on annotations, book reviews and bookish pet peeves

Read Jolen’s post here.

I don’t annotate books. I hate writing on my physical books for I feel like that’s a major sin any bookish person would do on their print copies. I use sticky notes if there is something I want to note or write the page down on a notebook and put my thoughts in there. I don’t highlight my favorite quotes in a novel either. I use transparent sticky bookmarks. To make my life easier, I read in my Kindle because I can highlight and put notes in there how many times I like without physically harming the book.

Relatability as basis of one’s reading experience. If it happens all the time, then yes it could be annoying. It’s common for readers to find books they would easily understand and could see themselves with. It’s easier to read a book you could connect with than a character you would have to decipher to get what they’re up to. Sometimes it’s not even relatability per se but how they understood the character’s actions or personality. I wouldn’t call them self-absorbed unless that’s their only basis of how they rate the novel. Most of the time readers would ask themselves; did l like it? Was the ending good? Does the attitude of the protagonist makes sense? Was the narrative okay? Was it boring? Was the pacing dragging? Was the world building solid?

When I make reviews I make it a point to discuss the narrative, the character’s development and the pros and cons of the novel. I don’t like one dimensional characters, they often make me want to hurl the book across the room. One of the worst heroines I had the misfortune of reading was Eona from a book by Alison Goodman. I gave this a one star rating no matter how good the world building was because the freaking heroine doesn’t handle decisions very well to the very end. That novel has an average rating of 4.12, with over 30k+ readers with majority of them singing praises for that series. Am I a minority? Yes, the goddamn heroine has no character development and it annoyed the hell out of me. Sounds shallow, right? I read to enjoy not commit murder.

It’s always subjective why one like a book or not. You said these readers who look for relatability shun other pieces of literary, maybe what they are looking for is not in that book. It’s hard to read a book on a certain topic if you are going through something similar right now. Take it from me. I had to refuse a beta reading request because the book was about break up and I was not ready to read one about it yet back then. It took me a year since its publication to finally get my hands on that book. Did relatability affect my book judgement? Yes. This time, it can’t be helped.

This industry is still business especially on mainstream novels. There was a time paranormal novels are so in after the Twilight saga, almost all the books you’ll find months after that are full of Twilight tropes. These are proven formulas that sell. I discussed this once in Off the Wall, when Pop Fiction here in the Philippines had a sudden massive following that almost all publishers get books from Wattpad.

I’d been in the book blogging community long enough to see how readers and reviewers develop their book choices. Heck, I found my renewed love for reading because of Twilight Saga but I did not stop from there. It took me years to expand from my reading comfort zones. Sometimes preference change as you grow old. You cannot make a person read something if they don’t find the urge to do it. The only time you’ll rethink how you see these readers is if they won’t ever grow up, literary speaking.

Book Review Pet Peeves. Authors who rate their books 5 stars. I don’t get it. If I see an author doing that, I skip the book no matter how good the legit reviews are.

Reviews with so many GIF. Damn, can’t they express what they want to say in words?

Overly positive reviews even if the book has a so-so average rating because it’s an ARC. It’s the reason I don’t accept copies from authors or publishers when I was still active in the book blogging community. I buy the book and bash it all I want if it sucks.

Reviewing books that are the current hype. It generates traffic. I read and review books after their hype are long over.

Reviews with no sense at all. All fangirling. All “it’s soooo awesome, great, best read of all time” with no explanation to back up their claims.

– wl, a.

Here’s the state of my current bookshelf. I trimmed down the books I have, sold and gave away those that I won’t be reading anymore and gave others to my friends and relatives. My books are all over the place, you’ll find several on top of the dresser, on the coffee table, on the computer table, sometimes every corner of the house if I don’t tidy it up. Since I always travel, you’ll see one in my bag too.


6 Replies to “on annotations, book reviews and bookish pet peeves”

  1. Spicy! Haha. Salamat sa inyo ni Thea gagamit na rin ako n’ung sticky films! 🙂

    I never claimed naman that relatability is in and of itself invalid — I just don’t think it’s enough. Using relatability as the ONLY yardstick by which we measure a book’s value makes for a “hopelessly reductive reading experience,” ika nga ni Rebecca Mead (http://bit.ly/1obt6Jq). I agree with everything Mead said in that link, by the way, just in case any of you would care to read it.

    Anywaaays, ‘wag na nga akong mag-explain! Hahaha. Magkaiba kasi talaga tayo ng pinanggagalingan at mauuwi lang din tayo sa pluralism (kanya-kanyang paniniwala). Pero ituloy natin ang buddy reading baks. Recommend ka ng libro, basahin ko habang wala pa ako sa school pramis! 🙂


    1. Binasa ko at nagegets kita, baks. Healthy naman ang mga ganitong discussions. Wag lang tayong magawi sa politics kasi umiinit ulo ko diyan. Hahahaha.

      Easy read muna tayo? Or gusto mo kong sabayan sa GoT eme ko. Hahaha. Wala ko maisip na libro.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. In my case though, I looove writing on books. When I buy hand-me-down books din, natutuwa ako when it turns out na may annotation ng previous owner. I feel like I’m talking to a friend who agrees to my thought or has a different opinion. Para siyang “di ba?!” or “oooh, I see…” moment.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “Reviewing books that are the current hype. It generates traffic. I read and review books after their hype are long over.”

    This is me with movies. I didn’t watch Harry Potter or LOTR while everyone was talking about them. I waited for DVDs. I don’t like my judgment be clouded by passionate lovers and haters of the movies, that’s why.


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