After accepting that it is, in fact, perfectly fine to dislike (or even hate) the things everyone else seems to like, I had to ask myself why I ever felt the need to be so jerkish when expressing my meanie opinions instead of issuing a simple “just not my thing.” Naturally, I found that it had to do with perception or, more honestly, caring way too damn much what other people thought. Granted, before I bashed said books, I read them first: I won’t talk shit unless I know what I’m talking shit about.
Again: there’s absolutely nothing wrong with disliking media, including books, that everyone seems to love, so don’t get on me about that. Furthermore, I acknowledge that rabid fan bases are not exactly friendly to those of us outside their fold all the time. I mean, yes, I do still have a heart and a libido even though I don’t love that sad book or super-hot character you’re into. Obviously? Maybe not. So, there’s nothing wrong with dislike but there are, as far as I’m concerned, wrong ways to dislike something.
Here are my personal top three Worst Ways, of which I have been guilty more recently than I like to admit:
- If you think disliking something the masses adore makes you cooler than said masses, give up on that right now. Literally nobody cares that you’ve never read/seen/heard of Super Popular Thing. Literally nobody believes that you’ve actually never even seen a copy of the book.
- If you’ve never read Super Popular Thing and you’re openly expressing how much you hate it, well, are you a toddler? Is the thing broccoli? Did you just throw it on the floor without a second thought? How do you know you don’t like it if you don’t taste, er, read it? I mean, sure, it might be outside your usual zone, but say that instead. A good rule of thumb is not to talk shit. But if talk shit you must, make sure you’ve consumed the material so that your opinion is informed.
- Make sure you haven’t forgotten why you love the things you love. Everybody loves something and it’s usually for very personal reasons. People who love Super Popular Thing are, most likely, just like you in that way. I have openly scoffed at the thing I knew someone else loved without knowing why they loved it, and I feel legitimately crappy about that now.
In an ideal world, we readers would just sit around happy that we all love books because books are great and no one would ever need to feel ashamed of what they like or superior for their highbrowier-than-thou tastes. An ideal world this one is not, unfortunately.
Thank you for listening to my unsolicited advice. Well, or does it count as solicited since you clicked the post and read it to the end? I’m going to say yes. What are your tips for being a tasteful hater?
Sign up for our newsletter to have the best of Book Riot delivered straight to your inbox every week. No spam. We promise.