I’ve been slowly dragging my way through a book I’m not loving. Until recently I would never DNF a book. I’d power through, and complain, but I would get through it, slowly, painfully and…eventually. No matter what.
But over the last few years, I’ve gotten a little better at letting books go that just aren’t grabbing me. My TBR pile is enormous and life is too short to spend time on a book you’re not into. One thing I maybe shouldn’t admit to doing, but I will, is looking at the reviews of books that are not my jam. It’s a morbid curiosity, but I just have to know what other people think. So, after another instance of rolling my eyes at conversation that sounded stilted and unrealistic, I searched.
And you know what? The book I’m dragging my way through has a starred review from Kirkus. It hasn’t made a huge splash but the reviews that were there were largely really positive.
And it reminded me of advice I try to give (and take) when reviews get you down: find your favorite book ever. The one you daydream about. The one that stayed in your head for days after you put it down. The one you recommend to everyone you know. The one you write fanfiction about, you know, if you’re into that sort of thing. *cough* Like me. *cough* And then go find the one-star reviews. If the book is big enough there will be some there. And you’ll read them and call that person an idiot for not knowing what a good book really is!
Because we say it all the time, but I think, we as authors, sometimes forget, at least when our own books are involved: Art is subjective.
Our books are not going to be universally adored, as much as we want them to, and that’s okay. There are a million kinds of books out there for a million different readers, and what I call my cup of tea, may be torture to another person. We don’t have to love the same things. We don’t all have to connect to the same genres, characters, plots, vibes.
What matters is that our stories get found by their perfect readers, that they find their audience. So, while I will finish reading this book. And I will finish! It’s going to go in my Little Free Library when I’m done, to go out into the world and find it’s perfect reader.