After my first discussion post was a success in my mind I am a lot more confident on posting my second one. I have a schedule now; I will be posting these discussions twice a month on the second and fourth Saturday of the month, at least until I start running out of ideas and have to cut down on them a little until inspiration strikes again.
For this week I did have another idea for what I wanted to talk about in this discussion, but then something happened in a conversation that kind of inspired me. This means that I still have my original idea saved for next time, but now onto the topic;
Is Book Shaming a Thing in Bookish Communities?
One day earlier this month I was speaking to one of my friends, and as it normally does our conversation ended up on the books we’ve recently read. She was recommending me a few books that she really enjoyed and thought I might like as well, and one of them was a Classic. Now this is something that I feel most people in the blogging community who follow me know by now but my friend likely wasn’t aware of; I am not a fan of Classics.
Now I do plan on picking up a few and giving them another chance now I’m not being forced to read them chapter by chapter during my English GCSE classes, I added The Iliad to my to-read list after I read and loved The Song of Achilles last year. However when my friend expressed her disbelief and asked, ‘Seriously?!’, the first thought that popped into my head was, ‘What? Am I not trusted to know what I like and don’t like about books?’
It seems to be something most people say as kind of an impulse, and I know I’m guilty of it myself. If I’m talking to someone about the Harry Potter series and they say they haven’t read it my first thought is, ‘Seriously?!’. I get how people love these books and/or series, and just want other people to share the love but at the same time, being the other side of it, it felt a little like my friend was judging me (probably a little bit of my anxiety talking there as well) for not liking Classics.
People know what books they like and don’t like, I certainly do and from what I’ve seen on WordPress most other bloggers do, and recommendations is one thing (if you have a recommendation for a classic book you think I’d love by all means let me know) but scoffing and judging someone for not having read Jane Eyre or anything by Charlotte Bronte is just not the way to go.
Which brings me onto the second half of this discussion topic, and before I start I just want to say this is not something I’ve seen on WordPress at all. The bookish community on WordPress is a wonderful place and I’ve never felt anything but welcome there.
There are a lot of books I love and a lot of books I have recommended to other people, books they should start ASAP because I loved them so much or because it’s something I genuinely think they’ll enjoy as well, and there’s always that sense of disappointment when someone doesn’t enjoy a book you love or a book you recommended but we can’t all like the same things.
I’m not going to go into the finer details on this but one day as I was reading through some of the more negative reviews for a book I enjoyed, I wouldn’t say I loved it but I didn’t hate it either, I spotted something which really shocked me. This review I was reading was well written. There was evidence behind the reasons the reviewer had for disliking this book, and as I was reading I found myself nodding along to some of the points I also identified in this book, but then I checked out the comments on this review. The majority of the were from other people who loved this book attacking the reviewer, for lack of a better word, telling them their opinions were wrong.
Now again this isn’t something I’ve seen on WordPress at all but it brought back some memories I had which I thought I’d forgotten from the first time I posted a negative review. I think it was for Red Queen/Glass Sword, which I knew plenty of people loved, and I was actually a little terrified to press the Publish button on WordPress because of what I’d said. I’ve gotten better at not feeling nervous about posting negative reviews. I don’t attack authors or publishers and my claims are all backed up, if people don’t agree they don’t agree and that’s that.
I just want to make this very clear because I’m a little hesitant to press the publish button on this post as well (I even thought a few times about getting rid of it and going back to my original idea) that this is not a subtle dig at anyone I’ve met or talked to on WordPress, this is not an attack on anyone at all and this is all just my opinion.
Now Onto the Discussion Part of This Post:
Have you ever been judged for the books you haven’t read or the genres you don’t enjoy, how did it make you feel?
Can you recommend any Classics you think I’d actually enjoy, I’m willing to give the genre another try so any suggestions are welcome?
Have you even been attacked for posting a negative review, or seen it happen to any other reviewers and/or blogger out there?
Or, on the other hand, do you think I’m completely off the mark here and that book shaming isn’t a thing that actually exists?
Let me know in the comments below.