Why You Should Read A Book Regardless Of What The Reviews Say About It
We have all been there. When we come across a book with a catchy title and a shiny cover that gets us excited. Then, we feel as if we can’t wait to get our hands on them. So, we settle in on our cosy beds with some warm tea and dive into them.
Just one thing, let’s get a second opinion about the book besides the great things the book’s foreword has to say about it. Oh my! This person says “Reading this book felt like pushing myself off a cliff” (slight exaggeration on my part, but you get it). Suddenly, the excitement is gone.
You no longer feel the push to get your hands on that book anymore. You disappear into the next aisle with more books only for the whole thing to happen again.
However, this piece is going to break that never-ending cycle of book reviews ruining your yet-to-read books. I strongly encourage you to read a book regardless of what the reviews say about it and here’s why.
1. Our perspectives are different
Allow me to draw a parallel here with actual, living, breathing human beings and the famous ‘tak kenal, maka tak cinta’ quote. It’s really easy to form judgements on people based on our first impressions and what we hear about the person from others.
However, there are instances in our lives when we put these preconceived ideas about the person aside and really get to know them, and end up getting surprised at how different they turn out to be. What another person may call ‘bossy’ might be ‘assertiveness’ from your point of view. What another reader may call ‘boring’ might be ‘comforting’ from your point of view.
So take your time to personally get to know your books and form your own judgements based on your experience. Just like how you wouldn’t want to miss out on someone great because of the judgements others might have made on them, don’t miss out on a great read because of a handful of negative reviews.
I recall buying a book by one of my favourite self-help authors only to end up feeling disappointed. Where the storyline is repeated and has the same patterns. But despite my negative review, my friend took the leap of faith to read it only to have it change her entire life. I’m glad that she didn’t allow my judgement for her to miss out on such a great and life-changing reading experience.
2. Our tastes are different
We all have our favourites and reasons to read. Some are in love with poetry. Others read to learn and some read to score. Some read for leisure and some read to escape reality. To expect all of them to view a book, in the same way, is absolutely impossible. Thus the different positive and negative reviews emerge.
It is also important to take note that our taste towards the genres we prefer fluctuates. At one point you feel like sinking into a world that doesn’t exist and the next you want to increase your financial literacy. Given our tastes and preferences can change, this can also affect how one might review a book.
The next time you see or hear a negative review of a book, be mindful. Give the book the benefit of the doubt as this book might be an entirely different experience to you than a fellow book reader based on your personal taste and the fluctuating taste due to life circumstances.
3. The discovery of hidden gems
I’ve noticed how the contents of any book speak differently to different people. Especially when you discover very personal, insightful ideas and perspectives that I would like to call the hidden gems. Emphasis on the word ‘personal’. We, human beings, have many shades. Such as who we are, our mindsets, our life experiences, our beliefs, and even our dreams and aspirations.
Reading a book about a survivor of domestic violence fighting all odds stacked against him/her to get out of the toxic relationship might be a much more personal experience. Especially for those who might have gone through similar circumstances. Given that, they might end up finding hidden gems unique to their experiences. Perhaps books that can be very relatable and helpful to them.
From my own experience, reading the book ‘Girl, Stop Apologizing’ by Rachel Hollis was a personal experience too. Being someone who constantly apologised over everything and struggled with imposter syndrome all my life, certain parts of the book spoke to me on a different level. I found many hidden gems that I was able to apply in my own life when it comes to dealing with my imposter syndrome and believing in my capabilities more.
Given that, the negative reviews you find about a book might be because the readers found it less relatable to them and their life. Maybe that motivational book wasn’t read when they really needed motivation or the recently heart-broken finds every ‘happily-ever-after’ pretentious.
I’ve heard someone say before that books are basically conversations with their authors. I remember thinking to myself what a beautiful statement it was. I believe there is always something to learn from them, even if it is a not-so-great conversation.
So, what do we have to lose by reading a bad book? I’m not asking you to dump all review-reading habits of yours. Reviews are extremely helpful to get a better idea about the contents of a book. Such as before we spend our hard-earned money on them. But, let’s be a little mindful of how much control we allow them in making our judgements.