Disliking Important Books | Discussion

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What do you do when you read a book that covers an important topic, but you didn’t actually like the book?

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Comments

fghijoy says:

Love this video. This is something that I think is important to remember, and although I feel guilty giving ratings sometimes because of this, ultimately I will give a book a rating based on many factors, and not just the topic. Writing a book poorly about an important topic really doesn't give a voice or justice to those who it is representing or providing a voice for, and may actually be a greater disservice to them because the writing quality can detract from the point and experiences presented in the book.

Magalys Oro says:

Me with The Color Purple. I thought it was going to be a life changing book but I was like "meh" all throughout even though it touched important issues.

CezL says:

I've found myself in this position quite a few times over the last year as I've strived to read more diversely and about important political topics. Is there really a single book that pleases everyone on the planet? No. So, honestly, even if there's a book covering a single topic that doesn't speak to you, there'll probably be a handful on the same topic that do. It puts way too much pressure on readers to demand that they enjoy all 'important' books. People should just be true to themselves and find something new.

Jen Greenlees - reader44ever says:

Your rating dilemma is why I love the Goodreads rating system. There, a one-star rating does not necessarily mean "poor," as it does on so many library sites. On Goodreads, giving a one-star rating can just mean "I did not like this book."

And was/is The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini considered an Important Book? I really did not like this book. I skim-read much of it as it was so painfully boring to me to read. (It was also one of, if not THE, last books I read with my then-book club.) I blame my dislike on the fact that I mostly read Urban Fantasy books and The Kite Runner was not in my wheelhouse, so to speak. But I gave this book a one-star rating (and said in my review that my low rating was in no way a fault of the author or story, I just really "did not like it" as it was not for me). 😔

Interestingly, thanks especially to Book Riot's Read Harder Challenge, I do sometimes read books that are outside of my interest areas, and some of those books are books I LOVED and rated very highly. So I feel no guilt over my giving just one star to The Kite Runner. In a way, my dislike COULD be blamed on the author: he failed to capture me and keep me engrossed. (But then again, someone else might have been captivated and engrossed, so truly, the one-star "I did not like it" rating is right for/from me.)

1book1review says:

I think giving books that are not well written a higher rating only because of the important topic is more damaging than helping. I mean, we want people to read more books about these topics, but how will we achieve it, if they aren't good books. I think readiing a bad book about LGBTQ+ topics or by own voices will discourage people to pick up another one of that kind, whereas a really good one might get them to look for another. We tend to forget that it's not people like you and me who need to be encouraged to read more diversely but the people who buy bestsellers and staff picks and something that was on offer at the checkout: people who don't do their research but just look for enteertainment. As long as we can't reach them I don't think we'll really make a difference.

Heather Dowell says:

Just subscribed. This was grea. I do agree hat it's harder to give these books lower ratings.

AisforAshleigh says:

If a book is well-written, but not my jam, I rate it 3 stars and generally review it as "this was well written but I wasn't a fan."

HeyHeyBooks says:

I definitely get this feeling sometimes, if it's an important read, or a classic that people love. I rated both Steinbeck books I've read two stars because I just did not enjoy them. Another would be Uncle Tom's Cabin – a very important book in its time but not one I enjoyed that much. I think I believed I enjoyed it more than I actually did.

Read Sleep Eat Repeat says:

This is how I feel about Kindred by Octavia Butler.

splitreads says:

I recently had a feeling about The Blood of Emmett Till by Timothy B. Tyson that is sort of related to your comments. I ended up giving The Blood of Emmett Till a high rating, but some things outside the actual text (some general decisions by the author irl) gave me a weird feeling about my 4.5 star rating. I think it does come back to what you mentioned early on: a rating simplifies a book. That's why I will always write a review/comment under my star rating on Goodreads.

Thoughts in Books says:

You were able to articulate something I didn't realize I felt. There is this dissonance between books I read, where sometimes I come across a book that feels very important in a conversation, but just doesn't jive with me. Part of it, I think, comes from just how subjective reading can be, while I also think we should be allowed to seek books that connect with us on both the written elements as well as the content.

Silvia Kay says:

This was such an amazing video! I'm so glad that I've discovered your channel. I haven't read this particular book, so I can't share my thoughts on it, but I did feel very similar about The Penelopiad by – gasp – Margaret Atwood.

Khush Mathuria says:

Great discussion point. I felt this way about More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera. I grew really uncomfortable with the fact that I'm disliking a book that is dealing with an important topic and being meh about the characters while they are going through something so difficult and life altering. I was leaning towards a 2 star rating but ended up giving it 3 stars out of guilt. Hopefully, after watching this video, I'll have the courage to be more true to myself and my reading experience. Thanks for making this one 😁

Asia Mckain says:

That is exactly how I felt about The Underground Railroad by Colson Whiteheah. Everyone loved it but me, it wasn't subject matter or it's importance, I just didn't like the writing.

Teri Conrad says:

This is how I felt with the Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. While important, I don't think it was well-written.

MissKriekentaart says:

I read The Narrow Road to the Deep Road last year and really hated most of it, even though I really appreciated some aspects of it (learning more about Japanese war camps)

michelle fuller says:

This is how I feel about the entire works of William Shakespeare. DItto with the Bronte sisters. I appreciate how significant they are, but… yeesh. It was total drudgery for me when I had to read this stuff in school. I swore off the 'classics' because of this.

Love Wallace says:

I love this video, and I'm glad that you made it. I've definitely come across this with several books that deal with infrequently published topics. I tend to tell people the topic, and then what I don't particularly like about it – which generally doesn't have a relationship to the topic. I feel like that's happened a lot with YA books for me. Wonderful!

Anna Shuk says:

I haven't read this book yet, but I've had this "issue" with We are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson. It's an important book that talks about depression, suicide, abuse, bullying, first love, high expectations, society with all its good and shitty stuff.. it has gay and pansexual characters, it's written well, and an audiobook I've listened to deserves a round of applause, but! for some reason I just couldn't connect with this book..and wasn't really enjoying my time with a book either.
I've had a hard time rating it (I like rating books on Goodreads, but sometimes it's just haaaard) and ended up with a 3-stars one. But all of the people I follow gave it 4s and 5s. So I guess in this case it's more me than a book.
I always rate based on my enjoyment. No matter how important the book is, I won't give it a higher rating just because it deals with important issues. I has to be done well. I'm not a book critique, I'm just a reader, but I have my opinion and reading is a huge part of my life.

Thank you for this video!
I'll try this book someday and will let you know what I think of it.
Happy reading!

SavidgeReads says:

I've had this on the shelves for a while but haven't got to it and I don't know what has held me back. I'm still going to read it as I have heard such mixed reviews which I find interesting. I've had people exasperated with me for having attempted Homegoing three times and just put it down each time and reading something else. I just haven't connected to it… yet.

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