Discussion: On Being the Black Sheep



Yesterday’s Top Ten Tuesday post prompted bloggers to write about books that they liked more or less than they thought they would. Lately, I’ve been feeling like I’m the black sheep on a LOT of books! By this point in time in my “reading career”, I know what kind of books I like, what genres I prefer, what writing styles I don’t get along with, etc… but sometimes you just don’t know that a writing style or a character flaw or a huge red flag will throw you off until you start reading. If it’s not a book that’s been getting a ton of attention, I’ll usually DNF or put it to the side and check out reviews some time in the future but for many big-name authors or highly hyped books, I end up asking myself what’s wrong with me and why I didn’t like this book as much as the rest of the world.

Being the black sheep can kind of suck. A lot. I’m okay with being the one that doesn’t like what everyone else does. There are plenty of things that I’m not keen on that the world seems to love and it doesn’t bother me: Football. The color pink. Songs on the radio. Shopping. Makeup. I couldn’t care less to be in the minority there… but when it’s books it’s just… different. I actually don’t mind being in the minority on a book and being the one who didn’t like it when everyone else did but the real sting happens because I actually care about what other people are reading. I want to like the same books as my best friends — I mean, I met them through blogging and books are how we met and something that we bond about every single day — so when my friends love something and I don’t, it’s more personal than me just having a different taste than everyone else. You don’t have to like all of the same things as your friends but when they’re passionate about something and you’re not, being the black sheep feels even worse. (And then I’m afraid my friends are going to dump me.)

Aside from being the odd man out, sometimes I feel just plain uncouth. I’ve tried many, many times and I’m just not a person who connects with certain reading styles or trying to read some classics (again). When I’m the odd person out on a book that had beautiful writing, I can see that it’s there but it’s just not something I connect with. I can certainly appreciate an author’s writing style and I’m not a person who needs action for a book to be interesting or moving, but there are some styles that I just don’t click with and I feel just plain dumb when I don’t. I end up feeling like my friends are so much more sophisticated for enjoying those styles while I allow myself to be swept away in an action-packed fantasy or fluffy contemporary novel. And I know, I know, we all read what we want and no shame in that, and I really don’t have shame in what I enjoy reading. Sometimes I just feel ashamed when I don’t enjoy something and like I really should have loved it too. (Thankfully my friends haven’t left me yet so that’s good.)

Then there are the times where I feel just plain crazy being the black sheep on a book. Or rather, I ask myself, is everyone else crazy? I don’t feel bad when I don’t enjoy a book because of poor plot structure, undeveloped characters, or cheesy romances but then I wonder how so many people loved the same book and rated it five stars when I rated it two or three. These are the moments that stump me the most. I know not everyone will enjoy a book but five stars??? Versus my two/three??? How did these people enjoy this book so much and I didn’t? I guess a lot of it has to do with personal preference, of course, and a lot of my reading experiences really have to do with timing. Books that I read early on in my blogging career were easy, fun, and exciting in many cases because I hadn’t read anything like them.

TWILIGHT was great when I was a teenager because it was popular, dramatic, and I hadn’t read a book about vampires before. SWEET EVIL was like, the best book ever when I read it and as the years went by and I tried to continue the series, I easily fell out of love with writing, concept, and pretty much everything about it, not even making it to the last book. I read these at points in my life that were perfect moments to read these books and if I read them now, they would be cheesy and I’m sure I wouldn’t love them at all like I had all those years ago. And maybe this is the case with all of these books that people are enjoying that I’m not. Maybe these people are reading them at a good time in their life and these are moments when they’re just enjoying a book and not really caring about plot holes or cheesy moments. I know I do that a lot with books — if I’m really enjoying something, I just roll with it and don’t even care if an author uses the wrong scientific term or forgot that something happened three years ago and not five. Then there are the books where a red flag throws me off in the very beginning and I pick everything else apart from there.

It’s not that I need to fit in with every book but sometimes it’s hard being the opposite of a crowd when it’s something that’s so popular! Seeing merch everywhere for the book, raving reviews, reading updates… it’s all just so… blah and makes me wish that I at least liked it a little bit so I could understand where everyone is coming from. Thankfully, I know myself well enough that I like what I like and I don’t what I don’t and I don’t have to “fit in” with the crowd, even if it means I’m the crazy one who didn’t like the new hit release!

The one shining moment about being the black sheep on a book is when you find other black sheep. We don’t need to fit in but there is some validation of your reactions and feelings and it’s like WOOOOO! Someone else who agrees! I know plenty of us are happy to be ourselves or even to go against the grain but deep down, it’s human nature to want to connect with someone and enjoy the same things that someone else does. Find another black sheep to rant and revel with can be a glorious moment when you find it, so there’s always at least one silver lining in those black sheep reads!

Do you find yourself being on the opposite of popular books and reviews? Do you ever feel like the odd person out when it comes to those black sheep reads? Tell me your stories!

Hi, I'm Brittany!
Hi, I'm Brittany!

I'm an avid reader, candle-maker, and audiobook lover! Here you'll find book reviews, fun blog posts, and my other loves of photography & craft beer!

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9 thoughts on “Discussion: On Being the Black Sheep

  1. Terri LeBlanc

    I can’t tell you how much I love this post! Being the black sheep is one of the reasons I almost didn’t start a blog at all. I’m never reading the latest and the greatest. I don’t fit in with the typical English and literature majors. All of this is one of the reasons I chose Second Run Reviews as my blog name. It gave me the freedom to like what I like and talk about it obsessively.

    (BTW, I don’t get makeup and shopping either.)

  2. Kelly

    Secret? Sometimes I secretly like being the black sheep. I love being the person who comes at something from a different angle, not because I think I’m going to change anyone’s mind (and not that I even want to), but I love when you can see someone who’s about to respond, stop, and go…”I never thought about it like that before.” Makes for some interesting conversations!

  3. Cassi @ My Thoughts Literally

    I feel this so much lately. I have been such a black sheep on a lot of super popular books. I do think a part of is just a timing issue. I’m just getting out of a very bad reading slump so anything I read during that time was always going to be hard for me to enjoy. It kind of sucks because they didn’t have a fair advantage. But I also think part of it may just be the hype. I get really high expectations with super hyped books if they seem like my kind of read. So if I don’t enjoy it, then I feel like it didn’t live up to the hype. It’s hard when you are the black sheep because then it’s harder to say that “it’s not you, it’s me.” But that’s why finding someone else who didn’t enjoy it is so great!

  4. Amy Shaw

    I know I’ve felt this way at times, and I went through an especially rough slump last year where I wondered if YA was even for me anymore. But then I finally found a new 5-star YA read and fell in love all over again. Like you said, some books just don’t click with me for whatever reason, and I find myself wondering why it seemed to work for everyone else. I also feel weird when I see flaws in a book that seem really obvious to me but to no one else. Needless to say, I think we all feel this way at some time or another!

  5. Hayley @ Bookblogher

    I haaaate The Magicians. Like more than I have ever hated a book in my life. And people get super into it and then the TV show started and everyone loves it, and I can’t stand it. Total black sheep moment!

  6. Stephanie Kaye

    There are definitely a few books out there I feel like the black sheep on. I totally get what you’re saying in this post and I really enjoyed reading it! I think it’s okay to be the black sheep sometimes. It’s what makes us human. Not everyone is going to like the same thing!

    I hear you on Twilight for sure. I loved the books when I first read them. They were what I needed in my life at that time. But if I were to read them now, gah, I’d hate them. Honest. I don’t have that problem with Sweet Evil only because I only just read Sweet Evil at the end of 2015 and haven’t had the chance to continue on with the series.

    But I have noticed that I’m the black sheep on a lot of backlist books that people raved to me about. haha.

    Anyways, I love talking about what worked and what didn’t work in books, so if you ever need a fellow black sheeper, I’m here to chit chat! 😀

  7. Heather DeFilippis

    I’m at a place right now where I don’t care too much about liking/not liking the same books as others, but I understand what you mean. There were moments, especially when I first got into blogging, when I would see books on BookTube that everyone seemed to be raving over and I just couldn’t get into or that I didn’t like, no matter what I did. It felt weird because I saw these BookTubers getting thousands of views, comments, and subscribers, so what were they seeing that I wasn’t?

    The only book that I can think of off the top of my head that really fits into this scenario is Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. I absolutely hated it, but everyone I saw on YouTube and Twitter seemed to love it. To me the writing was so slow and when I finished it, I realized that absolutely nothing had really happened.

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