Discussion Time: Is Book Shaming a Thing in Bookish Communities?

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

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?’

The Song of Achilles

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.

Harry Potter

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.

Red Queen

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 youΒ 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.

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83 thoughts on “Discussion Time: Is Book Shaming a Thing in Bookish Communities?

  1. I, personally, am not a fan of classics as well. It just never appealed to me. I find it hard to understand most of the time – maybe it’s because English isn’t really my native language. I have had people telling me how weird it was for me to be reading YA books even though I already have a kid and is 28 years old. But really, I don’t think it’s fair for people to do that. No one can force someone to read anything they don’t want to read, nor could they force people to like what they don’t like. Every reader is an individual and every individual have the right to their own choices and opinions. I feel sad that some people can’t understand the concept of individual preferences. I wish people could just respect whatever it is readers want to read and also their opinion about a book they like.

    Thanks for posting this! I’ve been meaning to write about this too, but just don’t have the time. πŸ™‚

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    1. I think being forced to read classics in high school English classes kind of killed the genre for me. I’m a mood reader so now the thought of picking a classic up doesn’t appeal to me at all. Maybe one day though.
      I’m at that age where I feel people may start asking why I read YA, but I enjoy the genre so I’m not going to stop reading it, like you said we all have individual tastes and my reading habits aren’t hurting anyone. So why should anyone else care what books I read?
      I think respect is so important when it comes to reading, we’re not all going to like the same books and genres but we need to accept that rather than attack it.
      Thanks so much, I’m so glad you enjoyed this post. πŸ™‚

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  2. I don’t think I have ever been shamed about not liking a book or genre – on my blog that is. I did get some disbelieving looks from people in real life when I say I don’t enjoy a very important author from Bosnia, which everyone apparently adores. I hated his book, which I had to read many of for school. So I do get judging looks for that, especially from older people.
    I do get surprised when people say that they haven’t read Harry Potter yet as well. That’s mostly because A TON of people have read it and it’s soo popular. I don’t judge them for it or anything like that. Everyone should read what they feel like.
    I respect everyones opinions on books, after all we all have different tastes and enjoy different things. We really can’t all love the same things! I actually love reading negative reviews on books I loved, they just make me see how people read the same book and yet have such different opinions on them.
    Great discussion Beth! πŸ˜€

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    1. I think when it comes to the book blogging community it does seem like there is less book shaming, it’s outside of that most people seem to say they’ve been judged on the books they pick up. Harry Potter is one of those books it does seem like everyone’s read so I get what you mean but since blogging I have become more aware that not as many people as I would have thought have read it.
      No I definitely agree. It’s all right to recommend books to people they haven’t read but it’s not all right to book shame them for not reading something, and yeah I am the same, I love reading negative reviews for books I love! πŸ˜€

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    1. Thanks so much Izzi, it seems to be what most people think and when it comes down to it there’s no need to book shame people. People should feel free to love whatever books they like and not have to worry about other people’s opinions. But it’s great to hear you’re not bothered by it anymore. Guess the best thing to do with things like this is just ignore them. πŸ™‚

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  3. Brilliant discussion, Beth β™₯ I’m so excited to see more of these!

    I think that book shaming is definitely a thing that unfortunately exists. I haven’t experienced it much, thank god, but I’ve definitely seen it around the book community. I definitely am a little guilty of it myself with Harry Potter. Like you mentioned when someone says they haven’t read it or liked it my immediate reaction is ‘WHY? HOW?’ haha, but I’m definitely trying to stop that train of thought.

    It’s definitely not okay to judge someone for the books they did or didn’t like (the only exception being if a book is racist/sexist ect. and they refuse to acknowledge those elements). I was SUPER nervous posting my review for ACOTAR because I know how well loved that book it is. I haven’t experienced it personally but I know lots of people who’ve expressed dislike for that book have received not so nice comments which is not okay.

    Overall though I think the community is getting better!

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    1. Thanks so much Lauren, I already have an idea for my next discussion post, and the one after that as well! πŸ˜€
      Harry Potter is pretty much the only one for me as well. I think I grew up with the generation where everyone had read the books, even if they didn’t like them they still read them, so discovering people who haven’t does surprise me sometimes, thought a little less each time!
      Exactly, we all need to be a judgement free zone if not how would people feel safe posting any reviews less than five star ones. I was among those who loved ACOTAR but it’s only after seeing some of the more negative reviews I picked up on the negative aspects in the book and now I don’t think I’d like it as much if I read it again for that reason.
      Same here! πŸ˜€

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  4. Oh, what a wonderful and important discussion post, Beth!! ❀ I wish I could say that I’d never seen book shaming happen, but I feel like this is very much a thing that occurs, which is so sad because it can be so hurtful and unnecessary. I will admit, of course, when someone didn’t enjoy a book that I loved, there’s that tinge of disappointment and it really depends on the book and review whether or not I’d continue to read the negative review. Everyone has the right to their opinion! What I find so unbelievable is that some people would go on to attack the reviewer who didn’t share the same opinion as them. Its just so hurtful! ☹️
    I have also seen people making others feel bad over the books they read and it makes me so sad. A lot of the time they haven’t even READ the book that they’re shaming the reader for reading! Like, why would you go out of your way to make someone feel bad or defensive about reading a book that you haven’t even read? And even if you had, if they’re reading it, that’s their choice, and you have no reason to make them feel bad about it. (Whoops, sorry, slipped into a mini rant there) Having said all that, I am so happy that I don’t see that happen on WordPress! The community here is so so wonderful and I have never been anything less than welcome to share my honest opinions, though I’ll admit publishing that negative review can be daunting at first aha. But everyone is so respectful and polite, there’s honestly nothing to worry about! If only real life could be that lovely haha. Such a great discussion, Beth!! ❀❀

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    1. Thanks so much Analee, and yeah that seems to be the general feeling among most bloggers, they wish this wasn’t a thing they’d seen but they have a few times. It’s definitely sad, we should be able to enjoy it when other people enjoy the books we do without needing to attack the people who don’t. I agree there’s always that sense of disappointment but for the most part for every one person that doesn’t like a book you love there are always two or more more who did love it. I kind of love reading negative reviews, even for books I did love, kind of a guilty pleasure of mine, but yeah I never like seeing reviewers being attacked for their opinions.
      That’s another thing I just don’t get, if you haven’t read a book you don’t really have a right to judge someone else for reading and enjoying it, even if you did read it and didn’t like it you still don’t have that right in my opinion. I guess though in every community you get the odd few who are like that, unfortunately their voices are always the loudest.
      Yes the WordPress community is amazing, and I’ve never once felt like I haven’t been able to say something about a book or topic for fear of being attacked for my opinion.
      Thanks so much Analee! πŸ˜€ ❀

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  5. I think that the WordPress community is a very welcoming and tolerant place, although I definitely think book-shaming is a thing. I think that the YA genre especially is frowned upon by readers of more literary fiction, which I think is totally ridiculous. Everyone should be able to read what they want and not feel ashamed about their tastes and opinions.

    As for classics that are enjoyable – I would definitely recommend ‘Rebecca’ by Daphne Du Maurier. It’s the kind of book that you can read in one sitting and the writing is just gorgeous!

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    1. Oh I agree. I’m not really in other social media sites but I’ve heard stories about them whereas I’ve never heard those kind of stories about WordPress.
      I haven’t really had anyone shame me for reading YA books but I can almost see why it’s something that happens, which is stupid because there is a lot of diversity and variety and important issues being written about in YA. It isn’t just a genre for teens anymore.
      Thanks for the recommendation. I’ll definitely check it out when I get a chance! πŸ˜€

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  6. I think book-shaming is absolutely a thing, but not as common as it seems. To me, book shaming is the idea of looking down on someone or questioning their intelligence based on what they choose to read. What does happen a lot, which can also feel a bit shitty, is when people are surprised that you don’t like a particular genre or author, the same as me saying “I’ve never seen Independence Day” and getting looks like I’ve just kicked a dog.

    I think a lot of people tend to forget that not everyone has the same taste!

    I own and have read a lot of classics, but to be honest so many of them are just boring to me. I hated Tess of the D’Urbervilles and The Professor for example. It’s taken me 3 months to get 30% through Wuthering Heights. And I can’t stand Charles Dickens. Moby Dick bored me half to death, if I wanted to know about whale heads I’d have jumped on Wikipedia.

    In terms of classics that are enjoyable – I liked Jane Eyre for it’s gothic feel, tragic love stories, overblown drama and crazy, crazy events. The Time Machine is a nice little sci-fi and Dracula, if you like books written in the form of letters, is quite a good read. I definitely recommend Pygmalion, the play, as it’s quite good and cheeky as well as The Importance of Being Earnest (if you don’t want to read it, there are films and plays on it which are very funny!).

    The same as with anything, it’s about trial and error and finding what you like! πŸ™‚

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    1. Actually yeah based on he comments I’ve replied to so far that does seem to be the definition of book shaming most people seem to think of when they hear the phase. And honestly it’s horrible that someone would judge you based on what books you read. Yes I’ve get that sometimes. I get it a lot when I tell my friends I haven’t seen Grease and aren’t a fan of Dirty Dancing. I guess they’re considered two classics of the film world like with Independence Day.
      I think in all the time I’ve been on WordPress I’ve never met someone else who has exactly the same taste in books as I do, or two people who have exactly the same taste as each other. Guess you just forget that a little when faced with someone who hasn’t read your favourite book.
      I’ll admit Moby Dick was never going to be one that made it on my to-read list. There’s just nothing about it that interests me, but thank you for the recommendations. I own a copy of The Tine Machine already and I feel Dracula would be one I like given j enjoy fantasy/paranormal books. I’ll be sure to check a few of these out when I get a chance! πŸ˜€

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  7. This is definitely a great discussion post, Beth! I think the exclamation that comes from people upon finding out that someone hasn’t read something that is widely known and read is really just an impulse as you mention. Those who actually take the time to insult you for not liking it should be more ashamed since you’d probably be able to name a hundred other magnificent books that THEY haven’t read at all, even if they aren’t classics. Classics do have a love-hate relationship among a lot of people, and school is a big reason why the hate also exists since teachers often end up FORCING interpretations and analysis’ on us instead of letting us enjoy and discover the classics by ourselves. I haven’t been a real victim of this “shaming” in real life, and especially not in the blogging community, but then again it’s only been less than two years since I started to dig into classics and what not that I want to read and not. There will come a time where it’ll probably be hard for a non-reader to tell me “whaaat??? you didn’t read ______ ????” For now, whenever someone ends up being surprised, I just add the book (if not already) to my TBR. After all, I do love classics! πŸ˜€ I hope you never run into anyone who shames you for not having read a certain classic. If anything I’d definitely recommend trying out any classic that peeks your interest though. There are some wonderful classics out there that will probably interest you a lot too (depending on your mood as well)! πŸ˜€

    – Lashaan

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    1. Thanks so much Lashaan. When I find myself mentioning it it’s normally an impulse, and I definitely don’t mean it in a bad way or anything. I guess sometimes when books are well known you just assume everyone has read them because they’re that iconic. Actually insulting is a different thing all together isn’t it? And yeah I reckon every blogger on WordPress had hundreds of books they can recommend for every classic book they haven’t.
      I think for me my hate does come from school. I’m a mood reader so being forced to read a variety of classics chapter by chapter just wasn’t for me, and it’s not like I could DNF the book either if I wanted to get a good grade.
      I think the blogging community on WordPress, haven’t really been a huge part of blogging community outside of WordPress, is an accepting place of whatever you want to read. No hate here that’s for sure. It’s great you’re getting more into classics. I guess I should have a look at what ones there are out there and see if any catch my eye. Maybe I’ll find a few I love as well! πŸ˜€

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  8. Great post, Beth, and I agree so much with you – judging someone’s taste in books is definitely not the way to go. I think the only time when it’s tolerable/acceptable to β€˜judge’ is when perhaps they like obviously racist/sexist/etc. books… it’s case-by-case, of course, but I think it’s OK if that gives you pause and makes you wonder what kind of person they are.

    Anyway, I don’t think you’re off the mark at all! Reader elitism is definitely a thing. I don’t know if I’ve been β€œjudged” by the books I read, but I admit that I don’t really advertise the fact that I read YA in my professional world. I would answer honestly when asked, but I can’t deny that people tend to assume that if you read YA (or Romance too, actually) you’re a bit of a β€œlesser” reader than if you read, say, Classics. I suspect this is because most of the time, classics are heralded as books that might change your mind, open up your thoughts, etc. while YA is easily dismissed as β€œbooks for teens”. It’s not a good thing, of course, and we as YA readers know that it’s not true β€” YA books CAN open your thoughts and change your mind β€” but it’s not as widely known.

    RE: negative reviews – I think I’ve been lucky enough that pretty much all my negative reviews have been very nicely accepted, haha. I know some people have had bad experiences, but I can’t speak for them because my readers, thankfully, happen to be really nice, even when we disagree. πŸ˜›

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    1. Thanks so much Reg, and actually I never thought about it that way but then again I haven’t read or come across anyone who reads obviously racist/sexist/etc. books. I think for the most part when people express surprise that I haven’t read certain books it’s more in a “well in that case I’d really recommend them”, rather than hardcore judgment.
      Ohh, reader elitism is a good way to describe it, and I kind of wish I’d thought of calling it that before posting this discussion. I guess most of the time people won’t really say they’re judging you for the books they read but it’s hard to tell what people think when you talk about books/post reviews. I talk in work about reading YA books, but I get what you mean because before I started reading as much YA as I did I did assume it was solely books for teens. Obviously a mistake on my part but something I reckon a lot of people who don’t pick up the books will think as well.
      Same here, I think we’re lucky on WordPress that that is mostly the case, people aren’t going around attacking people for not liking the same books, but it’s just horrible when people do do that. I get that you loved the book but attacking someone who has a different opinion isn’t going to make them change their minds on it. πŸ™‚

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  9. I know this is an aside, but I just realized when I was going through the subscriptions in my email, that you were the SECOND blog I followed? The second! Ever!
    Btw, I love this topic. Definitely can be a problem when you write a neg review for a popular book or write a positive one for an unpopular book.
    I love that I’ve followed you since the very beginning! 😍😍😍

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    1. Wow, that’s kind of an achievement for me I guess. Thanks for following me way back then. I honestly can’t remember the second blog I followed, I can’t even remember the most recent blog I followed for that matter.
      Thanks so much Stephanie. And yeah I think it’s something people always feel a little anxious about, going against the popular opinion on certain books, but luckily WordPress seems to be a pretty accepting place of things like that.
      I love that too! πŸ˜€ ❀

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  10. Great discussion! Book shaming definitely does exist, though I’ve hardly seen it on WordPress. It’s more prevalent in real life, and though I love reading classics, I’ve been quite judged about not reading non-fiction. I’m not the hugest fan of that genre, and I’ve noticed that most people who do NOT read consider non fiction books to be the only one through which you gain knowledge. And when I tell them I don’t read non fiction, the evident reaction is, ‘what is the point of reading then?’
    I’ve never been attacked for a negative review, nor have I minded negative reviews of other people, because I think people should keep their own opinions and let others keep theirs.
    As for classic recommendations : Jane Austen is pretty much the obvious choice if you’re starting out. The Bronte sisters are absolutely amazing (I actually consider them better than Austen) and I think you’d really like Rebecca by Daphne Du Marier too.

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    1. Thanks so much, and yeah I haven’t seen it on WordPress either which is amazing. I think from what I have seen and heard WordPress is definitely one of the best bookish communities out there (not that I’m biased or anything.)
      I’m not the hugest fan of Classics or Non-Fiction and I guess those are the two genres I would largely associate with book judging, simply because they seem to be the genres everyone will have at least read something from. You can get knowledge from any book you read, even if it’s not as black and white as it would be in a non-fiction book.
      That’s great, and that’s kind of the attitude I, and most people I think, have. Besides how boring would the world be if we all liked and disliked the same things.
      Thanks for the recommendations. I’ll be sure to check them out. I do want to try the classics genre again simply because I feel like I may enjoy it now that I’m not reading for my high school English lessons! πŸ™‚

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  11. Hey Beth!
    There is definitely some book-shaming going in the bookish community as a whole, even though I personally rarely ever see something first hand. I mostly hear stuff like that fom others haha.
    I really enjoyed reading you discussion and the comments the people made and I can totally agree that it’s a stupid thing to do to make people feel less worth or stupid or naive for reading a certain genre. To be honest, in the world outside of my computer, I have little friends who really enjoy reading, so I don’t talk a lot about books because there wouldn’t be anybody to discuss them with ( though there are a few exceptions). The thing is, I read YA , classics and fantasy and I love to read some romance from time to time, too and I have heard people make rude comments about me reading ANY of these genres!
    Fantasy is only for dreamers and people who can’t cope with reality, romance is for those who aren’t happy in their relationships, YA is for babies and uneducated people who love reading low-quality plots and writing style. Classics are only for snobs and those judging minorities… Yeah, I’ve heard it all.
    I can only agree with what others have said here before: DON’T bother. Anybody who tries to judge you by one book or genre can’t honestly be somebody you’d want to judge you. It’s like saying: What?! You don’t like coffee? You’re a real freak, you know that? I mean, it’s just ridiculous! πŸ˜‰

    Don’t feel bad about reading anything. Read what you love and try out new stuff. Best tip I have for you πŸ˜‰

    Oh and try The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins πŸ˜‰

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    1. Hi! πŸ™‚
      I rarely experience it either. I think I’ve gotten lucky in that the bookish community on WordPress is genuinely accepting of whatever people do and do not read, and do and do not like. I’m glad you enjoyed my discussion post, and reading all the comments as well. I’m working my way through them to reply and it is interesting seeing what people have to say on the subject.
      I think if people are reading it shouldn’t matter what they are reading, any book they’ve picked up is likely one they’re interested in and that’s an amazing thing in and of itself. I have a few friends who enjoy reading, it tends to be what we bonded over when we first became friends, and generally we pick up the same books but there are a few times when there is something one of us has loved that someone else hasn’t. It sucks you’ve heard rude comments about the books you read. I read a lot of fantasy and YA myself, not as much romance and classics but you should be able to read what you like without people assigning stereotypes to you. I know a few people who love classics and I don’t think they’re snobs at all.
      Well I don’t like coffee either. But yeah I’m not ashamed of what I read and if anyone tries to make me they’re not someone who’s opinion of me I’ll bother with in the future.
      Thanks so much, for the advice and the recommendation! πŸ˜€ ❀

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  12. This was such a lovely discussion, Beth! I admit it, more than once I’ve been scared to publish a blog post because my opinion wasn’t like everyone else’s, and I was scared of being shamed for it or just judged because I didn’t feel the same way as everyone else. But after all, we can’t all like the same things, otherwise the world would be a boring place if we all thought the same things, wouldn’t it?
    I have never been personally attacked about a review I posted – not that I can remember of, anyway, and I’m grateful for it, though I have seen it happen many, many times with other bloggers and reviewers, and it always came with disregard for the reviewer’s feeling. IT was just plain judgment, and bad words thrown out there saying they just didn’t GET the book or something, and I found that oh so very stupid to say. After all, everyone is entitled to their opinions, and if you don’t agree, you can at least respect it, or so I want to think πŸ™‚
    For your question about classics, I’m not a huge fan of these either, I haven’t read too many of these, but one I could recommend would be Lord of the Flies – it’s the one book I had to read for class that I actually ended up enjoying A LOT. Hope you will too πŸ™‚

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    1. Thanks so much Marie. I do think after a while I’ll get over this little fear I have of publishing certain posts. I’ve kind of moved past it when it comes to reviews, I think it’s just that discussions are still a new thing on my blog so I’m still not sure how people will react to the things I publish. No the world would be very boring if we all liked the same thing, and besides your blog is yours, you should be able to post whatever you want whenever you want! πŸ˜€
      Yeah I think the WordPress bookish community is an incredibly accepting one. I’ve never been attacked or seen anyone attacked on here either. It must suck for the reviewer seeing this kind of comments on their post, and besides I don’t think reading is something you necessarily get you know? It’s something you enjoy, or in the case of negative reviews, don’t enjoy, it’s very subjective based on the person reading the book.
      Ahh see I did read Lord of the Flies for class and that was one I didn’t end up enjoying that much. It was better than some of the other classics we had to get through but that’s all I can really say about it. Thanks for the recommendation though. πŸ™‚

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      1. I never get over the fear of publishing a discussion post, or, more recently, publishing my blogging ways posts. I really love writing these but I’m always afraid some sentences or anything will be taken the wrong way ahah, so you’re definitely not alone in feeling this.
        I agree, it is really subjective to love or hate a book, and we can’t all agree on everything, but attacking someone for having different opinions is just…well, really stupid I guess :/
        Oh, well I tried! πŸ™‚

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      2. I guess sometimes with discussions posts there are controversial topics that can be talked about. I’ll likely always worry as well but given that I can go back and re-read every sentence I write ten times to make sure there’s no possible way it can be mistaken I’ll just have to settle with something I’m happy with and hope for the best.
        Really stupid, you’d think people would know attacking someone isn’t going to change their opinion because if someone attacked them they wouldn’t, but I guess not. πŸ™‚

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  13. As for me, I almost never got book-shamed. If I say that I haven’t read something that everyone else already did, people around me usually would reply with “Then read it asap, you’re gonna love it!”

    Maybe that’s because I have awesome people surrounding me, or because I really have been lucky not receiving that kind of criticism for whatever I read or don’t read. πŸ˜€

    And I usually don’t do book-shaming on others as well. People always have their reasons for not reading that specific book everyone is talking about, or classics, or whatever other literature can be used as a reason for book-shaming.

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    1. Honestly that’s kind of what I reckon most people will say in that kind of situation, and it’s great that people recommend it to you in that way and genuinely think you’ll love it as well.
      Go for the surrounded by awesome people one, they sound like awesome people just from your comment as well. πŸ˜€
      That’s actually a good way of looking at it and I agree, if you’ve been reading for long enough you know what you like and don’t like. No point picking up a book you know you won’t like just for the sake of having said you’ve read it.

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  14. Another great discussion topic, Beth! And, oh boy, do I agree there is some book shaming in the bookish community. I always feel self-conscious when I have to admit that I’ve never read the Harry Potter series, mostly because everyone just looks at me like I’m crazy or they leave comments that make me feel a bit foolish for having waited so long to read the series. I’ve watched the movies, but the books are still on my ever-growing TBR haha. And I definitely feel the shame when I have to admit to my fellow English majors during class that I have not read a great number of the Classics the majority of English majors are expected to have read. I’m very picky with my Classics. They are not books I actively seek out, and so my list of read Classics is pretty small. But outside of class and in the bookish community, I’ve found a lot of bookworms who don’t like Classics all that much either, so it’s definitely nothing to actually be ashamed of, and it’s definitely something no one should shame you for.

    As for Classics recommendations, I always encourage Alice in Wonderland, Great Expectations, Pride & Prejudice, Persuasion, The Secret Garden, The Great Gatsby, Wuthering Heights, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Those are some of my definite favorites!

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    1. Thanks so much Azia, and yeah part of me thinks in a way book shaming is kind of engraved in our minds. Simply because you see posts and hear people talking about how everyone has read these books that coming across someone who hasn’t just seems a little bit like a shock you know? Harry Potter is normally one of those for me but I know plenty of people who haven’t read the series so I feel less shocked by more people admitting they haven’t yet. I guess you’ll either get to it when you get to it or won’t at all if it’s not a series for you.
      Ahh, the ever growing TBR list is a problem I have as well.
      I think when it comes to classics I just don’t think I’d like them if I picked them up, and maybe that means I’ll go through the rest of my life having never read Mansfield Park or Jane Eyre but that’s all right with me. It’s great you’re still giving classics a go Azia, even if your to-read list for them is pretty small.
      Oh see I do love Alice in Wonderland, it’s the only classic I’ve read and enjoyed so the exception to the rule. πŸ™‚ As for the rest I’ll be sure to check them out, like I said I would like to give the genre another go one day. πŸ™‚

      Like

  15. I used to hate romance novels (before Colleen Hoover). But then slowly I grew my interest. I think it depends upon time and mood. If a book is well written, teaches us some lessons and doesn’t hurt anybody’s feelings, then it doesn’t matter what someone else thinks about that book.
    “No two persons ever read the same book.” – Edmund Wilson
    So,the thing is, there must be something good in a book we don’t like. As I mentioned before, it depends upon time and mood. Now I literally devour romance novels. If everyone started hating one genre and loving other, the former would get lost forever.
    P.S. I recently bought Red Queen and Glass Sword and I still have to read them πŸ˜‰πŸ˜ƒ

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    1. That’s actually a good point, and maybe the reason I didn’t like classic books was because I read them too young or something. I could go away from this post, read Pride and Prejudice, fall in love and have a new favourite genre. You never know! πŸ™‚
      It’s great Colleen Hoover managed to change your opinions on a genre, and great you’ve enjoyed more books from the same.
      That’s a brilliant quote as well, and one I feel is definitely appropriate for this topic. People just have different things they enjoy in books, and reading is very subjective as is, everyone sees, reads, feels different things when they pick up a book meaning they’ll draw different opinions from it.
      Well I really hope you enjoy both Red Queen and Glass Sword, plenty of people seem to. πŸ™‚

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  16. I haven’t been attacked but I did have a friend of the author scold me a little on my review I didn’t actually give the series a negative review, I gave them three points out of five but sometimes the writing seemed juvenile. I stated that, but also said that there was something that kept me reading because I read all three books. Truly, I had read worse and said worse before. I did feel kind of bad, and responded that I did actually give them an average rating! After that I decided that you can’t please everyone. I do try to be respectful of the time and heart an author puts into writing a book.

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    1. Oh that can’t have been nice, even though it wasn’t an attack so to speak it still must have been hard to have your opinion taken that way. Three stars is an average rating and I’ve given it to plenty of books I’ve enjoyed before. Opinions are just that, opinions, and they’re individual for each person.
      You definitely can’t please everyone so you may as well just try to please yourself. πŸ˜€

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  17. I agree that the blogging bookish community in general is wonderful. Sure, there are judgmental people here and there, but that’s inevitable, and I don’t think they represent the community as a whole.

    I have the “benefit” I suppose of reading fairly wildly. I read children’s books, from picture books to young adult. I read contemporary adult books. I occasionally read nonfiction. And I read lots and lots of classics, from well-known ones to very obscure ones. So if someone judges me for reading YA, I can be snooty right back and inform that it’s not impossible for someone to like YA and classics. So I guess I’m more likely to be shamed for what people see me reading and not what I don’t read.

    I think the one thing that’s often overlooked is that you can actually get attitude from people if you DO read classics. Again, this is not the way most people behave, but there is a subset of people who will get all on your case if you like classics because they think you’re being pretentious or looking down on people who don’t like classics or whatever.

    Read what you want. Don’t worry too much about what other people are reading. That’s all I have to say. :p

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh they’re definitely wonderful, and I’m not really part of the Goodreads or Twitter communities, or an active part of the Instagram one, but I love all the people I’ve met so far on WordPress. I guess you’re right you’re going to get judgmental people everywhere, no matter what topic you’re discussing.
      Wow it sounds like you read a little bit of everything, do you have a favourite genre or is it more favourite books from different genres? And hey that’s a great way of looking at it as well, just because someone likes YA doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy other genres as well.
      I heard that from another commenter as well, and I will admit as someone who doesn’t read classic that didn’t actually occur to me until it was mentioned. I guess if people are going to judge you on what you read they’re going to find a way to judge you no matter what you read; be it YA or be it classics.
      Good advice! πŸ˜€

      Like

      1. My favorite genre is fantasy, so I like to read anything from middle grade to adult, as long as it has an interesting premise. And I suppose my other favorite “genre” is classics, but, really, classics come in all sorts of genres themselves from literary fiction to fantasy to romance and science fiction. I like some types of classics more than others. I’m particularly into the 1800s and medieval literature, though there’s some stuff I enjoy from just about every century. I think that’s the thing to keep in mind, particularly for those who don’t really like classics. There’s some type of myth that you either like or hate all classics, and liking them all gives you literary cred. But you can pick and choose. Not every classic is written in some of type of convoluted ye olde English like Shakespeare (not to hate on Shakespeare). I like to believe that there are classics for everyone. To Kill a Mockingbird seems to be the one just about everyone I know likes.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That tends to be the way I find fantasy books as well, or actually any book I guess. As long as the premise is interesting I think I’ll pick anything up.
        There does seem to be a wide variety of classics in terms of genres. I guess looking at it that way there should be something for everyone in there. I probably won’t hate all classics, I just haven’t found the kind of classic I enjoy. I know I like Alice in Wonderland, and maybe I’ll give To Kill a Mockingbird a try as well considering everyone seems to like that one. I’m not a fan of Shakespeare I’ll admit but there’ll be something I like if I look for it I reckon. πŸ™‚

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  18. I’m still fairly new to WordPress and being a blogger, and I’m happy to say I haven’t seen any such shaming happening here. However, from I have seen in other places on the internet, I wouldn’t be surprised if it happens. there will always be someone who disagrees with someone else’s opinion so much as to become irrationally angry over it. Thankfully, most people in book communities seem to be much more level headed and open minded and can be respectful of other people’s opinions.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s wonderful to hear, especially considering you are new and you want the best possible experience from your blogging journey on WordPress.
      I think things like this will happen someplace, if people are going to judge you then they’re going to judge you no matter what you know? But WordPress is a wonderful community so I doubt you’ll see it here, if you see it anywhere at all! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  19. This was really enlightening to read, Beth. I’ve never been judged for the books I haven’t read or loved but I have been judged for certain books I have read or loved (not directly but I’ve felt judged because of reviewers attacking readers who loved a book they didn’t in their review). I could never put a name to the feeling but your use of book shaming completely hits the mark. And when I think about it I can’t think of a time I’ve ever slipped and book shamed someone else because of the fact that I know how it feels or at least I really hope I never have. I love recommending books to people so I like to make it a point to never make people feel bad for the books that haven’t read or if they don’t like a book I recommend. Because you’re completely right that we all know which books we like and which we don’t and also because we all get to different books at different times. As for negative reviews I’ve not posted a lot and have never been attacked for the ones I have but I’ve seen it happen to other people. One of the things I love about the book community is the varied opinions so I hate when someone is attacked for their opinion. So, yeah, overall I think you’re completely right about book shaming being a thing because I’ve seen it happen and have had it indirectly happen to me.
    As for classics, have you read Wuthering Heights? Or Pride and Prejudice? I’d actually recommend Pride & Prejudice over Wuthering Heights but both are ones that I’ve enjoyed and I’m not a huge classics fan. I’ve noticed Wuthering Heights is usually a hit or miss though.
    Anyway!! Great discussion! πŸ’•πŸ˜Š

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    1. Thanks so much Melissa, and while it’s great you’ve never been judged for the books you haven’t read it’s a shame you’ve been judged for the books you have loved, in a certain way that is. That side of things isn’t something I thought of as much when I was writing this post but it definitely applies and yeah it’s all book shaming isn’t it?
      Oh yeah it’s the same for me. I don’t think I’ve ever come out and actually book shamed people, I could be wrong but I really hope I’m not, but I do recommend books a lot, and there’s definitely a difference between recommending a book you love and shaming someone for reading/not reading it. I think that’s something people just have to accept, no matter what book, no matter how much you love it, there are always going to be people who don’t.
      I’ve not posted a lot either, and hopefully neither of us are ever attacked for our opinions either. People are always going to have different opinions, and yeah it can suck when someone doesn’t love a book you did but we’re all entitled to our opinions, and as long as the review isn’t insulting the author or the readers who do love it does it really affect you that much that someone doesn’t like your favourite book?
      I haven’t read either of those but Pride & Prejudice has been recommended to me previously in a comment so I’ll be sure to check that one out.
      Thanks Melissa! πŸ˜€ ❀

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      1. You’re welcome!! Definitely all book shaming. And something I wish that didn’t happen be it through reviews or directly from someone else.
        There really is a big difference between recommending it and then shaming someone for reading or not reading. And I completely agree. I mean I’ve recommended books I’ve loved to others before and they’ve not liked the book but I understand. Though I do sometimes feel bad when they don’t like it because I’m the one who recommended it and they took the time to read it. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
        Exactly! Sometimes I think people can get so caught up in their own opinion that they forget that other people’s opinions don’t directly affect them (I feel like that sounds a little rude but it’s so not meant that way). In the end the only thing that matters is that we loved a book or that we didn’t and everything else is just other opinions. Which, again, I love seeing other’s opinions on a book (ones that don’t shame readers or the author) because varied opinions bring to light other aspects of books that I might not have caught myself or they help me steer clear of a book or even read it. But, yeah, shaming another reader for their opinion is pointless in my eyes and hurtful.
        Let me know what you end up thinking of it if/when you do give it a try. You’re welcome, Beth!! 😁β™₯

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      2. Exactly, I think it’s really hard to book shame someone by accident. I mean you’d have to be aware how harsh you sound when you judge someone for not picking up a book but at the same time how do you even justify making someone feel that way over a book. As much as I love books they’re not important enough to hurt someone’s feelings over you know? Oh I feel that way as well, but even when I don’t like books someone has recommended me it’s still nice that someone shared it you know, that they loved it enough to put it out there for me to read.
        No it doesn’t sound rude, and I completely agree with you as well. Someone else’s opinion doesn’t affect yours as well. If someone doesn’t like my favourite book it doesn’t make me like it any less or anything.
        I definitely will! πŸ˜€ ❀

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      3. I agree, it has to be hard to book shame someone and not realize you’re doing it. And, yeah, no matter how much I love books they really aren’t important enough to hurt someone over. Reading is supposed to be fun and no one should be made to feel ashamed when it comes to reading.
        That’s true. I love it when people take the time to recommend me a book even if I end up not liking it.
        My thoughts exactly! I’m not going to stop liking a favorite just because someone else doesn’t. 😊

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      4. Kind of does make me wonder what goes through the minds of people that do book shame other people. Like honestly what do they get out of it and what do they think the person they’re shaming is going to do. They’re not likely to change their minds on the subject or anything.
        It just shows how much they enjoyed it I think, and I find that sometimes makes me enjoy it a little more as well. πŸ™‚

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      5. It makes me wonder about that too. The only real outcome of book shaming is making the person they’re shaming feel bad. But, yeah, beyond that it isn’t like they’ll change that person’s opinion. Who knows?
        Yeah, I think it makes me enjoy it more sometimes too. I’m such a hype readers so when people get hyped about a book I start getting all hyped and when I’m reading a book I know someone else loved it makes me appreciate it a bit more. 😊

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      6. I kind of think with people who do shame other people for what they read the real goal is just to be mean and spiteful. I mean they have to know it won’t change anything so is there any real need to do it?
        I’m the same, I always seem to buy into the massive amount of hype around about books so I guess knowing so many people love something always makes me appreciate it more too! πŸ˜€

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      7. Definitely, it really does just seem like something to do out of spite and to be mean. I actually think there are some people who are convinced book shaming (or even shaming in general) will convince someone to drop their opinion. Which is a flawed way of thinking since it won’t but there are definitely people who can be terrible like that.
        And the fun thing about hype is that I’ve had it work out more often than not. πŸ˜‚

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      8. Well it definitely doesn’t. I can be kind of petty sometimes and if someone tells me not to do something, or that my opinion is wrong, I’ll believe in it even more just to spite them. And even if someone’s opinion is wrong there are nicer ways to explain it to them, and maybe explain your point of view in a way they can understand, without attacking them.
        It’s been the same for me as well! πŸ˜€

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      9. I can be like that too sometimes. Reminds me of the whole kill them with kindness saying except in this case keeping your opinion just to spite someone who wants to change it. πŸ™ˆ
        Exactly, there are definitely better (and nicer) ways of explaining your point to someone if they’re wrong (or even if you just want them to see your side) than being mean. 😊

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      10. I can be like that a lot of the time. I’ll admit it’s not one of my more positive traits. If someone tells me not to do something I do it even more just to spite them. I can be incredibly stubborn.
        And people sometimes welcome converse when they post reviews. If someone is nice I don’t mind them maybe bringing to light some controversial things I may have missed, but they have to be nice about it and not outright attack me for my opinion. πŸ™‚

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      11. Same! I feel like it’s one of those traits that can be both bad and good depending on the situation. Sometimes stubbornness is needed. 😊
        I completely agree, if someone wants to talk about how they had a different opinion from mine and do so without attacking my own then I’m all for talking about it. It’s usually those conversations that can help me see a different side and even bring something up I might not have realized, which is a good thing. 😊

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      12. I feel like it’s bad when it comes to my work life but when it comes to my opinions it’s good to stand your ground I think. Unless you’re 100% wrong about whatever it is.
        And sometimes it can be nice to have a debate of sorts with someone with different opinions to yours, as long as it stays respectful. I get what you mean, I’ve discovered things I got wrong from other readers who maybe didn’t enjoy a favourite book of mine as much as I did. It definitely changed my opinion a little! πŸ˜€

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      13. True, if you’re 100% wrong then it’s best to put the stubbornness aside even if it can be tough to admit you’re wrong sometimes.
        It really can be. I have a friend who has completely different opinions as me on a lot of things and we’ve never once fought over them but rather just talked about our different opinions. I’ve had the same thing happen to me! 😊

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      14. Yep, and I will admit most times when I’m stubborn it’s not so much going against someone when I know I’m in the wrong but going against someone’s opinion almost. Funny story, one time my dad told me that, like him, I tend to start things and never finish them. He wasn’t trying to be mean or anything but after he said that I wanted to prove him wrong, so ever since then I’ve made an effort to throw myself 100% into everything I do. I think he’s kind of the reason I made it to my one year blogiversary! πŸ˜€
        I think that shows you respect the other person and their opinions. I guess that would be why there’s more hate online when you can be anonymous than in person when you know and like the person you know? πŸ™‚

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      15. Same here. That’s awesome that you’re dad telling you that only ended up driving you to not only prove him wrong but to keep with the things you start. Perfect example of why stubbornness can be a good thing! 😁
        Yeah, that could be a big reason why. People can use the anonymity of the internet and let it fuel hatred or make them feel powerful. Which makes me think of that movie Cyberbully. Even before I saw that movie the idea of doing that to anyone online felt wrong and after watching it even more so.

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      16. Yeah, I was so determined after that, and it hasn’t just been with blogging either. Now anything I start I’m determined to see it through just to prove I can.
        I don’t get why people bully at all, even with the anonymity of the internet it’s still difficult to imagine someone feeling so strongly about something that they have to attack other people simply for having a different opinion. I’m never going to get it likely.

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      17. I don’t get it and probably never will either. And really I think it’s a good thing that we don’t completely understand why people bully others. Goes to show that it’s something we could never fathom doing to someone else. It just sucks that people do bully and get bullied and that with the internet it’s a hard thing to stop. I always try to report bullying I see online or offensive language but nine times out of ten the website won’t take it down.

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      18. Well yeah there’s that as well. I was bullied when I was in high school so it’s honestly something I’d never do to someone and just something I don’t get like at all. It definitely sucks, and I think a lot of the time there’s only so much power people have to take down bullying online. If they take down one profile or comment what’s to stop the people making more?

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      19. I’m sorry you were bullied :(. I was as well but in middle school and it’s definitely a big part of the reason I could never do it to someone else. I agree, there’s is only so much people can do to take down bullying online because of the fact that someone can just put it right back up under a different name. But, yeah, it does suck that it’s that way.

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      20. Well, it sucked I’m not gonna lie but it was a long time ago. I’m sorry you were bullied as well Melissa, it’s a horrible thing to have to go through isn’t it?
        Maybe one day there will be something more people can do about it. I guess until then the Internet is just an easy place for people to bully others you know?

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  20. I don’t think I’ve ever been book-shamed before! But I have seen a variety of Goodreads reviews that have vaguely annoyed me, because they’ll say something to the affect of, “Only stupid people would like this trash.” There’s a difference between snark and making people feel bad for liking a book, even if you didn’t.

    It’s one of those things that’s hard to deal with??? Because I know there are some books I love that people think are trash, and that always hurts, but then I realize sometimes I can treat other people the same way about liking 50 Shades of Grey or some other book. Then it becomes this huge situation where it’s like, “I know it’s not okay to shame someone for reading anything, but if that book represents a harmful, abusive relationship, and that person says it’s romantic, what are you supposed to do?” It’s all so very confusing. πŸ˜…

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    1. Well it’s good you’ve never been book shamed, but yeah that’s not really a good thing to put in a book review. There have been books I haven’t liked, books I’ve hated as well, but I’d never attack the author, the publisher or the other readers who enjoyed the book because, well just because. People love reading and if they enjoy a book someone else did it’s no call to attack them and make them feel back. I can understand how that annoyed you Mikaela, just thinking about it is annoying me actually.
      Ohh, the 50 Shades of Grey thing is a good example actually, and I’ve probably done the same thinking about it. I mean it’s still no reason to attack the readers or anything but is it more harmful for readers to believe a relationship like the kind Christian and Anna have is a romantic ideal one? Very confusing I agree.

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      1. Yes, definitely! I’m a big believer in being happy people are reading at all, because it’s a wonderful thing! I’d never want anyone to feel bad for liking a book. That always feels so silly to me.

        So confusing! It really does show how people can interpret things so differently! I’ve seen people have completely contrasting ideals on books that deal with something controversial. It also shows how powerful reviews are. There are reviews I’ve seen that paint the book in such a negative light, that I’ll immediately look at anyone who rates it positively as if they’re wrong – which is clearly not right since I’ve never picked up the book. It’s always so strange! πŸ˜„

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      2. I’m the same. No matter what they’re reading just the fact hat people are reading make me happy, and sometimes I’ve even got some good recommendations from books I’ve seen people read on the train! πŸ˜€
        I think since blogging I have become more aware of controversial books, but I’ll also admit I tend you’ve kind of oblivious when it comes to things like that. I just don’t seem to pick up on them like other people may. I’ve definitely read reviews that have changed my opinion on books, and it’s normally a case of once someone else has mentioned it I tend to pick up on it too. πŸ™‚

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      3. Oh, yeah, I get you with the whole controversial thing as well! I don’t pick up on things, and it seems like I should, but 9 times out of 10, if someone says a book is racist, I’m just not seeing it…and I’m black, so apparently I’m supposed to be angry, but I’m not??? Maybe it’s just me; maybe I’m weird, but it’s one of those things that’s just meh to me or doesn’t make sense or maybe I’m a robot with no feelings. πŸ˜‚ I just never join in because it always seems to get out of hand. 😬

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      4. I only tend to pick things up after someone mentions them to me, then when I look back I think to myself ‘oh yeah, how did I miss this?’
        I said it before, I think to someone else though, but reading is very subjective so it’s probably not that you’re a robot with no feelings. Maybe it’s just not something you pick up on as much as others may. πŸ™‚

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  21. I am part of the group of people who haven’t read Harry Potter yet and I think at most I’ve gotten a surprised reaction from people but that’s it. I’ve never felt like someone was shaming me for not having read the book.

    But I feel like once it comes to people not enjoying a popular book or author and voicing their opinion on it (even when done in the most respectful way) there will be people who come out and attack the writer of the review and almost making it sound like someone doesn’t have the right to feel differently about a book. I don’t know if it’s shaming per se, but it usually leaves a bad impression on me.

    I would hope that book shaming wasn’t an actual thing and I haven’t experienced it personally or seen it happen to people I follow on social media, but I wouldn’t say that it’s definitely not a thing. It might be and that’s sad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s definitely good you haven’t been shamed for not reading it. I think surprise is generally my reaction because before I started blogging everyone I spoke to about books had read Harry Potter, even the people who weren’t big readers, but actually having started blogging I realise there are actually more people who haven’t read it than I first thought.
      That kind of thing leaves a bad impression on me as well, and I don’t really understand it. Everyone has different opinions on books and we can’t all like the same thing. Besides do these people think by attacking the reviewer they’re going to change their mind and admit their opinions were wrong?
      Hopefully if it is a thing it’s not a big thing. I haven’t seen it much either, and I haven’t really been subjected to it myself, but I guess it happens to people every now and again and yeah it is a shame.

      Liked by 1 person

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