First you hate it, and then you like it

Lately, I’ve been in a reading mood, more than a writing mood so although I have finished several books from my staggering TBR pile, I don’t feel like writing about them right now. That’s a problem when you have a book blog. Then again, maybe not. I never seem to have a hard time finding something to talk about in person, so why should that be any different here? Afterall, my blog is called Book CHATTER, right?

Ahem… (head cold in full swing, Sudafed cloud to follow)

Have you ever disliked a book and then changed your mind after hearing that one of your friends, or in my case, a respected book blogger, liked it better? Without any research at all, I can tell you that this year, I was swayed by other readers at least three times. At first, this confused me. It confused me because when I finished these books, there was no doubt in my mind what I was going to say about them. However, when I sat down to write those reviews, I suddenly had a change of heart.

At first this bothered me, because it made me feel as if I didn’t really know what the heck I was saying. Then it made me think that I was being wishy-washy or sugar-coating how I really felt about the book. After pondering this for months, I’ve decided that neither is correct. It’s no different than going to a book club meeting, prepared to discuss what was in your opinion, a real stinker, only to realize that you totally missed one aspect of the story, or you neglected to consider A and B. Suddenly, clouds part and with a furrowed brow, you sit down to write about said book but from an entirely different angle.

Does this mean that the review you read is not my true reaction to the book? Not at all. I have never given a book a glowing review if I didn’t feel it deserved one, but because of some very influential readers and bloggers, I’ve opened my mind to other viewpoints which in turn, makes the review more well-rounded, as opposed to my “gut reaction” which is often how my first drafts are.

I’m not even going to ask if this has happened to you, because I know that it has, but do you find that it happens often? Just for fun, I am going to share with you the bloggers that influence me the most. When they talk, I sit-up and take notice.

Sandy from You’ve Gotta Read This! (she doesn’t always sway me, like with Ready Player One, but she sure makes me question if I’ve completely lost my marbles)

Arti from Ripple Effects (we have similar reading tastes, but she nearly always brings up something I didn’t initially consider)

Zibilee from Raging Bibliomania (I hesitate to use her real name as she goes by Zibilee, but if this woman shrunk herself down and crawled into my brain, I suspect that my book reviews would be much, much longer than they are and no doubt, better. She includes the most interesting perspectives. If she’s read a book after me, I nearly always go, “Hmmm…how could I have missed that?”)

These happen to be book bloggers, but there are also readers who influence me just as much. But these three are the ones that are constantly shaping me whether I realize it or not.

Just for fun, who influences you the most when it comes to reading or writing up your reviews? It doesn’t even have to be a blogger. Maybe it’s your husband or wife or a sister from afar. Maybe even a bookseller you deal with regularly. I’m curious.

29 thoughts on “First you hate it, and then you like it”

  1. I’m not sure who influences me, other than my own brain, but I have seen different perspectives of books and thought about them more. I don’t always agree though. I guess one person who’s influenced my thinking about books has been Wendy (Caribousmom). She tends to bring different aspects to my attention. I’m often so focused on the writing or metaphor that I lose sight of the overarching message sometimes. I find it interesting when discussions bring up things that others don’t reason I miss having a book club.

    1. We could easily add life experiences to the pile as well. I know that books I’ve read in my teens mean so many different things to me now. I think as readers we are supposed to flex as we grow. If not, we’d grow bored.


  2. This has happened to me, but the opposite has also happened. I thought I really liked a book and then someone pointed out something that was inherently wrong in it that made me rethink things.

    I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Sandy and Zibilee in person and, let me tell you, they rock! They are smart and insightful and so much fun! An author dubbed the three of us and Swapna “the blogging sisters” at SIBA this year and, believe me, I’m proud to call them my sisters!

    1. That’s right, you got to meet them!! If I were in a room with all of you, I don’t think there would be one bit of awkwardness. I feel as if I know you all already.


  3. Although I read tons of blogs and skim reviews tons of reviews…lol…I am one of those people who always know what I want to read…I know mostly from the book and not what is said about it…

    Is that weird?

    I love when you chatter…I respect your reviews but sometimes book chattering means more!!!

    Feel better!!!

    1. I always know what I want, but after reading it I am sometimes left scratching my head. Sometimes. LOL. Thanks for not minding my Sudafed induced ramble. You should have heard me last night at book club after someone brought Pumpkin Cream liqueur. OMG! That’s all I will say.


  4. I often have the opposite happen – I finish a book, like it and then read a more critical review and start to see the book in a different light. If I completely loved a book, this doesn’t happen but when I am content with a book I find I am susceptible to a more critical analysis of a book.

    Great idea for a post!

  5. I laughed when I read your opening paragraph because I am having the same problem! I am reading, reading, reading and the books to review are piling up because i cannot seem to motivate to write my reviews! I find it a little frustrating! I’m also very tired lately and its easier to nap while reading than writing!

    Oh no, a head cold, yeesh! I hope you feel better quickly, Ti! You need rest, more reading, less running around! lol

    I change my mind about books after I think about them for a while and definitely after I read review by particular bloggers, Zibilee and Sandy being two. What really frustrates me is when I read great reviews that really make me think about a book I’ve read in a different way or about aspects of the book I hadn’t thought about after reading it…but I’ve already written my review!

    1. Oh yes, the “change my mind after I’ve written the review” dilemma. That happened to me once or twice and I amended my thoughts with a note that I added after the fact. We are ever-changing, evolving, readers who flex with the times. Right? Sounds good, anyway.


  6. It is definitely not unheard of for me to change my mind about my reaction to a book after I’ve finished it, whether it be a result of other people or just my feelings changing after having some time to reflect. Even if a reading experience is not all that positive, if a book sticks with me for awhile after I finish it, and incites a strong reaction in me, that’s almost more important!

    1. I feel the same way. Last night my book club discussed Room. I hated that book. Truly. Some adored it. Afterward, someone apologized to me saying that it was too bad that I had to waste my time on it. I never, for one second considered it a waste. It got me thinking, prompted a rather heated discussion and to me, that is what literature should do. It should do something to you.


      1. I also hated Room. I struggled to write a bad review since it was up for the Booker… if fact I just looked at my post and I didn’t review the book! I just shared the author Q&A…. easy way out. I found this book to be so unbelievable and I really struggled to let it be fiction. Once the boy gets in the rug… she lost me.

        1. That is exactly where she lost me as well. Such a ridiculous plan of escape! I told my book group that a pencil to the eye would have been more plausible. In fact, I think I wrote down at least a dozen other ways to get out of that room. Like, when he picked up the rug. Both arms were busy, right? Ugh!


  7. I agree with your comments, I’m easy to sway if someone enlightens me to something I overlooked.

    It’s definitely easier to write a review if you like/love the book, but then… today I happen to have a review posted for a book I didn’t like. I’m so surprised to discover I’m one of many who didn’t enjoy Outlander…. until posting my review I had only read great things for this one. Not one positive review has posted!

    I’m off to discover a few new blogs! The ones listed in your post are all new bloggers to me. 🙂

  8. Oh my, what an honor it is to have made it onto that list of bloggers who influence you and make you think! I must say that I am extremely happy to have found myself there!

    I do think that it happens to me a lot too. There are some reviewers who always end up making me think more deeply about some of the books I have read, and that make me subtly change my perspective about ideas that I had assumed were set in stone. As a matter of fact, after reading your review of Unbroken, I looked at the whole first part of the book in a different light, and was able to really see the way that the people around Louis really just scoffed off what was seriously bad behavior. It was troublesome to me, and had I not read your very eloquent thoughts on the book, I might have given up very early on. So you and your reviews are some of the ones that shape my opinions and reactions as well.

    I think the best thing that can happen when we read each other’s blogs is that we have a sort of conversation, both with the blogger and with ourselves about our interpretations on what we read. It’s one of the reasons I love blogging!

    1. Exactly! It’s a two-way street full of conversation. I just love blogging and the people I’ve “met” this way. I treasure your opinions!


  9. I’ve had that feeling, especially after my book club discusses a book. I’ve learned that everyone gets different things out of a book and sometimes I just miss thigns that I appreciate once they are pointed out to me.

  10. To put a book on my TBR list, I only skim reviews to get a sense of whether the book is worth reading or not, and then I try to write my review before reading other bloggers’. Because what usually happens to me if I read a review closely before writing mine is someone has done a much better job and I don’t see the point of writing a review at all! I definitely can be influenced by someone else’s opinion and it’s great to have access to so many points of view when a book is fresh in my mind and I want to know what others think about it.

  11. I definitely have this happen. Most of the time, another blogger sees some aspect I didn’t fully appreciate in my read. Or they see the book from a totally different perspective that makes me think differently. I love when that happens! Like you said, it makes book blogging seem like a big online book club. And, like you, I tend to listen to Sandy and Zibilee … though I just got “burnt” by jumping into a book that one of them liked and I didn’t quite feel the same. What is it about book bloggers from Orlando???? Could you imagine living there and being in their book club? It would be AWESOME!

  12. I am afraid, yes afraid, to even make a list of the reviews that I am behind on. And that is just the “must” reviews, I have given up completely on doing all of them or even the ones that I liked, but aren’t my usual genre for the blog. (Now that I type that, I seem to have gotten lost on the whole-genre blog thing in general) ACK!

    Just a week or so ago, I think it was Kim from Sophisticated Dorkiness reviewed The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta and I had a head slapping desk moment. Now I read the book, liked it in fact, but she came up with something that I totally missed like a gnat flying by at 60 MPH. It left me wondering the wisdom of my reading habits and thinking that while it is great that I read so many books this year, I am really listening to them? Or am I just flying through them, willy nilly, sort of zoning out in my need to escape into reading.

    Then I feel like crap and need more benadryl and really, how many can you take in a day and still feel human? I wish that I could say that when it happens, I feel better or more enriched. Instead, I feel like I am cheating the authors and in turn, my readers.

    1. I need to check out Kim’s review of The Leftovers because I thought it was okay, not great. Maybe I missed the greatness??

      You asked about Benadryl. With all of my food allergies and getting glutenized every time I eat out, I was popping Benadryl like candy. You can take about 4 a day and still be human. Six is pushing it.


      1. The ending shocked me and not necessarily in a good way, but shocked none the less.

        LOL, I am up to 8 on some days, that explains a lot:)

  13. I had to laugh while reading your post because I have had that happen to me a time or two. I honestly couldn’t pinpoint just one or two people who have influenced me to look at a story in a different way.

  14. I am HUGE fan of Ron Charles. After reading his review of THE NIGHT CIRCUS, I actually bought the book. And this was a book the publisher had offered me. And I loved it to death even though I am not a big fan of either the circus or fantasy.

    I work with a book seller who has often made me aware of a book I might have missed on my own. She brought me Sarah’s Key several years ago. Found one hardcover spined out and buried on a shelf in another book store. The rest is history. I began touting its story long before people knew it. Same happened with THE KITE RUNNER. Imagine that.

    It is good to have other trusted readers to enrich your experience.

  15. Just getting to all posts on my reader!

    This happens to me often. I would have already decided my response to a book, and then somebody talks about how this book made them think about abc or how the author meant xyz during a particular scene, that I end up wondering how I could have been so thick as to miss that! And then, my review ends up changing considerably!

  16. Thanks for the mention and link, Ti. You’re spot on in raising the issue of our rights to change our mind. 😉 And also, whatever our opinion is at one point may not be the same as time passes, or as we read more, or as we reread the same material. That’s the merits of all these interactions… we gain from each other’s opinion and discussions. Thanks so much for being first and foremost, an honest reviewer. It’s integrity like this that we can even begin to share and learn from each other.

Leave a Reply to rhapsodyinbooks Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s