We’ve all been there.
You’re pumped for a book that you’ve seen all over the socials. It has a humongous publicity campaign, all the people who’s book opinions you value are waxing lyrical about it and YOU CAN’T WAIT!
You finally get it in your grubby mitts and you hunker down and begin to read…..
Ok, so maybe it’s just off to a bad start but you know it’s about to get good!…..it has to…..
You’ll give it a few more pages because surely it’s about to blow your socks off!…..
Any minute now……
Maybe the end will blow you away!……
Erm……..was THAT it?!
What was all the hoo-ha about?
When I asked on twitter recently if an unpopular opinion post had any place the resounding answer was yes! Now I don’t know if you guys are just hovering waiting to see which books I’ll bash……which super popular smash hits I’ll deride BUT if you are then you’ll be disappointed.
I WILL of course mention the books I didn’t enjoy at the end of this post so if you’re all about instant gratification you can scroll down and get to the big reveal. But I won’t be providing hugely in-depth reviews of them, nor will I be tearing them apart. If however you don’t mind me waffling for a bit, strap in!
When I read a book I love I immediately want to write the review and share the book excitement. Shout it from the rooftops and hope that maybe other bookish folk will join me. Conversely, when I’ve not enjoyed a book, I will close it quietly, put it into the charity shop pile and forget about it. This does of course mean that I rarely, if ever, write negative reviews for my blog.
I can see that this might mean that from the outside it might look like I love ALL the books I read but that’s really not the case. I just find it easy to write about the books I’ve enjoyed. I feel like it’s a waste of my efforts to write about something I’ve not loved. I have precious little free time as it is, I work full time and have two children (and a husband, let’s not forget him!) and if I’m sitting down to write something, I want it to be positive and hopefully a catalyst for someone to head to a book they maybe might not have considered.
Don’t get me wrong, if there is an element of a book I’ve read that I didn’t enjoy I will of course make reference to it in my review but overall if a book has been reviewed on my blog then it’s a safe assumption that I’ve enjoyed it. I think going forward into 2019 I will endeavour to write reviews regardless of whether I’ve enjoyed a book or not. What are your thoughts on this? Not allllll the time of course, but maybe just throw in a few negative Nancy curveballs?
Whilst I appreciate that negative reviews can be helpful in steering us away from wasting our time with a book. I also don’t want to fall into the trap of putting someone off a book completely without giving it a go. As we all know, we can’t all like the same books. The world would be proper dullsville if we did. But I do find myself absorbing the opinions of the booktubers/bloggers I respect the opinions of and maybe putting off a book I was excited to get to based on their negativity towards it.
What can I say? I’m heavily influenced people!
The problem this year with me goes beyond just writing a negative review. Way beyond! I’ve found a handful of books I’ve read this year I’ve really not enjoyed and I have kept my trap fairly shut about it on Twitter and on here for fear of retribution. I didn’t want to have to go into hiding based on my book opinions!
So it’s difficult when the books you really didn’t like are the ones EVERYONE is raving about! The ones your bookish influencers are extolling the virtues of ON THE DAILY, the ones winning Book Of The Year awards (massive hint there for the Columbo’s and Miss Marples amongst you).
I enjoy the conversations that happen when a book divides opinion, but there’s usually a fairly equal division. So when you feel like you’re the only one being the Negative Nelly it can be a lonely old place and far too daunting to stick your head above the parapet and say ‘well actually I didn’t like it’.
Today kids, I am going to stick my head above that bloody parapet, be brave and stand by my decisions.
As I said at the start I am not going to tear into any books, I am merely divesting myself of my dirty book secrets, by which I mean naming the popular books I haven’t enjoyed. Maybe then I’ll feel cleansed.
First up we have Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss.
I cannot tell you how much I was looking forward to this book after reading and loving Night Waking and The Tidal Zone. However I just didn’t quite get this one. I found it instantly forgettable. In fact I can barely remember what went on as I’m writing this. It is a super short book but it felt like a struggle to reach the climax. I think part of my disappointment with this book was that I had expected it to be more creepy. I’d heard there was the voice of a ‘bog girl’ when in reality we hear barely anything from her. I think her narrative appears once at the beginning or very sporadically at any rate, but I may be remembering that incorrectly…Sarah Moss can write, and I usually love her writing style but the dialogue ran into the normal prose and I didn’t find it a comfortable read in that respect. Overall it was not a hit for me.
Next up we have Peach by Emma Glass and interestingly I wrote a review of this early on in my blogging history which whilst not being hugely negative was a different kind of review for me. Go check it out here This book made me feel like I’d somehow ‘failed’ as a reader in some way. I felt like I just wasn’t clever enough to ‘get it’ yet everyone around me was! As I mention in the review Emma Glass is a great writer but the strange characters in this story were a step too far for my reading tastes.
Then we have Crudo by Olivia Laing. I will say that I loved the cover of this book! It’s extremely eye catching. However the contents were not for me! I felt like every current affairs topic had been shoehorned into the story and I just didn’t gel with the narrator.
Possibly the two books I’m most afraid of mentioning.
Sally Rooney’s Conversations With Friends and Normal People were not to my liking at all. I read them both fully although I did consider DNF’ing Normal People. I just don’t feel I enjoy or identify with the millennial voice. I thought that Marianne and Connell’s story in Normal People hinged tenuously on the smallest of miscommunications and I couldn’t decide if that was genius or irritating. In the end I plumped for irritating I’m afraid. I didn’t like that there was no clear differentiation of dialogue and found some of the minutiae of explanations a little dull. The smallest of actions explained to the nth degree. Conversations With Friends just didn’t grab my attention I’m afraid. I found the characters a little pretentious and the storyline didn’t grip me, it is certainly not a book that sticks in my memory. I am not sure I will ever be a Rooney fan but I am open minded and will try her work again in the future.
So there we have it! I hope we can still be bookish pals?!
I am super cautious about publishing this post but I think we’re all adult enough to understand that we won’t all like the same authors and the same types of books. Life would be very dull if we did!
PLEASE PLEASE bear in mind that if you see someone commenting that they didn’t enjoy a book, this doesn’t mean YOU won’t! Please give books a try and form your own opinions. It makes for very interesting bookish conversations and that’s what it’s all about!
Anyway, that’s all for me on the subject. Please do get in touch with your thoughts (if you’re still talking to me!).
See you soon.
Bookish Chat xxx