My Top Ten Unpopular Bookish Opinions

Posted June 11, 2019 by Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction in Let's Discuss, Top Ten Tuesday / 79 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.
Today’s Top Ten Tuesday is an audiobook freebie, but I chose to keep it simple:

Top Ten Unpopular Bookish Opinions

I thought this would be a really hard topic because, honestly, I didn’t feel like most of my views are all that controversial. But then when I started exploring my past discussion posts, I found that I went through a period where I was talking about some very tough topics that could definitely stir up strong feelings. 

Still, even when I’ve expressed an opinion that I thought might upset a lot of my readers, I usually found that there were quite a few people who either shared my opinion or could totally understand where I was coming from. Pick a subject, any subject, and you’ll probably find a hundred differing opinions.

I thought this topic was really interesting, and it made me want to go back and think about some of the views that I’ve shared that I was nervous about (or just thought might go against the “popular” grain)…

1. I don’t absolutely love book swag or book box subscriptions.

Let’s start with a non-controversial (though perhaps still somewhat unpopular?) opinion, shall we? I don’t love most swag. I mean, I love some of it, but I’m extremely picky. And since book boxes have lots of swag, I’m generally not a fan of them either. Check out my post about swag and here’s the one about book box subscriptions.

2. I no longer post negative reviews.

This isn’t exactly an opinion, but I wrote a whole post explaining why I now only include positive reviews on my blog (hint: it has to do with the fact that I’m on submission). I know lots of people don’t like this policy, but it makes sense for me and my career.

3. I think we sometimes have unrealistic expectations of POC authors and books with POC characters.

This one’s hard to explain without referencing the post I wrote about my reaction to seeing a GR reviewer complain about the English-sounding names in a book with Asian characters. And I don’t know that I’d say my opinions were specifically controversial, but I was hesitant to write about it because there’s part of me that thinks I have no business even engaging in the conversation.

4. I don’t think we should push people to read banned books just because they’re banned.

I wrote a whole post about banned books and how I felt like the message being given was trending toward, “People don’t want you to read these so they must be especially good. Read as many banned books as you can or you’re missing out!” I talk about it much more eloquently in that post, so I suggest you read that if you’re interested in seeing what I had to say.

5. I (sometimes) like to write in books!

I had fun writing this post: I Wrote in a Book and I Liked It. Gasp!

6. I think it’s okay for parents to monitor what their kids read.

Yikes! This one is probably my most unpopular opinion. I know lots of you are yelling, “Censorship!” in your heads, and I honestly get it. Still, I don’t think I’d do anything differently. You can read more about my opinions on this in Sex and Violence in YA Books: Is There a Difference?

7. I love giveaways!

I think I’m supposed to look down on them or something, but I don’t. I love giveaways! But I did write a post about how I Have Giveaway Guilt.

8. I think it’s okay to talk about faith on your blog.

In my early years of blogging, I wrote a post called Faith in Blogging: How to Stay True to Who You Are Without Rocking the Boat. I know many people think you should really just keep your faith to yourself, but that’s hard to do when it affects so much of who you are (including book reviews—for instance, I get frustrated when Christians are only depicted as stereotypical hate-filled people in books).

9. I think sometimes books portray characters as “judgmental” when they’re really just concerned (or being human).

Oh, this is a tough one! I went back and reread my post on Is It Ever Okay to Judge? and I think I’m still just as conflicted now as I was back then. I still think it all comes down to how the issues are handled—I don’t think it’s realistic to expect a person (or a character) to never think negatively about someone else’s choices. How we treat those we disagree with is key, and there really is a difference between judging someone and disagreeing with them (I wrote a post about the other side of the coin in a post about celibacy shaming). Also being open to hearing other people’s views and doing your best to see the world from their point of view is HUGE—I think a lot of judgment would disappear if we just tried to understand others’ perspectives more.

10. I generally don’t have a desire to reread books.

Okay, I wanted to end on a less serious note. This one doesn’t have a specific post to go with it (though, actually, I did write a post about how my kids love to reread and it baffles me). So many bookish folks find comfort in rereading old favorites again and again. Not me. Pretty much the only time I do this is when I have a series I want to finish and it’s been way too long since I read the other books (and even then, I usually try to avoid an actual reread with something like Recaptains).

Whew! Putting all of these tough topics in one post suddenly makes me feel very controversial indeed! (I’m already sort of regretting not just writing a simple post filled with points about how I don’t reread.)

Still, it’s good to think critically and have opinions about things—and all of these posts stirred up some great discussions (I spent a long time rereading comments, and it’s made me that much more thankful to be part of this wonderful community!).

What are your unpopular opinions? I want to know!


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79 responses to “My Top Ten Unpopular Bookish Opinions

  1. I’m so with you on the book swag. I’m meh about it. I have written in books before and highlighted and dog-eared ??‍♀️ Thank you for sharing that about faith. My faith is something that’s always there and it’s tough to sometimes talk about in the blogging world since so many people are against it. But thank you, because that just motivated me more.

    Genesis @ Whispering Chapters recently posted: Swoon-Worthy: Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey
    • It can be hard to balance talking about your faith and making other people uncomfortable. But the fact that you care about doing it in a positive way proves to me that you’re just the type of person who should be sharing. If people only ever hear from the type of Christians who want to shame or condemn and don’t care what anyone else thinks or feels (unfortunately, those are often the loud ones) then they’ll have a skewed view of what faith can be.

  2. I tend not to like book swag, either, because usually, it ends up trashed. If it’s something I choose that I really want, that’s one thing, but most book boxes, I’ve realized, have things that, while cute, would end up tossed because I just don’t need it. The one caveat is bookmarks. I will forever need more of those.

    As a parent, I totally support censorship to a certain age. I mean, when they’re a bit older, eh, she can choose her own books as a teenager. But for now, my kid’s young and isn’t great at rational decision-making yet, which means I have to be her advocate still. Great post!

    Here’s my TTT post.

    Sammie @ The Writerly Way recently posted: 20 Books of Summer Challenge (Summer of the ARCs)
    • That’s exactly how I felt when it came to my kids. I probably wouldn’t have an issue with my older two choosing what to read nowadays, but it turns out they never really did ask me to read anything I wasn’t happy with. And now (much to my sadness) my oldest doesn’t read much at all and my middle daughter reads less than I’d like (I’m usually trying to get her to expand her horizons instead of the other way around!).

  3. I agree with pretty much everything you have to say except for rereading. I don’t reread often, but I enjoy rereading old favorites now then. Chiming in on POC characters – being a POC, it can get weird for me when I’m reading a contemporary book in which the asian characters have asian names or use asian words like nori instead of seaweed. Many adopt English names when they come to the West and give their children English names. And my experience has been that if you’re fluent in English you speak English (especially among younger people).

    Great job handling these potentially controversial topics 🙂

    • Yeah, I was surprised to see people complaining about the Asian’s characters’ American-sounding names. I could list off all of my Asian friends’ names and you’d never know they were Asian unless I included their last names—that seems pretty normal to me!

    • Honestly, it never ended up being much of an issue for me because my kids never got to the point where they were wanting to read certain content before I wanted them to. But I stand behind a parent’s right to decide what their kids are ready for.

  4. I can agree with many of these. Most book swag isn’t really for me – I just like the books. I do think parents should know what their young and tween kids are reading – I would never forbid my kids from reading a book but I’d like to be able to talk to them about what they are reading if necessary. In fact, my desire to know what my kids were reading was what got me into YA – I was a library volunteer in my older child’s school and wanted to help recommend books and started reading some of them. The rest is history!
    PS I didn’t know you were on submission. Crossing my fingers for you!!!!

    Jen Ryland recently posted: NEW YA BOOKS RELEASING JUNE 11
  5. I agree with all of your points. Of course, I recently went through the whole should I or shouldn’t I about publishing negative reviews. I ended up deciding to publish them, but making sure I added a line about respect towards the author.

    And, I absolutely monitor the books my kids read! They usually don’t know. I swipe them and read them after my kids do, but I want to make sure I’m aware of any concerning topics they may have read about so that I can be prepared if they have questions.

    Renee @ ReneesBookcase recently posted: Why I am Weird – Dellybird’s Top Ten Tuesday Tag
  6. I think I’ve discussed with you before that I feel the same about book swag. And I just can’t seem to get the whole deal with buying a book subscription box. I already have so many books to read, I don’t need to take a chance of getting one I’ve already read, or that I may not want. I used to reread all the time, don’t have time as much anymore, but there are so many new books out there, I don’t mind. Fun post!

    Lisa Mandina (Lisa Loves Literature) recently posted: Blog Tour Review: Dying to Meet You by Rich Amooi
  7. I’m not a big rereader either. I’d love to really, but I barely have time to read other books for the first time! Granted I did break my streak of not rereading a book this year for Stephanie Garber’s Caraval trilogy! The last time I reread might have been before my blog or right in that first year. By 2010 I was no longer in the rereading game, Borders closed and I went to my first RT Conference. I still have books from both that I need to read too!

    Here’s my Tuesday Post

    Have a GREAT day!

    Old Follower 🙂

  8. I say yes to all of this. I never posted negative reviews. There’s too much bad juju out in the world, and I want to try and keep it positive. I agree, that people are really tough on POC authors. I have read posts by several authors that just left me shaking my head.

    Sam@wlabb recently posted: Top Ten Tuesday: Ba Ba Black Sheep
  9. This is a great list. I completely agree with you about book swag and subscription boxes. They’re just not for me. I’ve also really gotten away from writing strictly negative reviews. If I really hate a book, I usually just quickly mention on Goodreads that it didn’t work for me and move on.

  10. I think I need to do this post because it is fun. Maybe I’ll post it on Thursday or something so it’s still a TTT hah. I actually think all of these are fine, even if they’re not things I may personally do? I mean- one of the most awesome things about our diverse community is that we can agree to disagree on some stuff (or in theory, should be able to). I mean you and I have different views on certain stuff (like monitoring reading) but I still absolutely respect your decisions! And everyone should be able to talk about faith on their blog! Even if it isn’t part of my life, I am very happy to read about it as part of yours, and something that makes you YOU! And while I love writing a snarky review (ha) it makes complete sense why you don’t- and even if you just didn’t want to because you just… didn’t, that is okay too!

    Though I also agree with you on a ton too! Like subscription boxes? Dude they cost more than my electric bill hahah. I am picky about swag, too! I also love giveaways, and I almost never re-read. The one exception being The Hunger Games series!

    Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight recently posted: Reviews in a Minute: My Only June Review Books
  11. I’m not a fan of book swag either. What are we supposed to do with it? I love giveaways, too! I’m also for monitoring kids reading. As parents shouldn’t we think about what goes into their brain? Not all things written are positive/healthy or appropriate for all ages.

    I only do re-reads of books I REALLY love, and it’s usually by audio because I don’t have time otherwise. Great post, Nicole. 🙂

  12. I love re-reading books/my favourite parts of books. It’s like a soothing/comfort thing. Especially when ill or in a slump.

    I don’t see why your opinions would be considered controversial. You have your reasons for them. 🙂

    Nicci @ Sunny Buzzy Books recently posted: Bookish Memes! #1
    • It’s always a little unnerving to post an opinion that people have strong feelings about, even if you have your reasons. I’ve seen people get skewered on Twitter for less. Luckily the actual book blogosphere is a lot more forgiving than bookish Twitter! LOL!

  13. Lots of interesting points! I love rereading but I can see why it is not attractive to all. I also share your point (sort of) for negative reviews. I leave one starting 3/5 and more… I will only leave one really negative if I found there was a problematic point in the book, like heavy sexism or raped passed as making love or things like that

    • I used to post negative reviews (trying to stay as constructive as I could with my criticism), so I don’t begrudge anyone who posts them. It just started to feel wrong as I embarked on my journey to get published—dissing other writers’ (and editors’) work could potentially burn bridges.

  14. I like to reread, but I find I just don’t have a lot of time for it these days, when I’m trying to create content for my own blog. Though, I did a two-week rereading project earlier this year and enjoyed it!

    I agree about swag and subscription boxes – the idea of them appeals to me, I like getting stuff in the mail, but too much clutter bothers me and I hate useless things. Plus, the boxes are so expensive and I can’t justify spending the money on something I’m not even guaranteed to like!

  15. I love that you included so many different “unpopular opinions” than most. It really does make you think. I like writing in books sometimes too – doesn’t bother me at all. I think people/characters can definitely disagree with someone without being judgmental. What’s good for one person isn’t good for another and all that.


    • Yeah, and sometimes I felt like the term judgmental is used a bit broadly—in the example I gave, the viewpoint of the book seemed to be that the MC’s friends were being judgmental for expressing concern over her dating a drug dealer! Um, that’s not being judgmental in my book, that’s being a good friend!

  16. Isn’t it funny how sometimes we expect a view to be controversial and a whole bunch of people end up agreeing? You just never know. 🙂 I agree with #4 and #6 so much. Just because a book is banned doesn’t mean it’s awesome, or that I want to read it. It was probably banned for a reason lol. Okay I know everyone hates banning books, but the person banning it probably had good intentions, or a legitimate reason why they thought it was bad? I mean, we might not agree or think it’s misguided, but… yeah I guess that’s probably an unpopular opinion right there haha! And monitoring kids’ reads- I don’t know, that just seems like good parenting to me?

    I personally love it when people share their faith.

    I don’t re- read either, although as a kid I did. But as an adult- not so much.

    • Yeah, I could probably try to come up with the most “out there” opinion about something and I’m sure I could find someone who agreed with it. But I do think I”m in the minority about some of these thoughts, at least in the book blogging community. It’s nice to know that my little corner of the blogging world is so supportive, though, even when we disagree!

  17. With very rare exceptions (like the bonus letter from I’ll Meet You There that you were kind enough to send me!), I’m not a fan of bookish swag, either. I have enough “stuff” and don’t need more. And I abhor clutter. So… no swag. And I don’t understand the push to read banned books. Just because a booked is banned doesn’t make it “good” (and neither does it make it “bad”). Maybe it’s just the titillation factor? Like, “oooh, we’re doing something wrong and getting away with it by reading this book”? Often, a book was banned so long ago that whatever it was banned for is no longer offensive or something that would raise eyebrows.

    • Yes, I definitely think there have been books that are banned for the “wrong” reasons, but I feel like there’s a big push around banned books month to hurry up and read all the banned books you can or you’re giving in to the people who want to control your reading. I’m not a fan of that message.

  18. Oh, I wish I had included my distaste for re-reading a book on my list! I had trouble coming up with 10 (and in the end only listed 8) but now that I am reading everyone’s lists, I am seeing there were some I could have added! I can’t turn the page on a book if I know what is going to happen. The only time I re-read is if so much time has passed that I mostly have forgotten the book. I re-read the Lord of Rings Trilogy before the movies came out because I had read them originally in middle school and the movies came out 10-15 years later. Great list!

  19. I love your opinion about watching what your kids read. I know my kids and what they’re ready for in terms of subjects and themes, and I’m okay with telling them, “No, I’d wait a year or two on that one.” There will come a point, maybe around 14 or 15, where I will stop watching what they read from fiction, but I’m a ways off from that.

    S. J. Pajonas recently posted: How I Stopped My Social Media Addiction
  20. Great post. I don’t really reread much either. Too many other books I want to get to. My main exceptions have been Stephen King and Little Women. Although I am planning a reread of The Art of Racing in the Rain. I agree parents should be aware of what their kids are reading but then I can see the counterpart as well. My parents didn’t care what I was reading when I was growing up and was even buying me Stephen King in the 6th grade. Of course, my tendencies went more toward horror than books that were sexual in nature.

    • I think reading horror in 6th grade might be fine for some kids and not for others—that would have made two of my three have nightmares for months! (The other one probably would have been fine with it, but never really wanted to read horror.) 🙂

  21. I love my sway but admittedly use it mostly for bookstagram photos. I am not a huge fan of book box subscriptions. I agree about talking about faith on your blogs. I do love giveaways but I don’t follow someone just because I want to enter their giveaway >.> just because I know I’d never properly engage. I think it’s alright for parents to limit or control what their child reads as long as they have valid reasons for doing so? I think you do, so I am all for it! Besides, when they’re 18 they are allowed to go off and read whatever they would like to 😛

    Olivia Roach recently posted: American Fairytale [Book Review]
    • Sounds like we match up pretty well then.

      Ironically, it never became much of an issue with my kids wanting to read things I wasn’t comfortable with. If anything, I think I’ve pushed my daughter to push her boundaries a little bit because otherwise she’d have stuck with only middle grade reads forever. 🙂

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