Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: Unpopular Bookish Opinions


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book blog meme now hosted by Jana over at The Artsy Reader Girl!

This week's topic is: Unpopular Bookish Opinions

For some reason, I thought this topic was going to be hard, but once I started thinking of a few unpopular opinions, the rest just started barreling into me. I tried to narrow it down and stick to ten as possible, but apparently I have a lot of thoughts. These are listed in no particular order. As always, I hate to make a 'disclaimer,' but do note that while I do hold these opinions, I am in no way judging you or angry at you if you hold the opposite ones. Differing opinions make life fun and exciting! I in no way mean any offense with any of these opinions. Now, let's get to it!

1. I don't actually like giving star ratings out of five. 
The only reason I use a five-star scale is because I used Goodreads before I started my blog and it also just seems like a more universal scale in general. Five is simply too limiting overall and people often have differnet opinions on what stars mean--especially three stars. If I were to start my blog over, I might start rating on a scale of ten.

2. I don't really care if a series is unfinished or doesn't have an end date in sight. I don't even check for this when starting one.
I see so many people refusing to start a series because it's not finished and I get it. It's hard to wait when you're really into a story and then you just have to put it all down and then try to remember everything for when the next book finally deigns to be published. I get it. But I personally don't care. There are so many books out there that I have no problem waiting because I know I'll always have something else to read. I've actually started using a book journal to jot down thoughts/important plot points when reading now so I can refresh myself for the next book and it's been working extremely well. Plus, the biggest and possibly most important thing to me is that if the first or second book in a series doesn't do well and sell enough, there might not even be additional books in the series. Books need to sell and show the publishers they are doing well in order to keep selling. And obviously I want authors like Rothfuss to finish, but I also just don't feel a huge sense of urgency--it'll get here when he thinks its ready and I trust him so that's good enough for me.

3. Classics are good and have their place in literature, but there is nothing wrong with disliking them or not wanting to read them. This also applies to nonfiction. 
Classics can be awesome. I love a lot of classics and I genuinely enjoy them as well. Same goes for nonfiction. But you know what? They aren't the be-all and end-all of literature. If you don't like them, you shouldn't feel like you have to read them. People that read classics/nonfiction like to make general fiction and 'genre' readers feel bad, but that's just close-minded and frankly unfair thinking. Most of our 'classics' are from white European authors, so honestly, I don't blame anyone who might want a different perspective. I'm not denying the influence of many of these classics on some modern literature, but I'm here to say you should read what you want to, whether that's classics or genre fiction or poetry. (Honestly, this might not be an unpopular opinion in the book community I'm a part of, but I see it outside of it, so that's mainly why I'm including this.)

4. Deckled edges are better known as the devil's edges to me.
I can't turn the pages! I don't know if it's just because I have super dry hands or if other people also have this problem, but it's the most frustrating thing. I like the idea of adding some design to a book, but it's so obviously fake that it doesn't feel 'old' or special to me. I'll still buy books that have deckled edges, but I won't be happy about it.

5. I don't care at all about organizing my books in a specific manner (such as alphabetical order, rainbow, etc.).
Note: Not my bookshelf
I've known some people who are super strict about having books in either alphabetical order or sorted by genre or some specific organizational method, but I just..don't think I care? I basically just do it how feels right to me, it's very 'vibe'-based. Certain books just feel good near others, I really couldn't begint to describe how I have mine 'organized' (as in, organized chaos), but it works for me and I know exactly where everything is. No one else will find anything, but I will! (Lately, I've also run out of shelf space so when I do get shelf space it's really just first come first serve or my favorites/nicer books that get the privilege. I hope one day all my books get a nice piece of shelf space.)

6. There is a huge problem with some readers (especially in the YA community) labeling books 'problematic' simply because they don't line up immediately with what they want it to say. These days, I almost like it when books become 'controversial' because it shows that people are being challenged and discussions can be sparked about this.
Okay, I had a really hard time figuring out how to word this one, so let me explain this better.
This is an issue that mainly pops up on Goodreads, Booktube, and book Twitter (again, specifically usually in the YA Twitter community, which I generally avoid, though it does spill over). Some of the ways in which books have been attacked--and the frequence in which it happens--has me imaginging that some readers read books with a pitchfork sitting next to them, ready to attack an author for any thing they don't agree with. Look, life itself has problematic issues all the time. Why shouldn't books also tackle those topics? I often see this happen when a book has a bigoted or generally unlikable protagonist who has controversial beliefs and readers will simply stop halfway through the book and claim that the entire book is racist or homophobic or whatever it is. Everyone has a right to stop reading books they don't like or that bother them, I do not have a problem with that, but my problem is when they then tell other people not to read the book. One example would be the whole The Black Witch by Laurie Forest fiasco from a couple years back. The main protagonist is indeed racist against others and has judgmental notions about various ways of life.. in the beginning. She says bad things and she does bad things, but that's the whole point of the book--to show what it's like and how that sort of person can change and grow and develop into someone better. It baffles me how books like this are treated. There's a huge difference between characters/narrative voice and the author's personal voice and I think people need to remember that. As long as the book isn't showing that doing or believing in harmful things is good (there are usually consequences), then I think they are great ways to open up dialogue about these types of situations in real life as well.

7. YA could use a few more male protagonists. 
The majority of my reading is usually made up of 'adult' fiction, but the majority of the YA I do read is almost exclusively fantasy, so I can't entirely speak for other genres in the 'YA' umbrella (I'm not even getting into my thoughts on the 'YA' label), but I've found that 99% of the ones I read have female protagonists. I totally understand why this is and that we do need more female protagonists in general, especially in adult fantasy, but I kind of wouldn't mind having some more main male perspectives. I'm mainly directing this towards YA because adult fantasy is overflowing with male figures and I just don't see it as much with YA. I was just trying to think of YA fantasy books with male protagonists and all I could of think of was Scythe and the Unwind series, both by Neal Shusterman. This isn't a huge issue or anything, but I do think it would be nice to add in a bit more to the mix, even more nonbinary characters would be great, though I feel like I've started to see a few more here and there popping up with the latter so that's pretty encouraging already.

8. I keep almost all the books I read, even if I hated them.

This is one of those unpopular opinions that I almost feel nervous about, especially in this age of 'unhauls.' My dream is to one day have a house (which, living in California, that's problably the hardest part of this dream! 😕) with a library where I can just have shelves and shelves of books. Read, unread, loved, hated, all of it. I want to be able to think of a book I like and pick it up anytime to re-read (plus, if I spent money on it I hate to just toss it out right away). I want to be able to have enough books that friends and family can come in and pick up a book to borrow, or maybe they've heard of a book they want to read and hey, I have it! I'm still going to be, uh, picky about some of the books that I won't lend out, but for the most part I just want books around. I want my husband and future kids to have the option to browse through so many books, even books I didn't like. I don't want them to just be mirror images of me and my taste, I want them to read widely, to challenge me with their own opinions.  The main reasons I'll donate books is if they're actually bad or harmful, I genuinely don't care about it at all, or if it's one I got unsolicited or I just didn't realize what it was about when I got it.

9. Most really old books don't actually smell good. They smell musty and give me headaches.
There are a few types of older books that don't smell horrible. But for the most part those really old books just are awful. I usually keep them all on a separate shelf together because I don't want my newer books to smell bad. I'm majorly allergic to dust and I swear old books are just made of dust at this point. I love them, but I'm pretty sure they are trying to kill me.

10. If a series 'doesn't get good' until the second or third book in a series, then it probably isn't the best series ever and I wish people would stop trying to shove it down other people's throats.
The number of times people tell me to keep reading Malazan because 'it gets better in the next book' or 'you'll appreciate it once you finish the series' is too. damn. high. I'm not going to keep reading a series that confuses the hell out of me in the hopes it will get better. I don't like being 100% confused for 100% of the time. There are too many other books out there that I can actually, you know, follow. Now that I think about it, maybe this unpopular opinion is really just about Malazan and I don't care about waiting for a series to get better...


And because most of these weren't book-specific, here's two bonus book-specific ones that are really going to be unpopular: 

I do not like To Kill a Mockingbird and I find it highly overrated. 
Look, I'm not saying it's a bad book and that's awesome if it's your favorite--I'm not judging you! I just didn't enjoy it at all and could never consider it the best American novel, even from an objective point of view. I understand it's importance when it was published, but at this point I just don't get the appeal.

I don't hate Holden Caulfield.
I don't think he's supposed to be a character you fall in love with. He's a kid with a lot of problems in his life and he's just trying to live and survive with them. Maybe I just don't hate it because I was also a pessimistic kid who complained to themself a lot, but for whatever reason he doesn't bother me so much. It's not that I love the book, I just think it gets too much unfair hatred directed towards it.



Well, those are my unpopular opinions! Do let me know your thoughts on these and/or some of your own bookish unpopular opinions!

18 comments:

  1. Devil's Edges - I love it. They made my list as well. I can't stand them. The only series I won't start because there is no confirmed end date is Game of Thrones. Those books are a commitment and secretly (well, maybe not so secretly) I don't think Martin will ever finish them.

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    1. The Game of Thrones are a serious commitment, I totally get you! And yeah, I think we'll all believe it when we see it, haha.

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  2. I agree that YA could use a few more male protagonists, POVs in YA books tend to be either mixed or female, and it would be nice to have a few more guys in YA who aren't just there to be love interests. I personally don't like classics, I get that they have there place, but I wish they weren't held up as the be-all, end-all of books. I'm kind of mixed on the last one because there are quite a few series that I now love that I didn't fall in love with at the first book but have enjoyed subsequent ones and if I hadn't tried the next book then I would have missed out on some of my favourite books.
    My TTT: https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2019/06/11/top-ten-tuesday-215/

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    1. I definitely have a few of those types of series as well if I really think about it, maybe I've just gotten crankier with age, haha. And yes, all books are important and great!

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  3. Old books smell musty to me, too. My mom has asthma, so we had to be careful about not bringing musty/mouldy books into the house when I was growing up. That sort of stuff triggered awful asthma attacks for her (and non-life-threatening allergy issues for the rest of the family).

    So I never got into the old book smell.

    My TTT.

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    1. Oh no, that's awful! Yeah, if certain books are causing health problems, I'd say it's best not to have them around. :/

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  4. Yes 100% on #3. What's important is that you read. I don't care if it's *literature*, cheesy romance, or manga. Just. Read. Please?

    Also, #6 is important. Why do you find it problematic? Let's talk about that because my experience will be different than yours. But then, on the other hand, it doesn't take much to be labeled problematic these days.

    Here is our Top Ten Tuesday. Thanks!

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    1. It really doesn't--and so true about everyone's experience being different.

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  5. I totally agree with you on the classics thing. And that YA could use more male POVs. I also feel like YA could use more male authors since I feel like maybe I'm just not paying attention to most of them. I feel like YA is dominated by females in a lot aspects, which isn't necessarily a bad thing but I feel like there's a difference when a male author is writing a male POV and when it's a female author writing a male POV

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    1. Ooh, that's a great point! I definitely agree about needing more male authors in YA.

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  6. I don't like deckled edges either. Yes to more male POVs. It's a little frustrating to me when people break out the pitchforks because an author makes a character with the wrong race die/whatever. Most authors are not trying to be hurtful, and perhaps it messes with their creativity when they have to start thinking "well, if I make a character this race or with this trait, I have to give them a happy ending or people will get upset."

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    1. Definitely! It's important to keep feelings and perceptions in mind, but there comes a point when it just becomes a bit too extreme and feels more like policing.

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  7. Devils edges is such a good term! Sometimes I'll books with them because of the B&N Classics Editions. I so feel you on all of your opinions. I enjoyed To Kill A Mockingbird, and it's probably one of my favorite classics, but I see where you're coming from. In regards to Holden, oh my goodness I couldn't stand him!!! I almost DNFEd the book because he annoyed me, but I wanted to see where the story was going. Here is my post-https://paigesofbook.blogspot.com/2019/06/top-ten-tuesday-unpopular-bookish.html

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    1. I do love the B&N Classics Editions, too. Haha, you are definitely not alone about Holden! The book itself is really not that exciting, it's hard to make it through, especially if you hate the protagonist.

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  8. I'm the same way with new/ unfinished series- it doesn't bother me. Not only that but if it's a book calling to me I NEED to read it lol! Waiting is sometimes not an option! :) And I agree about classics.

    #8 too- a library at home would be awesome!

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  9. Deckled edges are the worst - I also can't turn the pages!

    I agree with you about classics, too - there are some I like and some I hate, but I would never judge someone who doesn't read them.

    I do, however, get rid of books I haven't enjoyed. I have limited space in my home library, so I want to fill it with books I love!

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  10. I'd like to see more leading guys in YA as well.

    Lauren @ Always Me

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