Hello, lovely people, and welcome to another rambly discussion here at Of Dragons and Hearts. I’m doing my best to win the Discussion Challenge this year – the link will take you to a space where other great discussions on books and reading can be found, so do click over there and spend some time exploring!
Today, I want to chat about reading bad books. “But wait,” I can hear you say, “why would you want to read bad books in the first place? That’s a no-brainer and this discussion will surely suck.” But here’s the problem: I sometimes read bad books even though I know they will be bad.
And I keep asking myself why.
The fact is that I’m incapable of skipping some books even though I know deep down that they will inevitably piss me off. I recently read Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Torn, fully expecting to roll my eyes at it the entire time (that one ticked me off more than usual, as can be seen here). But at the end of my review, I originally still wrote that I will be reading the last part of the trilogy because I want to know how it ends (I changed that now that I’ve written this post). The same goes for Sarah J. Maas’s A Court of Mist and Fury, which I thought was spectacularly problematic. But I’ll be reading the next one all the same!
One reason (and probably the most important one) is that I want to finish the series. I don’t finish all series that I start, but these have some kind of pull to them – maybe it’s the readability, the popularity (I don’t want to be the only person who hasn’t read SJM’s latest, after all), and maybe it’s just my love of crossing books of the list.
There’s also the loyalty to an author. Do I give up on them if they write one bad book? Two? Four? I’m just never sure if perhaps the next series will be different, you see.
Another reason is that I’m sort of convinced I should read a couple of crappy books in between great ones so I can really appreciate the good ones. This is probably the stupidest reason ever, especially since I would probably stumble onto not-excellent books even if I wasn’t purposefully reading bad ones. I mean, even if I only read books that come highly recommended (or classics), there’s a good chance I, personally, won’t like some of them, so the bell curve of ratings will still be there.
And… that’s it. I have no more reasons for reading bad books.
Okay, maybe I feel like bad books equal fluffy, easy-to-read books (romances and the like), so I pick up books that I know won’t wow me because I just want to switch my mind off for a couple of hours. But that’s also a silly reason because there are loads of good fluffy, easy-to-read books around.
And honestly, sometimes it’s just hard to tell whether a book will be bad or not. I’m becoming relatively skilled with picking my romances (I know how to look for triggers and I usually read at least a few sample pages on Amazon before buying them) but sometimes a book is just a flop.
What am I trying to say here, really?
I’m going to make an effort to read fewer bad books. I know I won’t be able to avoid all of them but I have to try because:
- Life is too short to purposefully read really bad books.
- I am giving my money to authors who write bad books instead of buying good books and supporting good authors (this is all subjective, yeah? Let’s be clear on that, please.).
- I am missing out on thousands upon thousands of fantastically great stories by giving my precious time to bad writing. That’s just unacceptable.
So. I might be dropping some series that I just don’t feel like finishing. I might not buy all the latest releases. I might not buy all the romances I want. We’ll see how that goes. But most of all, I just want to be more mindful when it comes to purchasing – and reading – books. My time is worth everything to me, after all, so I should probably try and make good use of it.
What’s your strategy when it comes to buying (or just reading) books?
Do you ever read books that you know will be bad?
I’d love to hear from you! :)