I had intended to kick off this fourth year of blogging at
RNFF by writing a review of one of the not strictly romances I ready over my summer break—Naomi Novik's spring 2015 fantasy Uprooted. But before I began typing away, I had the urge to check out some other reviews on Goodreads, to see what other folks might have already written about the book's feminist aspects. And there, right at the top of my "Reviews From People You Follow" list, was a long, review of Uprooted, written by a reviewer whose views I respect and typically find myself agreeing with. And the review was filled with reasons why this reviewer didn't like the book. And not just any reasons—specifically feminist reasons.
Reading this review, and thinking about my responses to the experience, made me wonder—what do you think, and what do you feel, when someone whom you like and respect disagrees with your assessment of a book?
For me, it depends both on who is doing the disagreeing, and how strong my own feelings about the book are. If it's a casual acquaintance, and/or a book in which I don't have much of an emotional investment, I can easily shrug off the disagreement. If it's someone closer, especially someone whose opinions are thoughtful and worth listening to, it's a bit harder, although I can usually get back the initial "What? This person I respect doesn't agree with me?? Waaah!" burst of inner dismay to allow my thinking brain to hear and weigh the reasons put forth.
So many people say "Oh, you'll love this book" when they truly mean "I loved this book, and since I like you, you should love it too," without really thinking about whether what the recommender and recommend-ee have in common, what they like and enjoy about each other, is present at all in the book being recommended.
Obviously, not everyone has the same taste in books, even if they share a love of reading. But still, it can throw you for a major loop when a cherished friend and a cherished book just don't get along. . .
While I'm off writing a response on Goodreads to the Novik book, I have a question for you to consider: What makes you feel comfortable enough to recommend a book you love to someone else? And how do you respond when cherish a book, but someone you like hates it?