Book Rants: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Today, the BPR princesses are taking on rants. We are definitely no stranger to a good rant here at Book Princess Reviews. Mandy and Sha have shared a few over the past years here — erm, perhaps with Mandy leading the pack — with a couple books that got our blood pumping in the wrong ways.

angry inside out GIF by Disney Pixar

However, with each rant that we write or read, we know there is so much that goes into them. In fact, there are three sides to every rant: the good, the bad, and the ugly. We’re breaking some of those down today.  

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THE GOOD

RANTS NARROW DOWN WHAT PEOPLE SHOULD READ

🔸 Just like I’m sure many bloggers know, the moment that I find an intriguing looking book, I start to look at the reviews. I don’t want to purposely walk into something I won’t enjoy or waste my time on a book that isn’t going to be a jam. If the first few reviews on Goodreads are full on rants, I’m exiting that tab—no matter how promising that book sounded. It is the perfect warning system, and rants have saved me from reading many books I know that I wouldn’t have enjoyed over the years.

RANTS HIGHLIGHT PROBLEMATIC CONTENT

🔸 Another perfect reason is problematic content. Most of the rants that BPR has done in the past have been because books have included problematic content. We definitely have to call out things for future readers. For example, in one book Mandy read, she had to go on a rant because she found it incredibly triggering for those that suffer from past/current eating disorders. There were no trigger warnings—not even a mention in the summary or anywhere on the Internet. The book also had a lot of issues, but she needed to get the mention out. We’ve seen other rants in the past do the same with problematic content that alerts others to its triggering/harming/even offensive material.

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THE BAD

RANTS DISREGARD THE HARD WORK OF THE AUTHOR

🔸 With our unique spot in the book world as book bloggers, we definitely have more insight into all the hard work that goes into publishing a book. Before I was in this deep with the book blogging world, I mean, I knew how much hard work the author would do to write it, but I didn’t really realize the magnitude. When critiquing a book, we can’t forget that hard work went into the process, even if it isn’t our cup of tea. 

RANTS DETER NEW READERS

🔸 Sometimes, one person’s negative rant may deter you from a book that you would have enjoyed. We can’t take “I think this book isn’t good” as gospel! Just because five people go on Goodreads and share extremely unpleasant experiences with a book, doesn’t mean YOU will read the same book and finish with an unpleasant experience.

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THE UGLY

RANTS ARE SHARED WITH THE AUTHORS

🔸 We are definitely on a pretty public platform. Most of reviews aren’t just on our blogs. We put them on our socials, our Goodreads, and more. They’re very visible—which means that authors can find them decently easily. This can definitely make things…complicated. I think we can all remember the Kathleen Hale incident that happened after the author found a bad review of her book. Whenever I post a rant, I do have a paranoid second of omg, what if this author sees??? *goes into rabbit hole* It’s alright to want to vent our feelings about a book, but we should not tag the author or publishing company when doing so. 

RANTS INSULT/BLAME THE AUTHOR

🔸 I don’t know about you, but to me, a negative review is not necessarily a rant review. I could rate a book one star and in the review, list what I disliked and why others might enjoy it. This is a negative review. I could also rate the same book one star and then list everything I disliked in detail asking why WHY was the book like this. This to me, is a rant. But what about the rants that call out the author, blaming them for the poor book quality? That use insults or belittlements? There’s a big difference between airing your grievances with a book and slamming a person—and when reviewers blur these lines (or cross them complete) ranting gets real messy.

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What are your thoughts? Are book rants okay when certain rules are followed, or should we keep are more negative opinions about books to ourselves?

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

 

 

 

 

28 thoughts on “Book Rants: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

  1. I have seen rants that are ranty, but still respectful, and others that really make the reviewer seem mean. I believe everyone is entitled to their opinions, but I have seen reviews where harm is wished upon the author or people say things like, “this book should be destroyed and never have existed”, etc. There is a nice way to state your opinion without being obnoxious, but it seems, the ruder reviewers are, the more people love the rant.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think that is definitely a problem that needs to be addressed within the book community. Rants are very popular. In fact, Mandy and I have noticed that book rants get more views than regular book reviews. For a community based on a love of books, it’s not great to see that unpopular opinions gain so much popularity. I think that it is fine to share both positive and negative reviews. I think that it’s also important that when negative reviews/rants are shared, that they remain respectful of the book’s creator. You raise a good point here.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I get that. I hope I’ve not done that! There have certainly been books that set me off really because of problematic issues, but I prefer not to attack-rant and try to keep in mind people have differing opinions. And I will disclaim that it’s my personal opinion. I can’t speak for Mandy, I know she gets frustrated with books much more easily than I do.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I like the distinction you made between a negative review and a rant. People shouldn’t be kept from sharing their negative opinions on a book and highlighting problematic content, but they should definitely be considerate in their approach. To me, some rants can feel like the writer is yelling at an author and can be quite accusatory, whereas a negative review (if done right) is a constructive conversation starter.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it’s important that reviews keep in mind as they are writing — is this a negative review, or a rant. I try to do it myself! Just as you’re saying, as book bloggers we are here to share our opinions which can sometimes be negative and that’s alright. But we need to be aware of how exactly we are wording ourselves and what our intent is. If a book is poorly written for any reason, I think that should be a moment to say “hey, what can be done in the future to get it right?” Not just bash and tear someone down.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think book rants are okay, but it depends on the context.

    It might be mean to make fun of or belittle an author for making a simple mistake, but sometimes authors can be extremely rude/inappropriate in real life or in their intentions, so that might be an opportunity to rant. Some people might also like to rant about negative aspects of a character or plot, and that can be okay if it’s not too much or too personal. Like, if it’s more of a personal preference than an actual problem with the book, then maybe it’s not the best time to rant.

    But I love seeing people rant in a good way! Rants about positive and good aspects of a book or author are so fun to read, and they overall share great positivity. I like positive ranting, but negative ranting is just not for me. 🤷‍♀️ Great discussion, Sha! 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YES! I didn’t even get to positive rants. (I kind of always think of rant in a negative light, but those positive ones exist and are great to read/hear.) For sure, there needs to be a line when anyone goes on a negative-toned rant about something. You make a good point about authors who react poorly with readers etc. That is something that might lead to rants too.

      Thanks for the comment!

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  4. I definitely agree that one should provide critique of a book without belittling the author! I’ve become especially aware of this in my own reviews lately, and I usually try to frame it as “I personally didn’t like this” not “this was bad.” My only one-star review this year I was *just* unable to do it because it was a non-fiction book that had, like, PROBLEMS. How can you write a non-fiction book that doesn’t paint an accurate picture? Just… sorry, ranting again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I also try to add in that it was “my opinion” and not that the book itself is 100% going to be disliked by everyone. That’s a good thing to keep in mind, well said! I’m not great at always doing it, sometimes I slip and get lost in how frustrated I am, but I’m working on it.

      That DOES sound frustrating. Not to set you off on a rant here and now… but how *can* a non-fiction book not be accurate? That kind of sounds like the point.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I completely agree with your post. Honestly, I think many people get swept away in the anonymity of the internet and forget that real people put their love and effort behind these books. It’s one thing to call out problematic content. It’s another to drag an author through the mud (and share it with them) because you didn’t have a positive opinion of their book. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agreed! Bloggers need to be aware that they are using a public platform to share their opinions. Not everyone shares rant reviews, but when they do (myself included!) they need to remember that there are boundaries. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This is such an important discussion to have! I think that book rants are valid and that people should be allowed to have them, but I also think that rants should be separated from a review. For me, what separates a rant and a review, is someone explaining WHY they didn’t like a certain book. I know that it’s tough to face criticism, especially for authors who work so hard to get their books published, but I also think that negative reviews are important because it will never happen that everyone will love the same thing.

    I have read books before that have had raving positive reviews on Goodreads, but when I read it, there were a lot of things I took issue with. In some books, it could have been that the author dealt with sensitive topics in an insensitive way, and then I’ll write a negative review mentioning it. I don’t think anyone should ever personally attack an author over something that they wrote, but if the rant or review is criticizing a part of the authors work in a way that’s constructive (aka, more than, I hated this because it sucked) I think that it’s valid.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Really well said, Chana. I agree 100% that rants and reviews need to be separate. Both are fine, but if you’re writing a rant you need to know that there are limits to what you can say.

      Attacking an author or baselessly hating someone’s work is not alright. It’s not constructive, and although it might be cathartic in the moment, it will just lead to a lot of bashing and anger afterwards. Like anything, rants need to be done in moderation, I think.

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  7. Great points! I love rants ranging from extreme to rational (depends on the day), but I agree that it’s not the most reliable or professional review when the reviewer gets personal about the author or they’re not acknowledging the good parts of that book. Sure, all of that book might’ve been shitty *in their opinion*, but there’s always an audience out there for each read, so I personally draw a line with rants that talk down to their readers (a.k.a., they act like no one in their right mind should enjoy that book), or go overboard by attacking the author. Anything beyond that, I’m there for the tea. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When I dislike a book, I won’t lie. I go straight to Goodreads and drown myself in all the people who shared my more negative opinion. I’ll just select “1 star reviews” and read them and feel better about disliking something. Even in that case though, the reviews that explain the negative aspects of the book are more enjoyable, if that makes sense, than the ones that just say over and over how “oh this is shitty how dumb.” I agree, but it’s not fun to read a take down piece.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hahaha I do that too! Literally I will look at the 1 and 2 star reviews only, although I agree, the more eloquent and professional negative reviews are more enjoyable to me too; there’s something about a really calm and rational negative review that cuts way deeper than the pure rants imo. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  8. My number one rule when it comes to rants or reviews in general is if you wouldn’t say it to the author in person then *maybe* you shouldn’t say it in your review/rant? Which in a way can be not helpful depending on how much you’d be willing to say XD But i think it’s possible to rant and keep the author bashing to a minimum.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, yeah. As an introverted and very polite person, I can hardly say “you have something in your teeth” to someone I don’t know well. I would never write a less than glowing review for the rest of my life. But that’s a good policy if you are more comfortable with others. Or at least to keep in mind that someone is on the other end, so stay respectful.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I loved this discussion and you included so many valuable points. I think rant reviews can be good as if you feel passionate I definitely think you share your thoughts.
    But I do think negative reviews should be done respectively as I wouldn’t want to be disrespectful to the author and like you said just because you didn’t like it doesn’t mean other won’t so I think you should explain why you didn’t enjoy it so people can make their own judgement on if they want to pick the book up. So I think negative reviews are helpful to the community and you should always feel like you can express your genuine thoughts even if they are negative.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s really well said Sophie. As book bloggers, we’re going to have both positive and negative thoughts about books. We should feel comfortable to share them on our blogs! But we need to be sure to stay respectful to the opinions of others when doing so.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I like rants but I am very much cautious about posting them. I always put in the disclaimer that these are just my opinions and I try not to do any damage to the author/publishing companies. But getting nasty comments is not always easy to handle. I’ve never gotten ones that were too bad, but I have had people be mad about what I had to say and I know I shouldn’t respond but sometimes i dooooo.
    Let’s just say that my ToG book reviews are very popular and are always getting views. And some of those comments are a bit bitter.

    Liked by 1 person

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