Blogger Confessions: Be Gentle With Me

Before I get into today’s topic, I want to be clear: I love this community. I have so many wonderful book blogger friends, and I love having an outlet to talk about books with people who understand how much they mean to me. This brings me a lot of happiness.

Today, though, I want to talk about some things that have been getting me down lately. It’s not something that used to bother me, and I’m not sure whether I’ve changed, habits have or somewhat of both. At the very least, I know my recent slump was a factor.

When I was slumping, reading meh book after terrible book, almost three weeks of my highest ratings being 3.5 (3s and 3.5s are good, but that’s a long time to go with no real emotional, mind-blowing reads), I got really sensitive. I’d finally find a book I was enjoying and I’d tweet or GR status update excitedly about how maybe the streak was coming to an end because of how much I liked X book, within five seconds I’d get a comment from someone about how much they didn’t like the book.

gif headtable Brave

Is this really necessary? Now, please understand that I have NO issue with someone hating a book I love or whatever. That’s not my problem. It’s that I’m trying to enjoy something and people are coming out to tell me how terrible it is. Now, I’m being watched and judged for my opinions that haven’t even had a chance to fully form yet.

This has been happening constantly with statuses and tweets lately. I especially don’t want to hear anything about what I’m currently reading, unless the person happens to be of the same opinion and to keep the conversation to the parts I’ve already read. I guess I feel like with everyone’s opinions coming at me, it can be hard for me to be honest and have an authentic relationship with the book. Afterwards, I’d be up for discussing it, but I want to know what I think before I worry about other people’s opinions, especially since lately they all seem to be negative and like they’re trying to lead me to that opinion. And, while I can see a lot of the negative criticisms for the books in question, I still liked them because reading is subjective.

For now, I’ve been embracing a policy of isolationism. I’ve turned off the status update notifications on Goodreads, so no one can see what I’m reading unless they stalk my page or until I post a review. On Twitter, I’m not mentioning the books that I’m currently reading. However, I do still embrace actual discussions, in gchat or blog comments. I want to be able to discuss books in an open, balanced, respectful way. The brevity of tweets necessarily and most GR comments doesn’t make them an ideal format for dissent, because it comes across like it’s putting the diss in dissent, you know? I mention how I like something and immediately someone’s like “but that’s terrible.” While they don’t necessarily mean it to be a reflection on me, when that’s all that’s said, it feels that way.

ow brave

I’ve talked about this before, but I’m going to do it again, because I think it bears reiterating. If you’re going to disagree with someone, unless you know them REALLY well, make sure to convey that you’re discussing and not attacking. Don’t just say “Wow, I hated that book,” say “Though this book totally pissed me off, it has really cool to see it from another perspective. I’m glad that it worked for you, and I’m considering X in a new light.” Show that, while you have your own distinct opinion, you RESPECT the opinion of the person you’re talking to. Otherwise, it just feels like you’re talking down to the reviewer.

In case you’ve been wondering why I’ve been so weird lately, cagey about mentioning books I’m reading on Twitter and hardly on GR, that’s why. I’m still reading and making as many GR status updates as I ever did, but I’m being sneaky. Maybe I’ll get over whatever phase I’m in right now, but, at least until my slump fades into distant memory, I need my space so that I can feel free to like whatever I want without judgment. The negativity atop everything else was killing my motivation.

If you’re reading this post and going “aw, shit, I totally did this to Christina,” know that it’s okay. I don’t hate you. I understand that, at another time, you doing the same thing might not have bothered me, and it’s not really fair to get mad at someone for that. I just want to put this out there to explain what’s going on in my head these days, even if I don’t quite know why it’s lingering through the slump seems to be over. I still DEFINITELY want to discuss books with you guys (and I’d like to do that more even), but, for now, I’d like to do that once I’ve finished and have processed how I feel about the book.

brave want to be free

30 responses to “Blogger Confessions: Be Gentle With Me”

  1. You know how I feel about all of this, which is basically that I’m right there with you, girl. You’re so BRAVE for posting this. *snickers at gif pun* *coughs* I’m so mature.

    I think most people just don’t think before they tweet/GR comment, but especially when you’re in a slump, that can feel like the most annoying thing in the world. I feel like this (at least for now) has gotten worse and worse for me the longer I blog. BUT I also hope it’s a phase, and that we’ll both recover from that.

    Basically ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥
    Debby (Snuggly Oranges) recently posted…Book Review: Unteachable by Leah RaederMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      OMG, THAT PUN. YESSSS. I mean, how could you. So childish and no one would ever think that’s funny. *snickers secretly*

      Oooh, Snickers.

      I mean, I am a hundred percent positive that I have been this person to someone else, and I’m just going to try not to do it again, because, while this didn’t used to bother me, I know how upsetting it can be if you ARE in this mood. Happy thoughts for twitter comments; thoughtful comments for blog posts. And I’m mostly just not commenting on GR.

      I didn’t know you could make heart shapes on my blog. That is AWESOME.

      <3 <3 <3 <3

      Okay, that didn't work. HOW DO YOU MAKE THE HEARTS, OH GURU?

      • *fist pumps* mission accomplished.

        Yeah, I’m scared I’ve done this to others before too, but now I’m hardly commenting on GR as well – also on Twitter, when they’re reading things. I guess I just also think like, if I give other people space, they’ll give me some as well? I dunno.

        “Happy thoughts for twitter comments; thoughtful comments for blog posts.”

        THIS. FOREVER THIS.

        Lol they’re just alt codes. You can use them anywhere on the internet 😉 link
        Debby (Snuggly Oranges) recently posted…Book Review: Unteachable by Leah RaederMy Profile

        • Christina Franke says:

          And now I’m just holding down the ALT key and typing random numbers to see what happens:

          ♥8U↓A!▬♀♪

  2. Jamie says:

    THIS POST. YES.

    I have a paragraph of something similar to this in a post I’m writing about things, not just this, but I cannot handle when I’m getting ready to start something and someone says, “I HATED THAT.” It like is such a buzzkill. I’m fine with you telling me that AFTER so we can chat about it but it kills my momentum like no other when it happens. And especially if they start naming the things that they didn’t like about it and like..now I’m looking for them. Noticing them. What if I wouldn’t have noticed these things on my own??

    I love letting people know what I’m reading because it’s fun but I feel like people could be a little more respectful when they say something to you so one can go fresh into a book. A “ooh I have some opinions on this one” or a “I will be SO interested to hear what you think” is fine with me but please don’t tell me you hated it so much until I’m done!
    Jamie recently posted…I’ve Cheated. Or Something.My Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      Awww, thanks, Jamie!

      I actually just read one of your older posts about slumping, and it was pretty spot on for my feels too. It made me SO sensitive and emotional and just totally messed with my mood in general. Though I’m back to enjoying quite a few things a lot, the mood is still with me, which is annoying.

      Oh my god, I know. I mean, if someone’s like “maybe I want to read this” and it’s not a THEM BOOK and they’re a good friend, I might be like “honey, maybe no.” But often it’s people I don’t know that well or with really different taste. Plus, if it’s a review book, I’m going to try it anyway, and now I’m going in LOOKING for grumpy-making stuff. Yeah, I really don’t know sometimes if I would have noticed that stuff. I’m all for being mindful, but I want to give the book a fair shot.

      Yeah, being interested is mostly fine, though on GR, you can see the rating, so it’s tricky there. Like, OH, you’re SO excited because I’m meant to hate it. *sighs* I just want to love things and eat chocolate cake and drink mudslides. Is that so wrong?

  3. Morgan says:

    I can see how that would be demoralizing. It’s something I’m struggling with as a general reader lately; I have to pick the books I purchase carefully, esp if they are not in a series or by an author I already love. For that reason, I love reading reviews on blogs like yours and glancing at goodreads but sometimes it bums me out. And even if I generally agree, what if that book is the exception and I should still try it? (That’s what I use the library for!) So I understand your struggle. Hopefully you can come out of your bubble soon! 🙂

  4. Meg says:

    Aw shit, I totally do this to Christina. (I actually don’t think I do because usually you read all the stuff and then I speed read to catch up, but if I do, I’M SORRY)

    I totally get this feeling though. It’s kind of like you’ve got this bigass ice cream cone and you’re all excited and thinking about how good it’s going to be an then riiiight when you’re about to take a bite, some asshole runs past and just knocks your ice cream on the ground. (I’m on a food thing right now, wonder why).

    But seriously, I get it, screw people, read secretly. Flailing on twitter is awesome (keyword: flailing) but it kind of sucks having a valuable and fully satisfying book conversation 140 characters at a time. So really, no one should have a problem with this, SHOULD THEY? *glares around the room* (I got your back)
    Meg recently posted…Review: The Last Sisterhood by Ann FortierMy Profile

  5. Sarah says:

    I’ve never had that experience (probs coz I don’t go on twitter enough), but I can understand why it would totally totally suck! I don’t understand what the thought process would be for someone to do that
    Sarah recently posted…Classics Club Spin: The Blind Assassin (Adult Fiction Review)My Profile

  6. This is such an important thing Christina! I’ve been at both ends of this myself, but over the last few months, I’ve made sure that when I do get involved and state that I didn’t enjoy something, that I’m glad they are or did, because it’s so easy to think that just because you didn’t like something, everyone will feel that way too and it’s wrong. I completely understand why you want to keep your statuses to yourself when it’s bothering you, I really do, and I hope people take note of this more. The whole point of a community is that people have opinions, and those opinions should be respected. I hope you find yourself out this slump soon though and enjoy reading mind-blowing books again! 😀
    Amanda @ Book Badger recently posted…2014 Challenges Wrap-Up: FebruaryMy Profile

  7. Anya says:

    Yes this! I hope that I haven’t done this (have I? I’d like feedback if I did without realizing it) for very much this reason. It’s the whole “don’t yuck someone’s yum” thing. Yes we can have disagreeing opinions, but if someone is excited about something, it’s kind of bitchy to shoot them down :(. Same reason that I tend not to comment on reviews that I just don’t get the other person’s excitement and don’t feel like I have anything to contribute besides disagreement, haha.
    Anya recently posted…Way of Kings Read-Along Final Week!My Profile

  8. Kelly says:

    Usually when it’s a status update on a book in progress, I’ll throw out a “I lOVED that one!” if I did, in fact, love it, and a “ooh, how’s it going?” if I haven’t read it am an interested, or a “I’ll be interested to see what you think by the end!” if it’s something I didn’t enjoy, so that I don’t inadvertently spoil something on the reader in question.

    I don’t know that I’ve run in to this situation myself, where someone has shot down my current read (that I’m enjoying), but I can definitely see how it would be frustrating, especially if you were enjoying it, but now after their comment, all you can see are its flaws.
    Kelly recently posted…Pretty Little Tips: CAPTCHA Got Your Tongue?My Profile

  9. Kelly says:

    omg, that’s what I get for trying to snack and blog at the same time!!

    **if I haven’t read it and am interested.
    Kelly recently posted…Pretty Little Tips: CAPTCHA Got Your Tongue?My Profile

  10. Yeah, I agree with this. It’s happened to me once or twice and it annoys the hell out of me. It should be up to me if I want to know negative things beforehand. And if I do, I will go read a review. It’s difficult to form your own opinions when people are pushing theirs on you. And if I have ever done this to you, I’m sorry. Totally will not happen again.
    Kara @ Great Imaginations recently posted…Imaginative Discussions: What I Like in a Book CoverMy Profile

  11. Lynn K. says:

    I try not to do this (if it was a book I didn’t like I’d say lets discuss after you finish), but probably have, sometime or another. I get the feeling. Sometimes it doesn’t even have to be a currently reading book…I’ve had people who commented on my “happy/excited ahhh this just arrived!” photos/posts with words like “oh good luck that book was bad” or “eh you got the one with the ugly cover”.

  12. Lesley says:

    Firstly, I spent about four minutes watching Merida’s hair in the first gif. Just couldn’t look away.

    I agree with what you’re saying, it must be really annoying to have people leap in and say they hated something when you haven’t made your mind up yet. I think I’m guilty of doing this a lot, but more with movies/tv shows than with books, probably because I know fewer readers than watchers. I think you’re right – it’s important to know how you feel/think about a book before other people’s opinions crowd in. It’s one of the reasons I try to stay away from really hyped books, or at least wait a while to read them, because I often end up disappointed.

    Hope you break out of your reading slump soon.
    Lesley recently posted…FORGIVE ME, LEONARD PEACOCKMy Profile

  13. Lesley says:

    Firstly, I spent about four minutes watching Merida’s hair in the first gif. Just couldn’t look away.

    I agree with what you’re saying, it must be really annoying to have people leap in and say they hated something when you haven’t made your mind up yet. I think I’m guilty of doing this a lot, but more with movies/tv shows than with books, probably because I know fewer readers than watchers. I think you’re right – it’s important to know how you feel/think about a book before other people’s opinions crowd in. It’s one of the reasons I try to stay away from really hyped books, or at least wait a while to read them, because I often end up disappointed.

    Hope you break out of your reading slump soon.
    Lesley recently posted…FORGIVE ME, LEONARD PEACOCKMy Profile

  14. Rachel says:

    Ugh yes that is totally annoying. What REALLY bothers me is if I tweet something about how I’m loving a book and someone is all, “Really? I hated that one.” It’s the “really??” part that bothers me because I feel like they’re saying my opinion means less than theirs (Idk if that makes sense to you, but yeah). Obviously I wouldn’t tweet that I was liking a book if I wasn’t liking it. That’s the only thing that ever bothers me, otherwise I don’t really care. The opinions of others don’t really affect my reading unless it’s someone I’m really close to and trust.

  15. I officially offer myself as a safe place for you to talk about books, and should I ever break that feeling of safety with an ill-spoken word, you are allowed to slap me and call me by my full name, thereby placing the fear of God and my mother upon me.

    But seriously, even though our tastes differ in some areas, your opinions are some I trust the most, and I love hearing what you have to say about stories. 🙂
    Shae/Shelver @ Shae Has Left The Room recently posted…Cover Love #46My Profile

  16. Bonnie says:

    I’m not mentioning as much in status updates how I’m feeling about the book either for the same reason. I’ll do a quote or just page update. I don’t like others opinions influencing me when I’m in the middle of the book, which is yet another reason why I don’t usually read reviews for books I have intentions of reading. My brain is easily influenced. lol
    Bonnie recently posted…Book Review – Unravel Me (Shatter Me #2) by Tahereh MafiMy Profile

  17. I’m loving the Brave gifs you have going on! But yeah, I definitely know what you mean! I rarely update on Goodreads or Twitter and usually just make notes to myself on my phone or something like that. Luckily, because I’m so isolated whenever I read, I’ve never actually gone through this kind of thing and hopefully it stays that way.

    I think we should build some special reading bunker where you go into when you don’t want to be influenced by other people’s opinions and just read there and update on Goodreads but don’t let people reply to your updates until you’re done and have completely read your book. That would be absolutely perfect, and they’d put on the Brave DVD in the background because a reading bunker’s cool like that.
    Eileen @ Singing and Reading in the Rain recently posted…February RecapMy Profile

  18. There seems to be a lot of snark in the world, lately. Isolationism, at least for a little while, can be a head-clearing experience. It’s terrible when you’re in a slump and you’re *finally* coming out of it with a new book…until someone disses that book. *sigh*

    P.S. love your choice of gifs. Brave is one of my faves (my mom and I giggle over the bear-mother’s bafflement).
    Mary @ BookSwarm recently posted…Brain FartMy Profile

  19. I’m sorry you’re going through this 🙁 It must be awful to constantly have to worry about other people’s opinions affecting your own. *British hugs*

    I personally have gotten very good at ignoring comments this sort. “Really? I HATE THIS ONE.” and the like don’t have an impact on me any more, and I guess that makes me lucky. People can say whatever they like in my comments section on status updates or on Twitter, and I will rarely take it to heart.

    I hope you manage to get through this. It doesn’t sound like fun. (What would you call it? Discussion slump? Interacting slump? Those both make it seem as though it’s your fault and that you don’t want to speak to anyone at all. Hmmm.)

    Don’t mind my rambling, I’m on a sugar high.

  20. I’m not sure if I’ve ever been in this kind of situation. I tend to not share too much on social media before I actually post my review. I do have Goodreads linked to Twitter, so when I update my status it does go to Twitter, but I usually don’t have a lot of conversations beforehand.

    But I can totally understand why this would be frustrating, especially before your thoughts are fully formalized. And I definitely agree that it is SOOO important to be respectful of other people’s opinions. Just because you might not like a book, that doesn’t mean that someone else could have been completely moved by it.

    I hope things are going better now with these changes.
    Quinn @ Quinn’s Book Nook recently posted…Review: A Lady by Midnight by Tessa DareMy Profile

  21. I think I sometimes am a bit excited when I see someone tweet about a certain book I love, but I’m trying to hold back on it. I can see why some people would find it annoying, so I only do it with closer blog friends. Getting negative feedback on a book is an annoying way to destroy someone’s possible enjoyment. It’s okay to dislike a book and be honest about it, but to jump right onto it when someone is enjoying it.. That’s not the way. I really hope that this ‘isolation’ helps you to find 5-star books 🙂
    Mel@thedailyprophecy recently posted…Fairytale News 31. Changing older ratings?My Profile

  22. […] Christina makes some blogger confessions. […]

  23. […] @ A Reader of Fictions asks you to be gentle with her when expressing your opinions on books she’s […]

  24. Krys says:

    I actually skip out on the tweeting part about the book I’m reading/read until I’ve finished it or on the verge of finishing it. Just like I don’t read a review by another blogger on a book I want to read until I’ve actually read it!
    My Bloglovin’ “like” list has gotten very long :p
    Krys recently posted…Review: School by Hunter GardnerMy Profile

  25. Giselle says:

    Ha I know exactly who you’re talking about I would bet a million $ on it! They do that to me ALL THE EFFIN TIME! Also with my STS posts where they proceed to tweet or comment a list of which books they hated that I got that week. Dude, go jump off a bridge!!

    That is all!
    Giselle recently posted…Review + Series Giveaway: Sunrise by Mike MullinMy Profile

  26. Ellis says:

    I should have commented on this ages ago but I wanted to say a bit more than “people suck (and I’m probably part of people because I’m pretty sure I’ve done this to you and for that I am so so sorry)”. Now, I was just in the shower (TMI probably BUT also THE PLACE where random thoughts and memories attack you) and I remembered something. A long, long time ago I RTed something that mocked straight white men coming into safe spaces and saying they feel discriminated against. (This may not be good English. The shower didn’t do its other job, which is waking me up.)

    I remember you disagreed with that tweet and told me so on gchat. I also remember that I thought it very strange at the time that you addressed me on gchat instead of just on Twitter, but we did have a long and good discussion about it without any randos jumping in and I wanted to thank you for that. This is also kind of the boobwings origin story so if you hadn’t done that, who knows what would have happened. I don’t even want to think about that being a possibility in some alternate universe.

    In any case, I’m really sorry if (probably “that”) I’ve ever done this to you, though I hope I’ve never given you that ridiculously condescending “really?” Making someone feel bad that they enjoyed a book goes on the top shelf of shitty reactions. I’m always wary when I’ve enjoyed quite a few books in a row because 1) I don’t want my streak to break and 2) I always worry that people will think I’ve become less critical. I don’t know, I should just care less about what other people think but they make it so hard when they push their opinion in your face.

    Anyhoo, I’m glad you wrote this post and I wish you all the good books and none of the shitty reactions, of course. ♥
    Ellis recently posted…How to (Pronounce) Dutch (1) – Vowels & DiphthongsMy Profile

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