This is a periodic discussion feature here at Snuggly Oranges about the many problems one can run into as a book nerd.
#19. Paws Off My Favorites! (Favorite Book Hypersensitivity)
I just tend to avoid negative reviews of my favorite books. I don’t think any less of the reviewer – certainly not. Like I said, everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, and not every book works for every reader. But (a) seeing negative thoughts about a book I love can be upsetting, and (b) if I really love the book, I don’t want anyone to be able to ruin the experience I had with it. Maybe I didn’t notice something that’s then pointed out in a negative review. And then the book won’t sit right with me. It’s my fave, guys, and I don’t want anything or anyone to ruin it.
Now I get that this may be counter-intuitive, because I’m a reviewer and (somewhat) an arbiter of good taste (right? *cough*). When I do find a favorite, I will yell for people to read it, but if they don’t like it… I’ll feel bad for one, but more often than not I’ll avoid reading their thoughts about it (for my own peace of mind, no offense ever intended).
Some of my pedestal-seated books
Most of the time, I don’t even really realize it when it happens. It’s a subconscious reaction to avoid negative thoughts at all costs. Usually this is for the books that just hit me extremely hard in the feels. The books then become so precious to me that I can’t let anyone affect that, even if I know that objectively the book may not have been that flawless at all.
To me, at least, such comments are hurtful. The problem lies in the brevity, and that’s why discussing books like that on Twitter is deadly. Tone is already lost on the internet, and we definitely do not benefit from the 140 character limit on Twitter (even less when you’re replying to someone). With a brief derision or “writing off” of a book in a comment like this, it essentially looks like you’re (a) spitting on the person’s feelings, or (b) laughing at their taste in books — even if that’s not what you intended at all.
(Let me make a note that the permissibility of such comments also depends on how close you are to that person. With some of my blogging bffs, I can handle any opinion they throw at me, pretty much. But when a complete stranger says something like that? Ouch.)
Maybe I am a little sensitive and on edge, but at the same time, I do feel like we can do better. I’m not saying that we can’t discuss these books, but you can frame your argument differently. You can disagree with someone about a book and still be civil and understanding of their feelings. Don’t try to do that on Twitter though – with the word limit, you could be misunderstood. But on a review, in the comments, you can raise issues you had with the book while simultaneously showing agreement with or understanding for some of the other elements mentioned in the review. That way, it doesn’t come across as being that harsh, cold, and derisive.