You know those books you can’t figure out how to rate? The ones that aren’t bad, but didn’t make you fall in love with them either? I call them “meh” books. I have the hardest time with these books because it takes a while for me to figure out how I feel about them.
I haven’t done a discussion post in such a long time and this has been something that I keep thinking about, so I thought it would be perfect for that! So today, I’ll talk about what are “meh” books for me, why reviewing them is so hard, and if we should recommend them or not.
HOW I RECOGNIZE “MEH” BOOKS
- They are usually 3-star books.
- They tend to be forgettable. A few weeks go by and I don’t remember important parts of the plot anymore.
- I also forget some of the characters’ names or plot points every few pages and have to go back and re-read some parts.
- They have at least one thing going for them, but not enough for me to be completely enthusiastic about them. This could be a cool character, interesting world-building, creative concept, or an entertaining plot.
- They had a lot of potential, but it wasn’t fully realized.
Once I realize how “meh” a book was for me, I dread reviewing it. Sometimes I don’t review them, sometimes I do… and boy, oh, boy, is it task. It usually takes me days to complete a coherent review.
Gushing or ranting about books is so much easier. I know exactly why I loved a book or why I hated it, so I can quickly outline a review and then I just keep adding information until it’s complete. But when a book is in the middle ground, I don’t even know where to start!
I tend to have a hard time pinpointing where the book fell flat for me and, most of the time, the thing that was good in the book is not enough for me to praise it long enough to call it a review (though this is because of my reviewing style). For those reasons, when I review this sort of book, I have like two lines of text and don’t know what else to add.
I get really frustrated because I want to explain why I didn’t love (or hate) the book, but truth be told, sometimes I don’t even know. Maybe the characters didn’t particularly click with me at that point in my life. Or I had recently read a book with a similar plot or concept, so this one didn’t impress me much. No matter the reason, I never know how to go about explaining it.
Of course, in the end I publish a review that I feel okay with, but getting there is hard! Does this happen to you?
IMPOSSIBLE TO RECOMMEND THEM?
You might think, “If a book was so “meh” for you, why would you even consider recommending it?”. Well, some of these books are leaning more towards disliking them, while others towards really liking them. Most of the times, the latter are the ones that I consider for recommendations, but it really depends on why I’m recommending a book.
If someone asks for a specific recommendation and I know they like a certain theme or type of character, I don’t mind recommending a book that fell flat for me. They might enjoy it or even love it because obviously we all like different things. Of course, if I’m going to tell someone to read a book, first I’m going to point at one I truly love. If I don’t have a book I adore that fits what they are looking for, I go for one of the “meh” books.
So many books I’ve read fall in the “meh” category. Reviewing them is always tough and sometimes I doubt recommending them, but in the end, I can’t ignore them. They shape my reading experience as much as the books I love and the ones I hate. Even if they fell short for me, I know they might not for someone else. That’s why I put an effort in reviewing them and why I take them into consideration when I recommend books to others.