Book Nerd Problems #19: Paws Off My Favorites! (Favorite Book Hypersensitivity)

Posted February 19, 2014 by Debby in Uncategorized

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)

It’s confession time again. I don’t mean this to offend anyone, but I suffer from an acute case of Favorite Book Hypersensitivity. What I mean by this is that for some of my favorite books, I really cannot handle seeing negative opinions about them. Now I know that all of us have probably at one point or another suffered on Goodreads from fangirls/boys/trolls who come and yell at you over a negative review of their favorite book, and I’m not defending them. Seriously. You are entirely entitled to your own opinion of every single book you read, and no one should come yell at you about that or tell you that you’re wrong.

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

Cruel Beauty Stormdancer US ScarletUS.indd Meant to Be Adorkable_B1.indd The Perks of Being a Wallflower A Mad, Wicked Folly Shatter Me 2 allouryesterdays Ask Again Later

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. (But I swear, if I hear about Shatter Me‘s purple prose one more time…)


Recent Anecdotes

Recently this has become a hot issue for me, and I’ve been discussing it at length with Christina, because I’ve seen multiple times, predominantly on Twitter, that someone expresses their love for a book, and gets a reply in the trend of, “Really?!? I hated that one. Couldn’t even finish it.” Or that to a really positive 4-5 star review, someone commented with a trite “No.” I’ve also personally gotten comments on TTTs where I was expressing love for a book, where people said “Just no, no, I can’t even with that book.”


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.


I’m all for freedom of opinion and freedom of expression. I still want to discuss books – my favorites and your favorites, whether we agree or disagree. But I’m also for peace of mind and civility. Sometimes I just want to hug my favorites and not let anything or anyone discolor my rose colored glasses. Sometimes I just want to be left in peace with my feels for this book. I don’t want to have my feelings trampled on. Does that make me a bad person? Can you relate at all? Or am I crazy, yet again?

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18 responses to “Book Nerd Problems #19: Paws Off My Favorites! (Favorite Book Hypersensitivity)

  1. I can relate to this A LOT. It’s always disheartening to read negative reviews of my babies *cough* I mean favourite books. And I never realised how much I avoided them until I was looking for new blogs a while ago, checked what they thought of one of my favourites, saw they hated it then closed the page…

    When it’s a person closer to me who doesn’t like the amazing novel, I don’t find it’s as bad? (Though when it’s your first ever rec to them it can make things awkward… My first two or three recs to Alise, who I coblog with at Readers in Wonderland, didn’t end too well…). They often go out of their way to explain to me just what they had issues with, and often I can sort of understand/acknowledge their opinion (and respect it) then go on fangirling in my own little world.

    Not once have I ever had a stranger tell me they hated it on twitter/in a short comment though. And I don’t think I want to. It sounds really rude, to just say ‘I hate that’ with no reasoning when it’s clear the other person holds it dear… Though maybe that’s the scientist/reviewer part of me talking, always demanding examples.

  2. Another great post.

    I have a slightly different issue. I tend to read negative reviews of my fave books and then I develop this weird complex if those reviews have some fair points. Take Crown of Midnight, for example. I LOVED that book. I couldn’t stop reading it and I had strong reactions to it at multiple points. Yet I can also accept its flaws and I wouldn’t deny that they don’t exist. So when I read the negative reviews, for whatever reason I don’t understand, I start feeling like I shouldn’t love the book so much anymore. I start feeling like I have to prefix every opinion I have about the book with ‘I can see its flaws though!!!!’ Which is DUMB, because I read for entertainment and this book entertained the hell out of me!

    I don’t know why I do this. Maybe the answer is to stop reading negative reviews when I love a book, and to just let myself enjoy what I enjoy.

    Following more closely to your point – I would never comment on somebody’s review simply to say WHAT A WEIRD OPINION YOU HAVE. If somebody is a close friend and I am genuinely surprised by their opinion then I might start up a conversation, but I’d like to think it would be respectful.

    What I’m sure I have done in the past is ranted about books I hate, and I try not to do that these days. For example, a friend recommended one of her absolute favourites to me a few months ago. I HATED it. It made me angry and I didn’t even finish…but I made sure to confine my rants to DMs on twitter, because i knew she would be upset to see it.

    I guess I just need to keep that example in mind!

  3. Yes. Yes I absolutely agree with allll of this. I definitely feel the need to “protect” my favorites books. . . not in a way that I say “This book was so great!” to people who disliked it, but more like “Wow, they disliked that poor book. I’m going to go pull it off the shelf and hug it now.” I used to read any review that came across my feed, but now I sort of self-censor reviews for my all-time favorite books. And I don’t have THAT many I’m sensitive about–just a handful or so. But those are the books that really touched me in a profound way because I saw something in them that I related to a lot. For example, This Song Will Save Your Life. As the gatekeeper of my mind, I won’t read a negative review of that book not because I don’t value other people’s opinions but because that book is SO PERSONAL to me that a negative review of that book would feel like a negative review of *me*. And I know it’s not the case, but for the betterment of everyone, I just decide to not even go there.

    And I totally agree with the whole short comments thing! I’ve actually never had it happen to me on the blog or on Goodreads, but it has on twitter, and my response is just. . . “What am I suppose to say to THAT?”. It doesn’t really offend me or hurt me, but it kinda annoys me. And like you said, it depends on the relationship I have with those people. My close blogging friends? I know them well enough to know their intentions. People who started following me and talking to me three days ago? Not the same. I understand wanting to discuss books,but like you said, twitter’s not really the place. A well-thought out blog comment is better. I think this issue is why I started doing the traffic light feature as part of my reviews–so readers could have a sense of what kind of review it’s going to be and avoid it if they want, and I know many reviewers(like you), also have your rating of a book & the top and bottom of the page, which is also really helpful to just give people a head’s up.

  4. Yes this! I’m all for discussions and what not of books, but those comments you pointed out aren’t even discussions since the person is acting like their opinion is fact and I’m a lesser being for not recognizing that /endrant. But really, if I don’t like a book as much as someone else and still want to comment, I will try to find one of the things that they didn’t like and agree with that, since them I’m upholding their opinion. I also like the phrase “this one just didn’t work for me unfortunately” to make it clear that it’s a me thing and not a this book is objectively horrible thing ya know? Or the flip side if I did like some of the things that they did but not enough to save the book for me, I can focus on that! Some of these comments feel like they didn’t even read my review, they just saw the rating and responded to that…. I think it’s important to respond to someone’s post by actually responding to what they have written, not just glance and go off on your own rant *glances at comment length* crap…. But basically, yes, this, let’s try to not hurt each other while still having conversations about books! I feel like these are basic social skills we use in real life and sometimes they get lost on the internet….

  5. I definitely relate to this one! Like you said, for the most part, negative reviews don’t bother me. Obviously, everyone is entitled to their opinion! But there are a few books where I just totally cannot handle it. I go into defensive mama mode, basically, LOL. So I just avoid them, so as not to get depressed and/or angry.

    Also, I just don’t see the point of raining on someone’s parade when they’re basking in their enjoyment of a newly finished book. If it comes up in conversation, I have no problem saying no, I didn’t share your opinion. But I’m not just going to jump all over their celebratory tweet with “Really? I hated it.” That just seems pointless and rather rude. To me, at least.

    But I swear, if I hear about Shatter Me‘s purple prose one more time…)


  6. This, so much this! The other day, someone reviewed one of my childhood favorites, which I TOTALLY REALIZE affects my opinion and makes me hugely biased, and they weren’t blown away. I was expecting blown away, and instead, they said it wasn’t very original and didn’t add much to the genre.

    The 11-year-old in me, clutching her new birthday present, is screaming “NO YOU’RE WRONG!” The 27-year-old is like “BUT THE PROSE! Don’t you see that this has influenced other books just like it in the last 20 years? It’s old! LOVE IT!”

    I didn’t comment because like you said, it’s not very nice to do something like that and it’s not like I’m going to change their mind. Their opinion doesn’t change my love for this book, but it still bums me out that they don’t see what I see when I look at it. Then I have a sad.

  7. I can definitely be extremely biased about the books I LOVE (the ones that I’m head over heels, book pushing status in love with), because I want everyone I’m friends with (whether here in the virtual book blogging world or in real life) to read it and love it as much as I do.

    While I do go out of my way to avoid reading negative things about my favorites, it’s inevitable that I will occasionally have differing opinions with friends. Even though it makes me sad, I do try to treat it objectively and remember that not everyone will feel the same way about a book! Easier said than done at times, though.

  8. I definitely get like this sometimes. There are a few books I will NEVER read reviews for, and I probably won’t even ever mention how much I love them except if it’s on a TTT because I can’t handle talking about it with someone who doesn’t feel the same way. There are books that have really changed my life, so when someone has something negative to say about them, it’s just hard. Like, yes you can have your opinion, but if it’s something really special to me, I don’t want to hear negative opinions. That’d be like listening to someone insult my best friend. Not gonna listen to it.

  9. I totally agree! And for me it goes both ways. If I really loved a book, I’ll avoid reading negative reviews for it. If I really hated a book with a passion, I won’t read positive reviews for it.

    I totally respect the other opinions people have, but sometimes I don’t want to read opposing view points.

  10. Your cross-out sentence about Shatter Me is probably my favorite sentence ever. I was not a fan of the prose in that book, but you know that book has sold tons of copies and garnered many fans, so maybe my opinion is not all that important in the grand scheme of things. And it is not helpful or useful even to say that your opinion is wrong; it is merely different from my own and I’m ok with that.

    I actually like to read negative reviews of books I love because it helps me think more critically about what I read to see the flaws, too. And yeah, it does tend to smudge the rosy picture I’ve built up in my mind about a book. I guess I am ok with that for the most part or else I wouldn’t seek out negative reviews!

  11. I guess I kind of do this two. I wrote two negative reviews last year for some of the years most talked about books and guess what those reviews received the most comments while I can barely get one comment on my positive reviews which I write way more of thankfully.

  12. Oh yes, I can be very sensitive when it comes to my favorite books. When my sister started with ‘You know, the book thief’s writing-style is strange’ I was like NO, STOP. I respect everyone’s opinion and I would never ever say something unkind, but with some books I can’t handle negative opinions. That is also why I refuse to read most negative reviews. I’m always afraid that I will see the points they made and that it will ruin my love for the book. I also feel confused, because how is it possible that they can’t see the amazing things I see when I read it?

    So no, it doesn’t make you a bad person at all! I completely understand how you feel.

  13. I totally get it. When I really love a book I want others to love it too and it makes me sad if they don’t.I don’t notice myself avoiding these reviews thought because I usually like to see what others thought and why.

    And I am actually a little flabbergasted by the tweets and comments you mentioned receiving (or observing). I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by people’s behavior anymore but I just don’t get why anyone would be so blunt/harsh like their opinion is more right than yours.

    I mean it’s ok to disagree. There is such a thing as healthy and polite debate about differing opinions. But people just don’t get it sometimes. Or maybe they don’t care?

    Conversely I also get sad when I am the black sheep. When I see everyone loving on a book/series that I just didn’t care for I feel like I am missing out. I wish I had loved that book more and experienced the same feels. But I digress…

    Great post!