Or in other words, are you tougher than you used to be, or more of a softie? Have you gone from ALL BOOKS ARE AWESOME…
…to NOT IMPRESSED…
Or vice versa.
Here’s my answer.
I’m quite sure that when I was a young kid, I liked every book I picked up. I read everything without knowing what a genre was (or how to say it, because it’s a weird word). I read fantasy and contemporary and sci-fi and adventure and books about mermaids and books about dragons and books about ballet shoes and books about swallows and amazons (props if you know what this last one is).
These were the first books I was introduced to, and I loved all of them. I was definitely not a harsh critic.
Fast forward a few years.
(okay, yeah, this was a weird gif to use, I admit. But I wanted a time lapse one and this was the coolest. Just….how do people gymnastic? It’s crazy. Off topic)
If you fast forwarded a few years from that “EVERYTHING IS AWESOME” time, you reach the age of “EVERYTHING SUCKS.” Okay, not everything. But if something was part of dominant culture, I wanted out. I hated Twilight for completely no reason. I didn’t like many books, mostly because I hadn’t really discovered YA, and drifted between adult and MG.
But now? Now I think I’m more sensitive to the amount of effort that goes into writing a book, and more empathetic to the author, and more aware of the fact that reading is ridiculously subjective.
My average rating on Goodreads is 3.87. Which I feel is pretty high, but it could be skewed because I’ve included all my favourite books from over the years. I give a lot of books four stars – and that’s fine by me! I’d give all books five stars if they were all good enough. And to some people, they’ll be more than five stars. They’ll be the whole universe.
Hey look at that, Emily’s getting poetic.
Oh, by the way, this is not telling me you should be nicer in your reviews. I like negative reviews as much as the next person – I honestly believe we have the power to shape the way we tell stories by saying what we like and dislike – by saying the tropes that are exhausted, the things we need more of, and the things that work. There are a TON of different ways of reviewing out there – I like both the softies and the not-so-softies. If I ever publish a book, I will welcome both. Yes, I will probably sob my eyes out when I read negative reviews, but as long as they’re not bashing me TOO much I will probably take what they say on board.
All that said, I’m definitely more aware now of things like cliched writing, pace that drags along, under-developed characters and over-used tropes. But there is always, ALWAYS something I enjoy in a book.
So what about you? Have your ratings changed over time?