I Am Allowed to Dislike Books

The year is almost over and I am one book away from having read forty this year—and I think I’m going to make it. I was thinking back over my books of 2013, because one of my friends said it was funny that according to my goodreads profile, I’ve never read a book I didn’t like. (This isn’t true, of course, I’ve read plenty of books I hated—one particularly stands out to me: it was basically this retelling of Dick Whittington and his cat, interspersed with random bits about a boy who couldn’t read. I can’t remember the title, but I think it won a Newberry. Ten year old me was less than impressed.) (Ooh, found it. Thanks, Google.)

Thinking it over, it’s true—I haven’t rated any book less than 3 stars all year, even though there were a few I honestly didn’t like. The most recent of these was Emma, by Jane Austen. I really didn’t enjoy it at all, but after I finished it, I struggled to find merit so I could rate it more highly. It’s a Jane Austen novel—and I love Austen! But I didn’t love this. All the characters were annoying—but it had a good message! Sort of? I disliked it, but I couldn’t admit it to myself, so I marked it three stars and tried to explain all the good things about the book whenever I was asked instead of just admitting I didn’t like it.

All of this reminds me of this video I watched last night.

Carrie says something about not getting out of the book what the author put in. It really stuck with me, because why am I unable to say that I dislike a book? Is it because I know how hard the author worked and am desperate to find merit? Is it because it’s supposed to be a good book?

I realized that just because I dislike a book doesn’t mean it’s not good or that the author isn’t a good writer. Literature is so subjective, and what does my opinion matter to anyone? And generally I dislike books not because of the writing, but just because that particular book didn’t speak to me. (Though sometimes it’s because of the writing, let’s be honest.)

In the spirit of being honest, I’m not going to be afraid to say I dislike a book any more. I went through and gave two stars to the books of this year I didn’t like. I’m resetting my 50 Books Challenge page to prepare for next year (though forty is my 2014 goal), and I’m going to tell the truth of what I thought of a book. I’m going to allow myself to dislike books, knowing full well that I much more frequently fall desperately in love with them, so I shouldn’t worry anyway.

Are y’all doing a reading challenge next year? If so, what’s your goal? Let me know in the comments. 🙂

Best wishes,
Hero

Chums for the Dumps

I’m feeling slightly out of sorts today, but I’m cheering myself up with a big cup of coffee, a week old soft pretzel, the 10th Doctor, and the thought that if I so asked, my friend Josie would pop out of the woodwork and sing the Gaston song for me to make me feel better. (She is the Le Fou to my Gaston and it’s awesome.)

And though I am almost identical to Gaston in every way possible (ha), I do have a penchant for reading that he rather lacks…

This is a rather silly lead-in to a post one of my and Josie’s most gorgeous friends tagged me to do, all about books and reading habits. So without further ado, here we go!

Do you snack while you read? If so, favourite reading snack: Yes; I snack while doing everything. Usually potato chips because they’re easy, or oranges. I love oranges. (I have an unhealthy addiction to oranges. Well, I guess it’s a healthy addiction… Guess who won’t be getting scurvy anytime soon?)
What is your favorite drink while reading? Coffee. During Lent it was tea. But usually it is coffee.
Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the thought of writing in books horrify you? It depends. I mark up & take notes in some of my spiritual books, but usually if something strikes me I write it down elsewhere.
How do you keep your place while reading a book? I actually have a tendency to just shut the book and search for my place when I come back. I’m properly good at it. (Sometimes.)
Fiction, non-fiction, or both? Fiction, generally. Non-fiction can be good, too, but I generally read fiction.
Are you the type of person who tends to read to the end of the chapter, or can you stop anywhere? I usually have to stop anywhere, because I don’t have time to read a chapter to its conclusion. (I read in bits and pieces because of my lack of free time.) I’ve been on chapter 17 of Out of the Silent Planet for about a week now.
Are the type of person to throw a book across the room or onto the floor if the author irritates you? Yes. Cue me at the end of Inheritance.
If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you look it up right away? If I’m on my nook, yes, because then I don’t really have to put the book down. Otherwise I just get around it by context and move on.
What are you currently reading? Out of the Silent Planet, by C.S. Lewis. I’m almost finished – debating whether I should move on directly to the next book in the series or leave it alone.
What is the last book you bought? I bought a bunch of books at Goodwill, including The Pilgrim’s Progress and Murder on the Orient Express. My mom just bought me The Dialogue of Saint Catherine of Siena, if that counts.

Do you have a favorite time/place to read? Basically whenever I have time!

Do you prefer series books or stand alones? If it’s well written, I don’t care. I prefer to write stand alones because I’m lazy, but I’ll read whichever with no preference.

Is there a specific book you find yourself recommending over and over? The Great Gatsby, lol. I recommend the Books of Bayern a lot, and the Leviathan series. I love that series.

How do you organize your books? My books are organized on my shelf by the last name of the author. 🙂

I guess the overarching point of this post was for me to say that the ultimate chums when you’re down in the dumps is a good book. And Doctor Who. If any of you want to do this, feel free! You don’t have to link back to me or anything. As for being tag-errifically annoying, I’m going to dramatically point at Raewyn from My Spare Oom!

Thanks for reading!
Hero