The Seven Stages of Not Loving an “It” Book

This is a guest post from Kat Howard. Kat lives in New Hampshire, where she writes, reads, and does various other bookish activities. Follow her on Twitter @KatWithSword.


(As elucidated by someone who has been there)

Stage 1: Discovery

You’ve just heard of a new book. Maybe it was through a review. Maybe because you saw it mentioned on Twitter. The how doesn’t matter. What matters is, it sounds great. The flap copy makes it sound like exactly your thing, like the precise book you’ve been craving. You make your pre-order, call your library, and start counting the days until it will be in your hands.

Stage 2: Excitement

The book, the one you’re so excited to read, it’s everywhere! All the bloggers are blogging it! Your entire timeline is raving about how wonderful it is. Even people you didn’t know read this sort of thing are telling you that this book is the best. You’ve never been so jealous of people with ARCs. You just know this is going to be your new favorite book.

Stage 3: Reading

It’s here! It’s finally here. You cancel plans, find your snacks, and curl up with your book.

Stage 4: Doubt

It’s.. it’s not great. Did that just happen? No one said anything about that. And the writing… well, I mean, it’s fine. There are words and they appear to be arranged into sentences. But where are those fabulous characters you were promised? When does it actually get good? Maybe another fifty pages. Sometimes things start slow. Every book has rough spots.

Stage 5: Self-doubt

Maybe… maybe you missed something. Maybe you skipped a chapter. Everyone else loves this book. It got three starred reviews, and hit the Times list! It must be great. So what is wrong with you that finishing it feels like a chore, and you also suspect you might actually hate it? It can’t be the book – it must be you.

Stage 6: Rage

It’s not you – it’s the book. You slam the cover shut. You’re not reading another page. What is wrong with your friends, that they told you you would love this? What is wrong with everyone, that this is the book they are raving about?

Stage 7: Acceptance

No book is for everyone. This book has found its audience, and that’s great, but you are not a part of that audience and that’s great, too. Really. You might feel like you’re the odd one out, and sure, sometimes it’s worse, disliking a book you were sure you were going to love, but trust me – there are other readers that book didn’t work for either. The best cure? Read something else.


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