Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Random Musings (7): The Abhorent Trend of Book-Judging

Have you ever felt judged when you're reading Twilight in school/work?
Have you ever felt embarrassed to be reading Fifty Shades in the train with it's characteristic grey cover terrifyingly visible for all fellow commuters to stare and judge?
Have you ever felt ashamed to be holding a book with a half-naked hunk on the cover out in public?

Well, I'd say those are just society's ill-informed stereotypes at work. I find it so annoying that people who have no right to judge a book judge and think they're all "righteous/mature" to tell a reader to continue reading a book pegged by the public as childish/unscrupulous/not-intellectual or publicly judge a reader leading to said reader feeling self-conscious and even stop reading that particular genre altogether. They think that the book is so and so, so the reader must also be immoral and stupid and all that crap. But you know what? They can go screw themselves because:

Firstly, I can assure you that the majority of them hasn't even read the book yet. And a large proportion of those idiots base their misguided impressions of those books on the poor book's adapted movie, which in most cases do not do justice to the book in question. (And many a times do not follow the events and descriptions in the book all that religiously.)

Secondly, if you want to judge a book, pease be sure to actually like that particular genre. It would be even better if you were an avid reader of that genre too.

Let's say I'm a fan of those political high fantasy with lots of magicky warfare, do I go off and rate a YA contemporary romance? NO, because of course I'd find the book too slow and fluffy for my liking. Say I'm a fan of non-fiction self-help, do I go off and judge a BDSM erotica? HELL TO THE NO, because even a person with half a brain knows why. IF I'M A PERSON WHO DOESN'T EVEN LIKE BOOKS, DO I GO AROUND SPREADING MY PREJUDICED OPINIONS ABOUT A PARTICULAR BOOK? Especially a book about to be made into a movie?

Not only are you going to incur the wrath of fans, you are also going to affect ticket sales on premier day and that's going to affect the author's livelihood and be a total assface.

Reviews are meant to assure potential readers of a book's quality, so any bad reviews will just deter them when it could've been a favorite read. So, just don't fucking pick up the book with all yer biased, preconceived prejudism all-ready to rate it a one star.

Ooo, I think Twilight is lame, therefore I am sooo mature and sooo cool.

Please, spare me.

Actually, talking about Twilight brings me to another issue that's been bothering me for awhile. But just to end off with the Twilight thing, it's not that I'm a twihard or anything, but I read this post on Jennifer L. Armentrout's Facebook page (for the life of me, I cannot find that post. It was posted a few weeks ago I think) about how people always sneer at the mention of Twilight but how it deserves some respect. While I would agree that the love triangle wasn't the best I've ever read or the most nicely executed one, it was a book that precipitated the entire YA craze and prompted Hollywood directors to take up novels to turn them into films. It might not be top-notch, but it was what made reading popular again and that in itself should warrant some respect. It's like Wonder Girls in Kpop - they might not be the most talented girl group or the most beautiful, but they brought Kpop to the world.

Fifty Shades may not be written in the most lyrical or beautiful of ways, but come on, how many people actually knew the word erotica even existed before Fifty made it famous? (And the fact that it has a series when most other eroticas are standalones just proves that it has a proper plot.)

Ok, so about this other topic, it's about books being made into films. Is it a boon or bane?

(This discussion will be shorter, I promise.)

This has obvious boons of course, such as authors getting their well-deserved rewards for all their hard work and for bringing such amazing colors into us reader's lives, but for a reader... For me, really, I just don't think it's all that great.

Other than Hunger Games, I thought that all the other books-to-movies were a bust. More often than not the books being adapted are thick with shitloads of information and beautiful descriptions that the movies can't incorporate or pull off. They have budgets, limited screen time and ultimately, there are some things that are just humanly impossible to enact. Like the ethereal beauty of faes or feral handsomeness of predatory changelings.

Then there are those who do not follow the book at all. Just look at the mess Percy Jackson the movie made of the book. (Have you watched Sea of Monsters?? Holy shit) And TMI IMO didn't do justice to the book at all.

Yes, that is Clarisse with a recycled rice sack the magical golden fleece.

Now I'm seriously afraid for Fifty Shades cause from the movie stills being released/leaked... :((

And then there's Karen Marie Moning's quote from Darkfever:

I'm just saying that books being made into films might not be all rainbows and celebration. Fan of the books will always have their own ideal imagining of said books in their bookish minds, and it's - I wouldn't say heartbreaking, but it comes close - really saddening when a good book attracts the wrong kind of attention and garners haters for it.

Wow, thank you for staying with me all the way!
What's you view on public stereotypes and books being adapted into movies? Have you ever wanted to punch someone for judging you for reading a book they haven't read yet?


  1. I LOVE this post. Thank you for talking about this – I loved Twilight and totes agree with you on how it really kicked off the industry. Bella wasn't the best heroine, but the world Stephenie Meyer created was amazing and fans shouldn't get flak for reading Twilight (or any other book deemed to be "lame" and "stupid") just because of its movie.

    While movies don't usually turn out as awesome as the books, it's all for entertainment purposes. By all means, pick up the book and relive the magic (if the movie was good), or get a different perspective by reading the book (if the movie wasn't good). No one's stopping anybody from doing that. People really do go overboard with bashing something and then making a big hoo-ha out of the matter. We should never judge a book by its movie!

    Sherlyn @ Mermaid with a Book

    1. Hey thanks, Sherlyn! :)) Yeah precisely, that's what I keep trying to tell my friends! But they still continuing judging my poor Fifty. :(( Sighz..

  2. This is all soo true!! Also I'm loving the kpop reference ;)) I definitely felt judged for reading Fifty Shades of Grey in public, but I completely agree that you still have to give books like Fifty Shades/Twilight credit for starting a craze and that's something that isn't easy in this day and age. I like both of them but I agree that neither are works of literary genius but undeniably they kickstarted something in people and encouraged them to pick up a book again and imo that's brilliant!!

    Great post :))

    ~ New follower ~

    Laura @ What's Hot?

  3. That was quite the opinionated piece. I'm one of the majority who place themselves on a moral pedestal and judge people without having read the book - hence I don't quite agree with you on the first bit BUT rest assured I do understand your POV and see your point on many counts. But do try to be more understanding of us judgmental imbeciles; there has to be some reason many people behave this way right?

    Erotica, for example: I think it would be a safe generalization to say that much of society frowns on erotica, and with reason. Many of us have been brought up in such an environment.. and here in SG we do have quite a large fraction of conservative people. That already characterizes much of our behaviour toward anything in that field. That sets the base line for disapproval. I would think that the hype about fifty shades and the subsequent slew of erotica books, considering this prevalent and inherent mindset, would only serve to worsen the prejudice; either pull people towards acceptance or push them further away than ever. Also, IMO to see such books so freely available and accessible to children would be a cause for worry.

    I also don't think we should be too quick to brush off bad reviews, assuming it means "this book sucks" + a list of all the bad things about the book. As much as glowing and good reviews are important in assuring potential audience of the quality of a book, bad reviews do serve the same purpose to some extent. Both sides of the spectrum will be biased. I personally make it a point to read both good and bad reviews, and sometimes only after I've finished the book and formed my own opinions about it. I think it gives two sides to the story and provides a much richer reading experience and understanding of the book.

    So yup, my one cent worth of unfiltered thoughts. I have no intention of being antagonistic or disapproving, and do forgive me if it comes across that way. Just sharing my point of view. ((: Thank you(!!) for sharing your thoughts on these matters; they've made me think and reflect on some of my own feelings and behaviour with regard to such issues. Keep em coming, Yet Peng! And pleeeeaaaseee lend me Kinslayer soon ;-)


  4. I get SO angry at all the Twilight bashing. It's just not far and it's not even respectful. Twilight is a book just like ANY other book, right?! And it's not even the worst written out there. Okay, okay *deep breath* I'm not even a Twilight fan actually... >_< I didn't mind it, but it wasn't brilliant to me. It's just that I HATE it when people bash a book they haven't even read! That bugs me so much. I also think books-to-movies are usually...eh...horrible. ;) But some are good! I like The Perks of being a Wallflower adaption. Also THG...but Percy Jackson has been quite hopeless so far.

    1. Oh, and PS: in your header the "story" is missing the "y". Sorry! >_< It's awkward saying that, but I just didn't know if you knew?


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Cyp's Abbreviation Dictionary

DNF = Did Not Finish
HEA = Happily Ever After
PNR = Paranormal Romance
UF = Urban Fantasy
YA = Young Adult

Erotica Reference

BDSM = Bondage/Discipline, Dominant/Submissive, Sadism/Masochism
f/f = female/female
m/f = male/female
m/m = male/male


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