I struggle a lot with having my own dissenting opinions on things. This ideal has become especially prevalent in my reading, where I’ve begun solely reading books that have over a 4 star rating on Goodreads. While that high rating is certainly a good thing, it leaves a lot of room for having an unpopular opinion. With the average rating so high, any dislike for the book appears much more dissenting.
But what’s the problem with that, you ask? It always feels like I’m on the outside looking in, and I want to feel that same joy and excitement of finding my newest favorite read in ever single book I read (which is quite impossible). I can never settle with the opinion I have, and I let the thoughts of others shift my own opinions of my reading.
I used to take joy on being on the outside, and I took pride in being what I called a “critical reader,” when in reality, it was just unfairly rating books. I wanted to be known for that, and I wanted it to be my branding. I emphasized small negatives of a book over the large positives, and never gave a book a five star rating. I had the mentality that no book was “perfect,” which a five star rating implied. I thought that a four star rating should be the cap to whatever I read, with the occasional 4.25 or 4.5 slipping through (which I hate now, because it makes it IMPOSSIBLE to find books that were real four-stars vs. books I thought were genuinely amazing).
But now, that same pride in being a “critical reader” has morphed itself into inflated reviews and false happiness in everything. While I’ll only increase my rating by a star at most, it’s still the premise that haunts me. I’m always scared to dislike things that others hold so dearly to their hearts, because I want to experience that magic too! I want to cry, laugh, and swoon over characters, artwork, and reveals. I want to be in that enthusiastic fan-base so bad that I force myself into it.
For that reason, whenever I read a book, I always remember to double-check the reviews of others before publishing my own. I’ll read through the reviews of my friends, and read about their absolute love for the book. I’ll see new things they enjoyed and incorporate that into my review, even though it isn’t entirely true. Even when I talk about the book afterwards, I’ll compliment everything about it highly. I’ll talk about how excited I am for the next book in the series or the next author’s release, that I actually convince myself I am. I talk myself into this love so much that it becomes real.
But is it real? I create false memories that overcome the ones I had before and my original indifference becomes a faint memory of the past. What was real now seems like a false memory and what was a false memory now seems real.
This idea has especially been relevant with the release of Serpent and Dove last year. I had just come to read it, and though it was a 3 star read at max. Nothing excited me about the book, but the more important part was that it excited other people. It was the breakout book of the year, and with the new merchandise, and cosplays, and hype for the series, I couldn’t help myself. I ended up going to the bookstore to purchase Blood and Honey the day it came out because of how much I talked myself into it.
But, I wouldn’t make this a blog post if I wasn’t trying to make a change. It’s taken me a while to grasp, but I’ve learned that it’s okay to have a different opinion. It’s unrealistic to like everything, and conforming can be toxic.
And while many of you might not be able to relate, I hope that you enjoyed this post! It’s a little more thoughtful than my normal ones just to switch things up. I promise I’ll be back with more fun stuff haha!!
Happy reading 🙂