Books

23 November 2014

Liking and not liking

It is interesting to reflect on the fact that a review is simply one person's experience of something, and, in the case of this blog, that something is a book. When I write that I do not particularly like a certain book, there are probably thousands of others 'out there' who would disagree; the same is true when I extoll the merits of a book - there will always be others who do not agree with me, for whatever reason. As individuals, we have the right to like or dislike, but, there should always be some kind of intellectual or emotional basis for our liking or disliking: if we say that we like something, then we have to be able to give a reason for our opinion.

The line between like and dislike is heavily nuanced, especially when it comes to books. For example, I may like the theme of the book, but I may be disappointed with the characterization. I may love the language, but I may feel that the story itself is a non-story. Nothing is really ever black and white.

Unfortunately, certain social media sites ignore the nuances and settle for the black and white - we like or we dislike. I feel that this is having a marked effect on how many people now regard other people and the world in general: people are good or bad, actions are right or wrong, political decisions are beneficial or disastrous - there is nothing in between. Are we beginning to lose the ability to form intelligent, considered opinions on things where like and dislike are actually at opposite ends of the scale and where we should be able to verbally defend our reasons for standing at some point in between?