So, as I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve become quite active on Goodreads lately (Psst! You absolutely have to be on Goodreads if you love books!). I even joined a few reader groups, and they have all these discussion forums where you can introduce yourself, talk about your favourite books and there’s even a Book of the Month event. Pretty exciting, no?
So, today I came across this very interesting question posted by one of the new joinees in the group. Here, have a look:
Since I too have recently begun book reviews, and know a lot of fellow bloggers who do the same, I faced a similar dilemma a few days ago. After debating internally for some time, I finally arrived at a line of thought that I agreed to.
Now, I do not know how many of you are on Goodreads so I thought I would share my response to this question with you guys and maybe we could have a little discussion of our own right here. What say?
Here’s what I think about this question.
I never really understood the idea of reviewing someone’s art, really. Creativity is so subjective and limitless, that trying to compare and measure it seem a little too frivolous to me. Which is why, despite being an ardent booklover and extremely opinionated in my other pursuits, I never really considered writing reviews.
Reading reviews on Goodreads made me realise how staggeringly subjective they were. I decided to rebel against negative reviews and read few of those books to see for myself. And not surprisingly, I liked most of them. Not like they made a major impact on my life like a Harry Potter or an LoTR. But hey, I am glad to have been richer by yet another experience and a new story. But had I gone by the negative reviews and skipped reading them, I think it would somehow have been, however trivial, my loss.
Take the Twilight series, for example. Despite being a commercial success, it was and is still trashed as being a desperate and immature love story. I went through my Twilight phase, crushed on Edward, felt sorry for Jacob and now after all these years I can happily laugh about all that. But never, for a second, did I trash the series.
Because as Sharadha rightly says, books make you question things. You may think it is extremely anti-feminist but just observe how people react after a breakup and then try and judge Bella for reacting the way she did after Edward left her. Even though I personally wouldn’t do that, I know plenty of girls who would relate to that feeling. And they did! Morever, it got a lot of people who weren’t readers in the first place to actually read a book. Now that’s definitely a win-win.
Imagine if there were no critical analyses or negative reviews about Harry Potter. Would we be able to come up with all those tumblr posts and reddit threads that ultimately stumble upon some truth about a particular character? Like the fact that even though everyone hates the Dursleys, maybe they were like that because Harry was a Horcrux and they lived with him all these years? Or a major anomaly like how Harry turned out to be such a well-rounded individual despite years of abuse at the hands of the Dursleys?
Apologies for the extra-long reply! I’ve always thought deciding upon reading a book should merely be an instinctive reaction. Literary analyses ought to be a neutral view on the themes and underlying ideologies. And reviews should simply be one’s journey through the book. Everything else should be open to interpretation. That way, the story never ends!
Do you agree? Do you disagree? Maybe have something else to add? Drop in a comment (or two!) below and let’s chat!