Since becoming a book blogger I’ve noticed a lot about other book bloggers. While there are sometimes mixed opinions out there, there are a lot of things that most people agree about. For example, book bloggers on the whole don’t like “instalove”. They are tired of it. Another example, book bloggers on the whole DO like Warcross. These aren’t universal opinions, but they’re pretty dang popular ones.
There have been a few times since I’ve started blogging that I’ve been surprised to find books that I absolutely love that the blogging community on the whole doesn’t. Or, at least, can’t agree on it. The first time this happened was when I realized how many people absolutely hated The Night Circus. I was in shock because it’s one of my all-time favorite books, and it’s so gorgeous and romantic and magical, I’m not sure what there really is to hate…
Since then I’ve been surprised to find that I’m on the less popular side of Uprooted, The Bear and the Nightengale, and most recently, Renegades. And as I’ve been thinking about this I’ve noticed criticism for all four of these books have had one major thing in common.
Bloggers have complained that these books are too slow. Again, each time this has happened, I have been surprised. I didn’t find them slow. They don’t move at break-neck pace any of them, but it’s not like they were Ana Karenina or something.
So I thought about it. Obsessively, if we’re being honest. After reading so many reviews of Renegades that criticized pacing I felt like maybe I was a bad book blogger who was too stupid to catch something like that, and I started thought-spiraling a little. And eventually I came to a conclusion that I’m okay with. I don’t know if everyone reading this will be okay with it, but I’m taking a deep breath and posting it anyway. Okay. Here goes.
Most people who have commented on slow pacing (most, not all!) are people who primarily read Young Adult books. Young Adult books tend to move faster than “adult” fiction. Therefore I propose they are more used to a fast-paced book, and that is why they might enjoy a “slow” book less.
Part of what drew me to this conclusion is that I don’t read a lot of YA. And as I was thinking about books like Uprooted that others found slow and I didn’t, I thought about other books I read this year that were paced similarly. The Song of Achilles, The Essex Serpent, and My Cousin Rachel all come to mind. What do all these books have in common? Aside from the fact that they were pretty well loved, they aren’t YA.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ve read some pretty slow books. The Bone Clocks took me for freaking ever this summer, and it was LONG too. It was slow, dense, and definitely attempting for “literature”. That’s not to say it wasn’t good, because it was, but the slow pace definitely detracted from how much I enjoyed it. But comparing The Bone Clocks to, say, Renegades would be silly. Renegades flew in comparison.
What’s the point? I don’t know that I have one. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and everyone is going to enjoy different things. This is just what has been really consuming my thoughts for about a week now, and I had to get it out.
I would love to hear what you think. Am I way off base? Let me know, because talking about it always helps my thought-spirals!