Can You Judge a Book Without Reading It? | Rants & Rambles

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Rants (7)

Rants & Rambles is a weekly feature where I share my own personal thoughts and opinions about both bookish and blogging related topics. As stated, these are MY OWN opinions and while you can choose to disagree with it, I hope that you at least respect it.


This week on Rants & Rambles I want to discuss:

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Fair warning, this discussion post may be a little rantier than most because I’m a little irritated by the book hating and shaming that has gone down the past few weeks on social media and Goodreads. I don’t usually let things like this get under my skin, but for some strange particular reason, when readers were throwing hate at a debut novel, I had a hard time brushing their remarks off. The book I’m referring to is All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood. Now this discussion isn’t about defending this book (I’ll save that for my review), this discussion is about people judging and hating a book and slamming an author for writing a book that deals with heavy topics WITHOUT ACTUALLY READING IT FIRST!

Hear me out. I’m all for hating and slamming on a book you hate, I’ve done it many of my own reviews. But here’s the thing, I actually read those books, highlighted and made notes about what bothered me and why I hated something. I have proof.

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What I’m trying to understand is HOW CAN ONE HATE AND SLAM A BOOK THEY NEVER ACTUALLY READ?! Like what’s your basis for hating a book you never read? Where are you getting your reasoning, your facts to support your hate because it’s not from the book since you didn’t actually read it. What confuses me more is when I read discussion posts where a person slams a book without actually reading it. Like, why waste a post tearing a book to shred when you didn’t actually read it and already expressed that you won’t be reading it in the first place?

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Let me tell y’all a story about how I came to hate Fifty Shades of Grey. So everyone was talking about this series and one of my co-workers actually enjoyed the series, while the other wanted to set fire to all three books. I decided that I wanted to see what all the controversy was about when it came to this series, so I binge-read all three books. During this time, I didn’t let my co-workers influence my feelings, I wasn’t swayed by social media, I just read and drew my own conclusions based on things I highlighted and noted in my book. I ended up hating the series and wanted to a damn refund for my eBooks. But here’s the thing, I had evidence to support my argument on why FSOG is a bad book. No one can try to change my mind or tell me I’m wrong because I’ll just direct them to all the BS I highlighted. 

I got sidetracked for a minute, but my point of this whole discussion is that making remarks about a cover is okay, side-eyeing the synopsis of a book is okay, but dragging a book that you actually didn’t read it NOT OKAY. I’m okay with someone saying a book isn’t their cup of tea or it just doesn’t appeal to them, but tearing a book to shreds without any actual evidence only makes for a weak argument.  


I’m sorry for my pettiness in this discussion, but I’m tired of everyone judging a labeling books a ‘problematic’ just because of the synopsis. Before we jump on the bandwagon, let’s get the facts straight, read the book first, let people draw their own conclusions and if the book really is problematic, then have at it. Drag that book to hell and back if your little heart desires. I sure as hell won’t stop you.

That is all for this week’s Rants & Rambles. I hope you enjoyed my random thoughts!

Have you ever judged a book without reading it?

Let me know in the comments!

-Ari (2)

17 thoughts on “Can You Judge a Book Without Reading It? | Rants & Rambles

  1. I agree with everything you said. I just cannot, for the life of me, understand the rationale why there are 1stars or negative reviews for books which are not even released yet. If you received an ARC, then I’m sorry you didn’t like it. But if you’re judging based on the blurb, the cover, the author and other external factors – then it just doesn’t make sense. Even worse when people promote their hate online. Like you, I try to read books (especially the popular ones) without any influence from other people. I’ve read books people loved which are just meh to me. Also, I’ve read books people hated which I loved. But whenever I have a problem with a book, I also make sure to have something to back me up. We don’t read and like the same things and THAT’S OKAY. We don’t rate books the same way, and that’s okay too. What’s not okay is rating, hating and slamming on books without even TRYING to read them. Now I’m feeling rant-y too hahahaha.

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    • RANT AWAY, TRISH! I’m so tired of this type of behavior. It’s just hating on something for the sake of hating and that doesn’t make sense to me. Plus, why spend your time bashing something that you didn’t even read? It’s just childish and if you think you’re not going to like something, then move on from it. It’s not like anyone is forcing you to read the book in the first place. 😂😂

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    • Girl, you know I had to same something. People just take things too far, for no damn reason sometimes and it can take the fun out of reading. Also, formulating an opinion on “what you heard” is never a good idea because people can say whatever they want, that doesn’t make what they’re are saying necessarily true.

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    • Yeah, I never understood why people slam a book they never read. If you read a blurb and it doesn’t sound like a book that would interest you or one that you would feel uncomfortable reading, just leave it alone. It makes no sense dragging a book because while you may not like it, someone else will so let’s not ruin the fun for others.

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  2. When I saw the title for this I immediately thought of 50 shades of gray, I haven’t read the full book but I downloaded the sampler of book 1 and that was enough to set my mind on my option and what set it for me was how childish the writing seemed, sometimes I feel bad for judging the book so harshly when I’ve only read the first chapter but I also feel like that chapter gave me enough reason to not want to continue on.
    This is a great post ari, I love how thought provoking it is and it makes me want to check out all the ugly and wonderful things.

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    • I think it’s perfectly fine to judge a book if you at least gave it a chance. If you read a few chapters and realize this is something that is not for you, that’s fine. But I just don’t understand those who just outright bash a book on things they’ve heard from other, especially when those people they’re listening too haven’t read the book either..??? Doesn’t make sense to me. I just wished people would stop jumping the gun and labeling a book a problematic when they haven’t even gotten the facts right.

      If you do decide to pick up All the Ugly and Wonderful Things, just know that it’s not for everyone. It deals with a lot of hard to swallow topics, but it does not whatsoever romanticize a relationship between a young girl and older male.

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      • I dont understand those people either, it makes me think of the people Ive heard talking about the election and spouting off some “fact” that they heard from their best friends uncles coworkers husband who read it off of Reddit. Sorry if that doesn’t make sense but that’s the scenario that immediately came to mind.

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  3. I’m thankful that I haven’t seen any of this recent social media book shredding. I’ll admit, I hate on books that I haven’t fully read, but from which I’ve seen excerpts, read spoilers from. BUT I do it with friends only in private chats. It brings me absolutely nothing positive if I blast it over social media. Plus, doing that almost makes it seem like your attacking/degrading the opinions of those who actually did read it. And not to mention, what a collosal waste of one’s time! Like go read a book or something …

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  4. Great post, Ari! I completely agree. I think that some of the problem lies in the fact that a lot of book bloggers, especially YA book bloggers, are usually still kind of young. And I don’t mean that in a bad way or saying that they don’t have a right to their own opinions – more so, in that they’re just less open to stepping outside of their comfort zone. Books that deal with difficult/taboo topics are more likely to be the victims of this kind of thinking. The bloggers will only see what subject of the book is, but not how it approaches that subject or take the time to see how it is handled and presented. To them, these subjects are just black and white.

    I understand how some subjects are very uncomfortable to read or talk about, trust me I do. But for me, I’d rather push past that and move outside of my comfort zone because I feel that that’s the best way to learn and grow as a person. I actually just bought All the Ugly and Wonderful Things yesterday because I’d heard about it and felt that it was a pretty mature subject for a YA book, so it intrigued me. That’s also the reason that I read Forbidden, which is another book that suffers from the same problem, and I found it both beautiful and sad. I wish others would take the time to read it and see that it’s not glorifying these taboo subjects, but showing all sides of them.

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  5. I guess it depends on the level of “judgement”. I’ve looked at books before and decided that they wouldn’t interest me, and therefore haven’t read them. If someone asked me about it, though, I’d probably respond with, ‘That just doesn’t seem like my cuppa tea’, and not actually diss the book. I’ve not finished reading books and dissed them, though. Fifty Shades of Grey is the only one I can really think of (if I haven’t finished another book, I’ve probably found it boring, and not continued because of that, and therefore wouldn’t give it a bad review in any shape or form. If asked, I’d just say I found it difficult to read and couldn’t finish, but that was just me). However, with Fifty Shades, I literally hated it. I hated it so much that I actually physically wanted to destroy the book. I try and read books to form a valid opinion – like Twilight, for example – but Fifty Shades made me feel physically ill. I couldn’t finish it. I think if I pushed myself any further, I would have actually destroyed the novel. Does that count? I would have read one third. And I hate it. HATE it.
    Other than that, no.

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  6. I guess for me it kind of depends on what you’re basing your judgment on. If you’re just basing it on the fact that a certain topic is dealt with (which I know is the case for All the Ugly and Wonderful Things), then that’s bogus. If you’re judging a book based on the fact that a lot of people who you trust and who have read it are saying that a book is offensive, then that’s more acceptable to me. That’s kind of how I got to dislike 50 Shades of Grey. I haven’t read it (nor will I), but so many people have pointed out how problematic it is, that I feel okay saying that the book is problematic without having actually read it myself. Generally, though, I don’t like forming opinions or making judgments about a book if I haven’t read it yet because even if it seems like the book may be offensive or ridiculous, I don’t want to be criticizing it then read it and realize everything I thought about it was totally wrong.

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  7. I’m so glad I deleted my twitter. This annoyed me with Holding Up the Universe too and only made me want to read it (I had zero interest in the book before the drama). Now, I admit that I will talk shit about books I haven’t read but usually only if I’ve read the author and have read spoilers. But I do that in private, not on social media and I don’t waste my time with the dumb GR reviews or shelves…

    Nereyda│ Nick & Nereyda’s Infinite Booklist

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  10. How can you have an opinion on something you didn’t read? While if I read a really awful review of a book I probably won’t waste my time with it, I’ll try not to rant about it. If I hear a book is really racist or sexist whatever, I may warn people ‘I heard this book is really ‘X’, ubt if they want to read it how can I stop them? I shouldn’t.

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