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Does it bother you when someone dislikes a book you love?
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Allyson



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 567

PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2008 4:36 pm    Post subject: Does it bother you when someone dislikes a book you love? Reply with quote

Having been reading message boards and so on for awhile, this is a question that often occurs to me--if you ADORE a book and someone else lists it on their 'hate' list, does it affect you at all? Are you likely to argue for the book, or make your own opinion known?

When a thread gets extremely defensive about a negative review, or sometimes, a negative opinion stated on the board, what causes this? Sometimes, yeah, it's the author herself or people who know her, but sometimes not.

I sometimes see lovers of a particular author arguing with those who don't like that author, trying to dispute what they didn't like about it...is it a hope to change their mind? I mean, I've been mildly snapped at for merely stating I don't really care for Linda Howard, and I wasn't even bashing.

For myself, if someone doesn't like an author I do, and mentions it on a thread for that author, it won't register. But if that person seems to want discussion I'll say why I do like the author, and it's interesting to see if it's a case of us just preferring totally different things (like if someone doesn't like assertive heroines) or the things that annoy one reader not registering with another (like historical inaccuracy or head-hopping).

And what about the reverse? if you HATE a book, and someone else adores it, are you likely to argue, or have an emotional reaction to it? Sometimes I'll admit to thinking 'but..how can people like a character who does 'blah' thing' but I try not to phrase it that way.
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Lynda X



Joined: 05 Apr 2007
Posts: 1442

PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2008 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Look, whether or not I love a book is often because it just is in synch with me. Yes, I can talk about the characteritization, its color, its historical color, etc., but most of the time, I just love it because I love it. I love to discuss what works--and what doesn't--about a book, but I have to admit that I would really prefer that the rest of the world also saw it the same way I did, and I must admit getting irritated with comments that disparage my choice.

Having said that, I often find myself posting comments criticizing books that others have loved, if the books particularly irritate me. I feel a little bad about about this--as I did when I criticized "Tall Tales and Wedding Veils," but one, of many, things I love about the people on this site is that with almost no exceptions, people extend dignity and respect to people whose opinion differs from theirs.

So, barring cloning everybody to my tastes (which I do admit would be boring!), I find it interesting that one person's keeper classic is another's dud.
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RichMissTallant



Joined: 06 Jun 2008
Posts: 148
Location: Washington, DC

PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2008 5:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think my answer to this one is yes, for the most part.

I'm defensive with anything I really love - literature, movies, tv shows, etc. (although I do believe I've gotten better over the years).

I don't always say something; if a person simply states that they don't like something I do, it doesn't bother me. I can respect that and agree to disagree. The 'problem' usually arises when I feel like the person has made either an extremely harsh judgment or has faulty reasoning.

For example, on another board I frequent, there's a user that really hates Jane Austen. One day, she wrote a post (I believe it was in the "Books You Hate" or "Unpopular Literary Opinions" thread) that she didn't get the big deal about Pride and Prejudice. That didn't bother me much; I, along with several others, replied with what we personally loved about the novel - it's been my favourite novel since I was about 13, so I couldn't resist adding my 2 cents. The fact that she didn't like it didn't really bug me; it was more of a "well, that's your loss" type of feeling.

However, a few days later she went on another Jane Austen rant (I believe this time it was in an "Authors You Hate" thread), and this time, we weren't so nice. Obviously the nature of the thread lends itself to discussions and disagreements, but stuck in her rant was something along the lines of "give me the Brontes over that upper-class wimp" and that really irritated me because I feel like, really, if you're going to dislike Jane Austen, at least have a reason that makes sense, which that one doesn't at all IMO; plus, I can't think of any Austen fan that enjoys seeing the Bronte sisters held up as 'superior' or more serious writers. And so my words were a little stronger that time around.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is I feel like some people are naturally inclined to being more defensive about things they love and let it 'get to them' (I'd include myself in this bunch). And that there's nothing wrong with differences of opinion - one would hope we'd all be mature enough to respect those - but it's never easy to read excessively negative comments about a book or author you really love.
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JulieR



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 189

PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2008 5:48 pm    Post subject: Re: Does it bother you when someone dislikes a book you love Reply with quote

Allyson wrote:
And what about the reverse? if you HATE a book, and someone else adores it, are you likely to argue, or have an emotional reaction to it? Sometimes I'll admit to thinking 'but..how can people like a character who does 'blah' thing' but I try not to phrase it that way.


It depends on how much I hated the book. I rarely HATE any book. If I just dislike or don't get a book I can shrug my shoulders and think "to each her own."

But once I HATED a book that a fellow book club member recommended as the funniest book ever, and it actually changed how I viewed that person. If she could find some of the actions/behaviors in that book funny, then she wasn't the person I thought I knew. And I think she couldn't understand why I didn't think the book was funny. While the discussion was polite and civil, our relationship was never the same. (By the way, the book was A Confederacy of Dunces, and I am apparently much in the minority in hating the book, which won a Pulitzer Prize. I do agree that it was interesting and different, and it was very well-written -- had to be, to elicit such a strong reaction from me -- but I still hated it. I read somewhere that the best books/movies are the ones that you think about for a long time after reading/seeing, and this one definitely qualifies!)
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willaful



Joined: 02 Jan 2008
Posts: 1549

PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2008 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ooo, also hated CoD, which was much recommended to me. I was very young when I read it though, might feel differently now.

I really only get bothered when someone lists reasons for disliking a book which are just WRONG WRONG WRONG. Laughing And sometimes I'm truly baffled by someone liking a book which was so clearly terrible, to me. But after you've been hanging out in places like this, you start to learn to take these things in stride. People just have different tastes--even people whose tastes usually agree with mine can go vastly off the rails sometimes.
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Retrograde



Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 458

PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2008 7:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It doesn't bother me much; it's enough for me that I enjoyed the book, so it doesn't really affect me if someone hates it. I might have a discussion with them about their opinions, and offer my opinions in return, but it's certainly not my agenda to change their mind. However, i've read a few reviews that I thought were unjust (ie, basing their dislike of the book on not being familiar with the world it's set in, or exaggerating certain aspects that aren't major factors at all). In those cases, I do feel myself getting a little annoyed, mostly because I feel that putting out unobjective opinions (especially if those opinions hold sway) as a professional review could be robbing people of a good reading experience. I guess my main point is that I prefer a technical review of a book, rather than one based on personal preferences and pet peeves.
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LeeB.



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1277
Location: Seattle, WA

PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2008 7:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't mind if people hate books I love. Everyone has different tastes.

But it does annoy me if a person disses what I think is a really great book but has only read a few chapters and then given up. If you can't read the entire book, just say you couldn't get into it. That's a better comment -- to me -- than disparaging the book.
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Elizabeth Rolls



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
Posts: 1076
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2008 8:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I couldn't care less, except where the person makes the mistake of assuming that anyone who enjoys the book is mentally deficient. This type of arrogance annoys the hell out of me and can be either direct or implied. I don't usually bother responding to that sort of thing unless I believe that the person has facts about the book wrong. We don't get too much of that sort of thing here anyway; it mostly belongs on Amazon!

If it's just that someone didn't like the book and explains why it didn't work for him/her, then fine. That can be illuminating. Most people here accept that one person's wallbanger is another reader's DIK and there have been some great discussions about books that people loved/hated. The current discussion of Julia Quinn's Lost Duke of Wyndham is a good example. I will not generally discuss specific books I disliked, because it feels like professional discourtesy to me. (But that's just me, because I'm an author myself. It shouldn't extend to other readers.) I'm quite happy to discuss books I enjoyed, although I don't assign grades. As far as I am concerned a grade is a quantifiable judgement of quality which ought to be completely objective and awarded according to a recognised set of criteria. For me, reading a novel is too subjective for that. But again that's just me.

Elizabeth
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Cora



Joined: 12 Mar 2008
Posts: 1129
Location: Bremen, Germany

PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2008 8:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As long as discussions remain polite and civil, I have no problem with someone else hating a book/film/TV show I love, particularly if that person also gives reasons for what didn't work for him/her. Just as I have no problem with someone loving a book/film/TV show I hate, though I may privately question their taste. But then, tastes differ.

What annoys me to no end, however, is when instead of a reasoned critique, you get things like this book/film/TV show is unbelievably bad, it's completely moronic, the worst thing I've ever seen/read, the writer should be shot or have his genitals mutilated (yes, I've seen that one), only an idiot or a thirteen-year-old could enjoy that. Sometimes, I try to argue with those people, try to explain why whatever nitpicky flaws they've perceived are not flaws at all, why the supposedly moronic dialogue is how real people speak, why the supposedly unlikeable or dumb characters behave like real people. It rarely works.

Sometimes, when I got really pissed off, e.g. someone has insulted me personally for enjoying something they deem unworthy, I have been seduced into replying with, "Well, at least I don't read/watch this substandard, hateful crap that you read/watch." That sort of thing is usually a bad idea, because it never works and only leads to escalating flame wars.

On the flip side, I also hate it when I politely state that I don't like a book/film/TV show and explain why I don't like it and am in return called stupid for not getting the brilliant genius of this thing I dislike. Or when people keep trying to stuff the book/film/TV show I dislike down my throat, assuring me I will love it if I only give it one more try. For some reason, this behaviour is most prevalent with Buffy/Angel fans, who never seem to grasp that I really, really don't like those shows and that no amount of links where to buy entire seasons on DVD (like I'm going to spend money on something I don't like) are ever going to change that.

Actually, the examples given above are the standard debating style in the science fiction and fantasy community and also the reason why I eventually left - because I was really sick of being insulted for liking and disliking the things I did.
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JaneO



Joined: 17 Feb 2008
Posts: 797

PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2008 8:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think one of the problems is that people too often confuse their idiosyncratic likes and dislikes with a judgment about the quality of a book. If I say I don't like a book because it's about vampires and I don't like vampires, that statement is about me, not about the book. All that means is that no one should pay attention to anything I say about the book. There is no point in telling me that I ought to like vampires, or that if I read enough books about vampires I will learn to love them. A fondness for vampires is neither a virtue nor a moral failing, and the world is big enough for all of us.
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Tinabelle



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 874
Location: SE Wisconsin

PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2008 9:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It doesn't bother me when someone likes a book I did not or dislikes a book that I loved. I have learned, like others who have posted, that romance readers are all over the map when it comes to likes and dislikes. Reading is a very personal experience and people's reactions to books are personal, too. I don't feel that someone's dislike of a book makes it a bad book; they just didn't like it. I don't mind posting an opinion contrary to what the majority are saying. I feel that my opinion will be respected for what it is - my opinion. Just like their reaction is just their opinion. Neither one has any more value or rank than the other.

What does bother me is when people trash another reader for having a different opinion than theirs. And I also don't feel comfortable with author bashing either. If someone writes a book I don't like, it doesn't make them a bad person or a lousy writer. I think that generally this site doesn't "go there" although there have been a few times when attacks have gotten personal. I try to stay clear of those discussions and probably wouldn't post.

What I appreciate when someone comments on a book they liked or didn't like is the reasons they give for their opinion. This has come up in discussions before. Sometimes what appeals/doesn't appeal to one reader may not get the same reaction from me. The reviews on this site are very good about saying why they liked/didn't like a particular book. My attitude is that there are plenty of books to go around to suit everyone's tastes, so why fight over it. Discuss, yes. Argue/attack, no.
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Audrey



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 194
Location: Alberta, Canada

PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2008 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What Tinabelle said.

I really appreciate discussions because I don't depend entirely on reviews to help me decide whether to buy a book or try a new author, so it's great when people post either pro or con opinions. But I stop reading when people start getting snitty, or when they start being snobs about the kind of romance they prefer, or when they're obviously fangirls or bashers.

Even when it may be a question of quality, poorly done research or an anachronism or something, it may not bother me as much as another poster, at least not enough to ruin my enjoyment of the book.

I usually don't post because someone's already said what I would have and I don't have anything new to add.
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Sandlynn



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 1806
Location: Washington, D.C.

PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2008 11:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
A fondness for vampires is neither a virtue nor a moral failing,


A fondness for vampires is downright dangerous, so it's definitely not a virtue! Wink

As long as someone doesn't make their argument against a book in a derogatory or impolite manner, guaranteed to raise hackles, then I honestly don't mind if someone doesn't like a book I favor. It's all about different strokes. And, hey, if everyone agreed with me, there wouldn't be very many romances with vampires. Wink

The only proviso I would make is, I am less inclined to defend the merits of a book which is a guilty pleasure for me. That presumes that the book has problems or contains a generally disliked element, but I loved it anyway. On the other hand, if a book is of a higher quality -- however one defines that -- then I might defend it more in the face of criticism.
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Tee



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 4223
Location: Detroit Metro

PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2008 7:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Elizabeth Rolls wrote:
I'm quite happy to discuss books I enjoyed, although I don't assign grades. As far as I am concerned a grade is a quantifiable judgement of quality which ought to be completely objective and awarded according to a recognised set of criteria. For me, reading a novel is too subjective for that.

Your statement regarding grades almost slipped by me as I was going over the posts this morning, Elizabeth. But I liked what you said about them in general and agree with you. I too don't grade books, especially when I talk about them here. I'll use words, such as--loved it, great story, boring, etc. And that's because those are my personal reactions. Ranking by grades does seem to be too pat and implies universality in everyone's thinking, which isn't true, as you implied.

We know, from our childhoods and also from our kids' childhoods, that even among teachers, there are different criteria that need to be met from one teacher to another in order to earn an A grade in their classes. One teacher will be considered easy in that area and others much more stringent. The students eventually understand and accept these individual teachers' requirements and adapt. Personal effort is definitely one of those criteria.

Book reading, though, is a whole different ball game with the "teachers" definitely outnumbering the "students." And since it's such a personal experience, grading just doesn't appeal to me in this area. However, since some sort of system needs to be in place for the guidance of readers, it appears to be one that works well enough for the majority.
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Linda in sw va



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
Posts: 4708

PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2008 7:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't get upset no and I hope others will not get upset with me if I didn't love a book as much as they did. For this reason I rarely frequent fan forums.

However, sometimes I am baffled by a response to a book, a character or their actions. Sometimes it seems so out of left field I wonder if they've read the same book I have or I feel they have completely misinterpreted something. Wink In this case sometimes I will present another point of view but it's not meant to argue but merely to throw another way of looking at it out there.

I've never graded a book or kept any kind of spreadsheet or list - if I *really* like a book I keep it, if not I give it away. My bookshelf is full only of books I dearly enjoyed and feel I would want to read again. Oh and there are a couple in there I tell people I want to be buried with. *G*

Linda
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