more for me” mentality. It makes me feel like I have a special relationship with that book.

  18. says

    Mh, generally I don’t mind, and like you I’m kind of intrigued to find out why they didn’t like it. In fact, sometimes their reasons for NOT liking it are they very same reasons that I DO like it, and I find that very interesting. What does really rile me up is when a person’s reasons for not enjoying the book indicate that they paid no attention or don’t have insight – although I suppose that is my own subjective assessment of them, so I rarely point it out.

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