Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Where'd All My Negative Reviews Go?

This might be an unpopular opinion (or maybe not??) but I loooove writing negative reviews. I love snarking and ranting about those really awful books. Those books where you’re all like, “no book, it’s definitely you, not me” and you have no trouble at all filling up a word document with your thoughts and emotions (mostly anger, let’s be real). But when I was looking at my reading stats for 2016, I realized that I’ve had no 1 or 2 star reviews. They’ve all been mostly positive and higher than 3 stars. And I’ve enjoyed all but a few of the books I’ve read (and finished) so far this year. Normally I’d be like HELL YEAH WHAT A GREAT READING YEAR LET’S KEEP IT GOING. But lately, I’ve not only been worried about how this is turning my blog into a space of ONLY positive reviews, but that I’ve stopped having the patience to get through a terrible book. I wouldn’t mind that so much, except… I really love writing negative reviews, and I miss my epic rants. (Okay maybe not epic, but I think I’ve had some pretty spectacular reviewrants over the years :p). And there are a few reasons why I haven’t done one lately on the blog:

1). Being an avid reader who has devoured hundreds of books in the last few years has given me a good indication of my tastes. I know what I like, I know what I don’t like. I know what I have problems with, what tropes I can’t stand. What character stereotypes I’m sick of. Of course, this does all depend on the author and how they twist them or make them their own. But generally, I have a pretty good idea of when a book is going to work for me or not. Sometimes… sometimes, I’m wrong. It happens. It leads to those past negative reviews and the recent DNF work I’ve done. But mostly, I’ve been able to at least enjoy almost every single book I’ve FINISHED this year. So many of them have even been 4.5 stars or higher! And even with the 3 stars, I’ve not regretted reading those books. I liked them, and that’s okay if I didn’t love them more. But because of this, I’ve had no cause to write negative reviews. I still TALK about the things I don’t like in the books, of course, but the reviews have been largely positive. And since I’ve voiced in the past that I like blogs more if they post negative reviews too, this makes me nervous about how people see mine. I haven’t been doing it intentionally, but it’s still happening.

2). My patience for those awful, terrible books has thinned, and I’ve ended up DNFing those that would receive 1 or 2 stars. I used to be a lot more ruthless in setting aside books I wasn’t enjoying. Before blogging, I’d stop reading books even when I was *so close* to the end. It didn’t matter to me whether I finished them or not. But with blogging came the kind of, expectation, that I should review EVERYTHING. I definitely don’t feel that way anymore, considering I just sent in a DNF “review” to a publisher who gave me the book, hoping I’d be able to promote it. But I don’t promise reviews, and I don’t guilt myself anymore into finishing books I don’t like. So this has led me to saying “fuck it” and dropping the book when I’ve stopped. There are so many times where I stopped reading a book these last few months and never went back to it. There are so many where I’m trying to decide on whether or not I care to finish them. Most are probably going to end up DNFs, tbh. There IS one I would like to finish though, because it’s definitely going to be a largely negative review. And oh god, I cannot wait to rant about it. But I don’t think the rest of them would really be worth finishing.

3). I really do want to stop wasting my time on books I’m not enjoying. This is almost like #2, but a little bit different in that it’s not my patience that’s making me DNF, but the ginormous TBR and the pressure that I’m racing against the clock and that I’ll never get to all of the books I want to read in a lifetime. I just keep looking at the shelves and stacks in my room and thinking: how oh how am I ever going to read all of these?!  It’s a little anxiety-inducing, I’m not going to lie. And this isn’t even getting into my Kindle books (which omg increases this anxiety because there’s no way in hell all of these books are ever going to get read). Then you’ve got the ARCs, the newly released books, and the yet-to-be released books as well. There are SO MANY and I cannot keep up with them all! I don’t mind having a large TBR, because I’m such a mood reader, and I like having tons of choices. But I’m also not going to sit here and say that I don’t feel the pressure to READ ALL THE BOOKS ALL THE TIME. And sometimes that pressure makes me want to hide under the covers and keep binge-watching on Netflix (which then just wastes MORE time, but well). But I also really love just not reading or taking my time with the good books. :D

I do think this is mostly a good problem to have, that I’ve been largely enjoying what I’ve been reading. On the one hand, I’m not wasting my time on those terrible books; I haven’t felt stressed or annoyed at the thought of writing reviews after I finish them (which definitely also stems from my whole ‘don’t review it if you don’t want to’ philosophy I’ve put into practice in the last year or so). But sometimes I wonder if I SHOULD be pushing through those books, so I can stop posting all positive reviews. I know people have said before (myself included) that they didn’t, like, trust bloggers who only reviewed positively/seemed to LOVE all the books they read. [[But if you do love them all, *high five* because that is awesome!!! I don't know if trust is the word I want there because I mean that I just thought it was weird if people seemed to enjoy every book they read. But since I HAVE been, it's not so clear-cut! And I definitely think everyone should review/rate how they want]]. I also sometimes do miss writing those negative reviews. I mean, the last really good rant I had was back in September (‘15) when I discussed Fangirl with Amburr. THIS IS NOT OK. Honestly, I’m not feeling too bad about the fact that I’ve been posting all positive reviews (other than the occasional mini DNF review, but I don’t star those anyway). I have been LOVING so many of the books I’ve read, and I’d take those over one that makes me want to throw it against the wall any day.

*****

Okay #1: What are your thoughts on writing negative reviews? Would you rather just DNF or push through and rant? Or would you rather just enjoy the books you're reading, even if it means you're posting mostly positive reviews? 

#2: Do you think bloggers should post a wide variety of reviews (meaning 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 star ones)? Or does it not matter/people should be able to review how they want? Do you look at bloggers differently who only seem to post positive reviews? I'd love to know your thoughts on this specifically! :)