The Etiquette To Discussing Books With Conflicting Opinions

Hey loves! It’s been a while since we had a discussion post. I think for the moment, I’ve figured out how I’m planning on scheduling my content, without it crushing me haha. Anyway today I thought we’d chat about discussing books. As readers we love book discussions, chatting with someone who loves that book just as much as us, there’s no other feeling quite like it. But you know, not EVERY bookworm will love the same books as you. And that’s alright. Yet within the community, there are those who feel like it’s not allowed for people to dislike/hate a book. 

There’s an art, to discussing books with those who may not share our opinions, firstly respect. It goes both ways, but also remember that you won’t have loved every book you’ve read. Now, let’s get into this chat and a reminder; I don’t mind if you don’t love the same books as me. Just be respectful when dissing my beloved characters hell if you can make me laugh like Cait @ Paper Fury did with Celery Sardine, I’ll probably love you forever.

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So I don’t why – but for some reason some of us readers seriously struggle to chat about books with people who have a difference of opinion to us. I for one, love a lot of popular series, yes they’re widely popular, NO you don’t have to love or even like the series. As long as you have solid reasoning for why and it’s ABOUT the book not the author then hit me with it, and we can discuss it. I love finding new bloggers who didn’t enjoy say Throne of Glass for instance or The Dark Materials. I’m not going to go and bite their heads off, for simply having a difference of opinion, they’re ALLOWED that opinion.

I’m simply going to use Throne of Glass as my example here because I know two book bloggers at least who didn’t like the series, it’s ok if you’re reading this and also hated it. I don’t bite, you can let me know in the comments some books/series you hate too and why. Now I get it, when you love a series and the characters are dear to your heart, you want to protect them. Even if it’s from a fellow reader who announces how much they despised the series. Whilst it hurts me a bit, I’m fine, I find it refreshing that they didn’t enjoy it. I like to know why, what made them not enjoy it? As readers, we all have our own individual likes and dislikes when it comes to books.

I don’t mind reading a book with a love triangle in, others find it annoying and some can’t even finish the book because of it. Yeah, that’s a thing, and we all get along fairly civilly over that. If you just shut out those readers who have a difference of opinion to you, you’re not going to grow and change as a person. You’ll stay the same, with those same views and opinions, whilst others grow, adapt, change with the books they read.

Every book, in my opinion, can teach us something. Those we didn’t finish, those we disliked and would considering burning, those we liked, loved and those we will worship and shriek about on the net. All of them have a place in this world, they all having a story to tell, and not everyone will enjoy that story. You know what though – that’s totally ok!

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I loved Throne of Glass, I prefer it to ACOTAR but I still enjoy the ACOTAR series. I prefer The Infernal Devices to The Mortal Instruments but if you prefer TMI to TID then cool, why? What is it about TID that you couldn’t get along with? (although please be careful when insulting TID haha, I’m a fragile child and will fall apart if you insult the characters too much hehe)

I know loads of people love John Green’s books, me? Not so much, The Fault in Our Stars is ok, it made me cry which isn’t hard to do. Looking for Alaska is also alright, I prefer that to TFIOS. But Paper Towns ruined everything, I could quite gladly punch the characters in that book. They were stupid, the main character was an idiot and spent most of his time moping about but whilst I really didn’t like it. I get why others do like it.

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However, when I dislike, hate or DNF a book it’s never been down to the author. I separate the author from the book, they’re human and we all do and say questionable things at times. Sometimes the things we do or say can’t be forgiven, but does that mean if they’re an author we should just hate on their books? By all means borrow them from the library instead of buying them, but by the angel (*coughs* Shadowhunters reference there) try to remember that not everyone know or even cares if the author has done a terrible thing/s. Some authors may not be nice to everyone, some may be lovely, that’s great.

Can we remind ourselves please, that first and foremost we’re reading a book. We’re discussing and judging the book, based on it’s plot line, characters, cover, whether we wanted to throw it into a fire or wrap it in bubble wrap. We’re not judging, discussing (or reviewing even) the book based on the authors choices in his/her/their life. (is their correct for those who use they pronouns? let me know please!)

Equally Own Voices novels, did I have a clue what they were before I found BookTube? No chance in hell, but basically its when the author themselves are part of the minority/group they’ve written about. So they have experience and know what it’s like for a slice of their group/minority. Can we just take a moment, and remind ourselves Own Voices books, are great and also we should took EVERYTHING that has representation of different groups with a pinch of salt. There’s going to problematic rep, bad stereotyping as well as the fact that the book is representing a small portion of the group/minority.

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You know what I realised I used to do without even meaning to, when I read? I imagined 99% of the characters as white. Not because I didn’t recognise there are other colours, ethnic backgrounds etc but because I’m white. Imagining them like me makes it easier to imagine myself as them, living in their world. It’s only as I’ve grown older and been hit in the face, with diverse books, that I began to learn about different cultures. How it’s like for people of different colour, sexual persuasion and it breaks my heart at times. That’s the great thing though, about reading. It opens your eyes and shows you, what’s been in front of you all along, you just chose not to see it.

As readers we all enjoy reading, that escapism, connecting with FICTIONAL characters (look we all know no fictional boyfriend is gonna become real, lets face it) and if you seriously can’t discuss a book – with another person – who has a different opinion to you.

Just don’t say anything, don’t tweet them, leave a comment, message them. Move on. They don’t need you starting something over something so petty as a difference of opinion. If you have something worthwhile to add, or are interested as to what they saw in a book, that you hated and vice versa, then pop up to them. We just want to know that we can talk about books, without having people yell at us for not liking a book.

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As people, we don’t see the things in front of us, the same as the person next to us. Equally no two readers, are going to picture exactly the same thing in their head, when they read; they’ll be differences. They also won’t all, get the same message from the book, or one may pick up on something someone else missed. Instead of being defensive – about your beloved books that you love so much; open your eyes, get ready to read. As you interact with other bookworms, who can help enrich your knowledge, allow you develop your own views, thoughts and opinions.

With that all done and said, you should get the idea, that I literally have no problems with chatting about books to people. As long as you respect my opinions, and I respect yours, we’ll be fine. So simple guys.

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Ok folks, let me know in the comments a series that everyone seems to love that you just don’t. Explain why, and then a series you love that everyone else seems to dislike. Feel free to reply to one another’s comments, but please guys, remember try to warn of spoilers and also be respectful. It’s books!

And lastly, what are your thoughts on this? Have you ever had someone be really rude or off with you simply for expressing your opinion? I haven’t had that yet, despite me being fairly opinionated xD

love clo

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37 thoughts on “The Etiquette To Discussing Books With Conflicting Opinions

  1. I love this post… It’s taken me sometime to get to the point where I can objectively read a negative review of a book that I love… but now I’m ok with them… Some bloggers can even make me laugh a lot with their funny negative reviews…
    I’m a huge ToG and TID fan too… i love those characters so much and it’s hard sometimes to read unflattering things about them 😔😔😔
    The whole diversity and own voices movement changed my reading choices once I started blogging.. it definitely opened up my mind to more possibilities and the discussions in this community have definitely helped me read and analyze books a little more thoughtfully.
    I’m from India and have grown up among mostly dark skinned people but, because I also grew up reading mostly western authors, I imagined most of the characters as white too.. it’s only recently that I’ve started to keep a character’s color, race and marginalization in mind while trying to properly understand the story… I don’t think I would have been able to do this without the help of wonderful bloggers like you throughout this community…
    Thank you so much for writing this 👍👍

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this! Not a lot of time to comment because lunch just ended, but it is so important to be able to have healthy productive conversations about opposing views in all aspects of life. Some of my favorite book discussions are over books with friends who felt differently than I. Again, fab post 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah thank youuuu, I totally agree, having healthy conversations about different view points can really make you grow as a person and it further shapes you into the person you turn into 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I totally agree with you ! There’s a line between the novel(s) and the author itself; their work is not a representation of their actions. If an author is an asshole, you have no point in giving said book 1 star just because of that without even reading it, it doesn’t really make sense…

    In fact, ive been doing the same.. well, more with my olive skin color, that is xD

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aaah yeah, like the book is it’s own story, the author/s just wrote it but it’s so important to be able to separate them if you’re like super active online and know/hear a lot of things that go down.

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who does that hehe xD

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I can’t pick out a specific series that I dislike that other people loved (maybe 50 Shades) but I am not a huge fan of YA which I think puts me at odds with a lot of book bloggers. I DO read YA, and some of my favorite books fall into that category, it just seems like there are a lot of books trying to be the next Harry Potter series.

    I really don’t mind if people hate my favorite books, I just feel sad that I can’t share my reading joy with that person! Thankfully there are enough books out there that I think I can always find some common ground with a fellow reader 🙂

    No one has ever been rude to me about my choice of books, but I have had non-readers rather rudely suggest that I should ‘get out more’ and ‘have a bit of fun’ rather than reading all the time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aaaah I never really cared what genre I was reading, I still don’t to be honest, if the book captures my interest I’m down for it. I’ve actually never read Harry Potter, I also have no interest in reading it though haha

      Like

  5. Great discussion Clo! I’m one of those readers who just doesn’t get the appeal of SJM’s writing, even though I know both of her series are wildly popular. I can’t think of any series I love that’s generally disliked, although I do tend to love the most unlikable characters in a given book, so I still understand that feeling of being the odd one out…or even getting personally attacked for my faves! I think the simplest and best way to keep chats like these friendly is always trying to approach a conversation as another opportunity to learn 🙂 Maybe you’ll find out a new way of interpreting a book/series/character, or by talking to someone with a different view get to better develop your own thoughts. Not everything is a competition, least of all our lists of likes and dislikes!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Totally agree with you! Ah I love SJM’s writing, although I much prefer ToG to ACOTAR .I got my mum to read ToG and she loves it too. Haha, aaaah the unlikable characters often are the ones that find a home within our hearts just for being so complicated and dark 🙂

      Like

  6. What an amazing post Chloe 🙂 I am not a fan of series, so I can’t remember any series now but I would talk about two stand-alone books. One is the Hazel Wood. Many bloggers with similar taste as mine seemed to love that book but I couldn’t love it. It was hard for me to get into it. Though I completed it, it is the most disappointing debut of 2018 for me. But yeah, if someone loves dark fantasy then they might enjoy it. And I can’t blame them for it.

    Another example is When Dimple Met Rishi. While I enjoyed this book, many Indian readers hated it simply because it was all cliche and included things from Bollywood movies which we Indians are quite used to see. However, most of the foreign audience liked it. However, I didn’t have any problem with those cliches so I ended up enjoying them.

    So yeah, it totally depends upon readers and you are no one to tell them that they should love/hate a particular book simply because you loved/hated it.

    P.S. I haven’t read any SJM books till date 😛 But I hope to read soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You have such great discussions, girl ❤ I can barely manage to share them all because you've always got a new one 😀 you rock.

    I agree about the imagining as white part. It's even harder for me cause everyone in my country is literally white. And we're not very well off economically that we'd have any immigrants (in short: nobody wants to come here). I've literally known ONE black person in my life, and I think that was online. It's hard for me to imagine people more diverse because I have literally not even seen them, aside from in movies xD

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah thank you! I do my best to rock haha

      I’m glad it’s not just me who struggles with that, I guess the difference for me is in the UK we have a lot of coloured people and people from different ethnic backgrounds 🙂

      Like

  8. Oh my god I love your take on this topic! 8 fir one am very sensitive so I usually cannot digest the fact that something I love can be hated, not liked I understand. Nevertheless I refrain from posting biting comments about the same until and unless somebody crosses the line.

    And if a friend dislikes a book I love I usually just overlooking and we never discuss it again. A mere book cannot break friendships. Love this post 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah thank you! Yeah once I was a wee bit sensitive it’s more over The Infernal Devices I become a sensitive dragon and will set you alight if you hurt my loves. But I also know that the series and characters aren’t perfect, they have their flaws and not everyone loves it like I do.

      So glad you loved it girl! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  9. […] Reviews are again, a way for us to share our thoughts and opinions and can be a bit of a tricky minefield. When you have to be aware that you do have an influence over your readers, particularly if they trust your opinion on books, what you think of a book will matter to them. But something I have always believed in doing, is stating in reviews with less than 3 stars and DNF reviews, that just because I didn’t like the book. Doesn’t mean the person reading my review won’t. We won’t all love the same books, it’d be awfully annoying if we did, we’d all fangirl over the same books and there’d be no one to tap us on the shoulder and say to us that the book we loved sucks a bit. There’s a right and wrong way to discuss books; I cover that in another post all about etiquette on discussing books. […]

    Like

    • Ah yeah I’ve always done it I guess, like I just don’t connect them if I love their books but not them then that’s cool. I don’t have to like them, yeah I may be supporting them by buying their books but that’s my choice and if I love the book/series enough to me it’s worth it. Because my books are my haven x

      Like

  10. Okay so, I’m a little bit afraid of saying this, but I couldn’t get into the TMI series, I really tried but then I watched the movie and it just didn’t resonate with me. I do have all books and I definitely will try again later, but there are so many books I want to read and I’m just scared that Ill put too much time into it. Also! I’ve never met anyone who didn’t like John Green’s books! Me too girl, me too.

    I can’t say anything else, I wholeheartedly agree with this post. And you’ve written it down very clearly 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      • I just couldn’t get into them and I’m not sure why. I also haven’t seen The Fault in our Stars even though I really wanted to? Because the synopsis sounded really awesome, but John Green. 😦

        Like

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