Jul 21, 2011

Posted by in My Life's Quirks | 11 Comments

My Life’s Quirks – It’s Okay to Be a Freak

I’ll start this tale a couple years back.  I was new to reading and I had recently discovered this wonderful little thing called a Book Blog.  There was a handful that I visited often but there were two that I followed religiously.  I found that the writers of these blog rated certain books exactly like I did.  I took that to meaning that we had the exact same taste in books.  So whenever they would recommend a book, I would buy it.  Automatically.  In fact, I would often buy the entire series in one go strictly because these ladies had read them and loved them.  Imagine my surprise when suddenly, one of the books that both of these lovely blogs rated as super duper awesome left me feeling meh.  MEH!

I was so confused!  It was like my reading life just didn’t make sense anymore!  I mean, I trusted these ladies!  They were NEVER wrong!

Distraught but not beaten, I read something else they both loved and loved it too.  My faith restored, I tried another…only to be left meh again.  WTF was going on?!  That second book, not only did these two blogs love it, but everyone on Goodreads rated it high and all the other blogs that I read loved it too!  That could only mean one thing – something was wrong with me.  I was the problem.  Me!

So what did I do?  I deleted the book from my Goodreads list to no one knew I didn’t like it.  Was that the chicken-shit way out?  Hell yeah!  Did I care at the time?  Not at all.  At that point, it was all about saving face.

While thinking about my failure as a reader, something struck me.  I thought about the two books that didn’t wow me and realized that they were both of the same romance sub-genre – a sub-genre that was new to me.  That got me thinking.  Maybe it wasn’t the bloggers…or even the books…or even me.  Maybe, just maybe, it was the genre.  *queue light bulb* ding!

You can’t tell me that that hasn’t happened to you before.  In fact, this is usually how it goes:

  • You read a blog and see a book rated 5 out of 5.  You are suddenly very interested in this book without even having read the review yet.  The rating sucks you in.  Your read the review.  Hmm…  You’re not too sure about the book after reading the review but it got 5 stars so you’ll mark it as ‘to read’ anyways.
  • You see this same book on another blog.  In fact, on the same day, you see it on 6 other blogs.  And all of them rated this book A+ or 5.  All of them!  You read the reviews.  You are still not sure it’s a story line you would enjoy, but you move it up your list anyways because most of your bloggy friends love it.
  • Over the next few days, you see this book on every single blog you visit.  Each one rates the book as perfection.  You don’t even need to read the reviews.  You now forget why you thought this book wasn’t really for you to begin with.  You are officially sold.  You go to your online bookstore and buy the book right then and there.
  • The book arrives.  You are SO excited to read it!  You put aside what you are currently reading and dive right in.
  • At the 20% mark, you hope this book just starts off slow.
  • At the 50% mark, you really want to put the book down but can’t since you have somehow convinced yourself that you must be missing something and you must find out what it is.
  • At the 80% mark, you are officially concerned.
  • At the close of the book, you feel meh.  Then you break out in sweats because you think there must be something wrong with you.  You panic.  You go to Goodreads and delete the book from your feed and hope no one recalls the huge fuss you made in your status updates before you started reading this book.

Sound familiar?  I think we’ve all been there.  I have been there many times.  More and more lately.  (Not the delete from GR part though…really, I’ve never done that… *looks at the ceiling*)  You automatically think it’s you, but it’s not.  But really, IT IS NOT YOU!  (I feel that deserves all caps and underlining)  Most of the time, it’s the genre.  I think why it’s occurring more and more to me is because I am letting myself get sucked into my friends reading preferences and getting caught up in the buzz.  And, I am only now really coming to terms with what it is I love to read – I am coming to terms with my ‘book-style’ if you will.

It’s hard to accept that you may not like books or genres that everyone else seems to like.  But I think, after some hard thinking, that I am completely mostly pretty ready to exclaim:  “Hi.  My name is Julie and I don’t enjoy reading Dystopian books.  I also have trouble getting into Sci-Fi books and Steampunk and I are still undecided.  Furthermore, regency historical stories and I aren’t quite friends either.  Oh, and books with highlanders in them.  I have issues with the dialogue.  The accent confuses me.  That’s all I can think of.”

Does all this make me a freak?  To some of you, I’m sure it does.  But you know what?  It’s okay.  Really.  It’s okay to be a freak.  Because at least that means that I am comfortable with what I enjoy reading and I know I won’t be wasting precious time reading a book that I am almost 100% I will not enjoy just because my friends think it’s the best book ever.

Does that mean I think the books that fall into these genres are terrible books?  Absolutely not.  The authors are amazing and the worlds are incredible.  I just can’t get into these books and they almost always leave me feeling meh thus resulting in a poor rating.  Okay, sometimes it is the book, but most of the time, it’s me and my preferences.  And I feel that my rating these books with a 2 stars rating is a little misleading to some, because most who read it will like it.  Also, with giant tbr piles that we book addicts accumulate, it just makes more sense to stick with books we know we’ll at least connect with on some level.

So all this to say that it’s okay not to love everything you read.  It’s okay not to love every sub-genre of book out there.  And it’s okay to be the only person on the planet to not enjoy a specific title.  I repeat:  It’s okay.  Even though technically it may be you, you are not to blame.  And neither is the author.  It’s our ability to think as individuals and to each have our own tastes and preferences.  That is where the problem lies.  😉

It’s okay being a freak.  Alternatively thought as ‘coming to terms with my book style’.  Just another one of my life’s quirks.

  1. Lol, I like highlanders books but sometimes (ok most of the time) the accent just annoys me. So hard to understand for poor little Finnish me.

    You deleted it? Now that is funny. I am glad you started a bookblog cos yes like you I have noticed thins too. PNR and me, we are friendly just not friends. Most often they are ok and I like them but they do not rock my boat

  2. “The accent confuses me.”
    ROFLMAO…OMG, Julie, I just love your sense of humor. I was truly laughing out loud with this post. Thank you…too many times, I wonder what the heck is wrong with me when I don’t like a book that everyone else is raving about all over the place. ;o)

    And can I just say, I LOVE that hairstyle in your pic up there….so cute! smiles…

  3. That has happened a few times to me. I read a book everyone raves about and I’m like, “WTH? Am I reading the same book?”
    I don’t delete it though-I don’t know how-and really I don’t care if anyone knows. They only thing I hate is if I do give my low stars and my review, I get the author’s fans who suddenly feel the need to tell me I’m an idiot because I didn’t like it. *sigh*

  4. Hm-m-m maybe it’s a good thing I don’t do much with GR. I would be deleting all over the place. Thanks for this post!!

  5. Rain maiden Jen says:

    I use to have a reading buddy and we started off reading paranormal romance. I got board and started picking up Urban Fantasy reads. To make a long story short, I no long have a reading buddy. She looked at me like I grew two heads when I tried to explain that I was getting board. I learned, I needed to mix up what I’m reading and not just stick with the same ol. Great post!

  6. LOL. I’m a freak as well! I don’t normally have a problem with a particular genre (at least not right now) but someitmes certain books or characters just don’t stand out to me. So I completely understand. I’m still amazed that you don’t like historical romances, but I understand to some people they are boring and they just don’t work. I try to keep my mind open but it’s hard to not run out and buy a book that everyone has been raving about…especially when everyones suggestions have all been very good ones so far.

    On a side note, is it ever hard for you to give a book a low rating knowing that the author is going to read it?? You didn’t want to even show your ratings on GR’s so how do you rate books low when an author comes to you and asks you to review a book?

  7. We share the same freakish taste. I don’t like dystopian, science fiction, steampunk or historicals and I am not so keen on Highlander’s either.
    I would prefer people be honest if they didn’t like a book – even if it’s because the genre doesn’t really work for them (though I think they should include that in their review). I am discovering some book bloggers seem to get caught up in the hype or are concerned that saying they didn’t like it will damage their chances with a publisher (for ARC’s), or are worried about hurting an author’s feelings. It is as valid to give a book 2 stars as it is to give it 5 stars – after all it is individual opinion, and as a reader I appreciate the honesty – and it might stop me from taking a chance on a book that I end up really not liking.
    Oops didn’t mean to get preachy there 🙂

    Shelleyrae

  8. blodeuedd – I actually only deleted once and it was quite a while ago. It was a book from one of the most loved PNR series that I just couldn’t get into. I read 5.5 books from it and just couldn’t continue. I don’t think the book deserved a dnf rating. lol

    Christi – The accent really does confuse me! And the hair…I love it too. I’m actually growing my hair out a bit on the top so I can get that cut again. 🙂

    tori – Gotta love passionate fans. lol I don’t delete anymore. Now that I blog, I think it would be misleading. I just make sure to state in my review that it’s not usually my kind of book but that I felt compelled to give it a try…and failed. lol

    Dot – LOL

    Rain Maiden Jen – Oh no! I can see how having a reading buddy would be tough. Especially since we all seem to go through reading phases or outgrow certain genres after a while. Nice idea though. 🙂

    Deanna – I really don’t like giving low ratings to any book. But I review as I feel. If I faked it, people would lose faith in me. It really is tough when you know the author will see it. I feel so bad that I didn’t like their book as much as I would have liked because I know they poured their heart and soul into it.

    Shelleyrae – Preach away! lol And I totally agree. My GR escapades occurred before I started blogging. You read some ‘regular’ fiction too which I’m still nervous to try. I don’t mind some emotion in my books, but find that many books found on the ‘regular’ fiction shelf are too sad! LOL I know they aren’t all like that, but that section still gives me the sweats. You are brave in my book. 😉

  9. MichelleKCanada says:

    That has happened to me before so lets freak together.

    I just can’t get into “Inspirational” reads. They don’t leave me inspirational at all.
    I can only take so much of Paranormal before I need to move on. I have some very dedicated awesome series I have read but I can’t be 100% dedicated to just that genre as some of my friends are.
    I am totally with you on the Sci-Fi. I get annoyed when someone is from the planet Xzzephiatboia and their name is Qitoc. I want to be able to pronounce it.
    As for Highlanders, I do love them but just because an author plops a man in a kilt and adds in a “lass” every now and then, it doesn’t make it Scottish to me.

    I keep my Goodreads just as it is cause that’s my opinion. I scratch my head every now and then and wonder if I’m the freak but I get your awesome post. I really do.
    Excellent as usual!
    MichelleKCanada

  10. LOL, I see the sub-genres that I don’t like as an opportunity to limit my TBR pile, not as something to be ashamed of. The darned TBR is so huge these days, that I actually am happy when I read the synopsis of the newest greatest book and realize that it falls into one of my “hands-off” categories.

    For example, in historicals, I won’t read pirates, shipboard romances of any kind, highwaymen, spies and highlanders. Needless to say, this cuts down the pile quite a bit. In UF/PNR, my untouchable categories are zombies, angels (especially of the fallen variety), and dystopian based novels, and in YA, pretty much the only type of story I WILL read is something that is Fae based. Try this approach – you’ll be feeling better in no time.

  11. You crack me up! You really do!
    I totally understand what your saying but I guess it’s never bothered me why I might like a book more than other people. However, I’m quite picking about what I read and who’s reviews I trust but I think you know this already!
    Great post though Julie! 🙂

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