The Distinction Between Love, Like, Indifference, And Hate

Thinking back on last week's post about the Sheep Effect, and wondering about these people who absolutely love or hate everything, I started wondering what exactly the distinction is between love and hate. Obviously it's different for everyone. Two people can say they love (or hate) the same thing, but that level of love (or hate) can vary. Does it even need to be explained? Maybe not, but here's how I explain what I mean when I say I liked, loved, or hated something. When I say I liked a book or story or movie or whatever, it means just what it sounds like it means: I liked it. I enjoyed it for what it was. It didn't disappoint me and it didn't overly thrill me. I was content. If it's a book, I'll give it three stars on Goodreads.

When I say I really liked a book (four stars on Goodreads), it means I really liked the book. It's something that I would recommend to others. Something I might, who knows, maybe even read again (which is saying a lot, because life's too short to read the same books over and over when there's just so many out there).

When I say I loved a book (five stars on Goodreads), it means that I absolutely loved it. Something about the book floored me so much that I can't stop talking about it. Basically, it's a book that I wish I'd written and you can bet your sweet bottom that I recommend it to everyone.

And, of course, there is indifference and hate (two stars and one star on Goodreads, respectively), and those should go without saying. In fact, most of these books I don't even bother to finish reading, or if I do, I skim the rest of the book hoping to gain some kind of hidden knowledge within its pages. Almost every time, there is none.

But of course that's just me. I am a tough critic. In fact, out of the 451 books I have rated on Goodreads, my average rating is a 3.04 (that's out of five). For the most part what I read I like. If I start something and know instantly I won't like it, I won't waste my time.

When I get a friend request on Goodreads, I always click on the button that compares this potential new friend's books with mine. It's always interesting to see the difference in ratings on the books that we've read. Again, every person is different. There is no right or wrong way to judge a book, ya know?

Speaking of which, nobody should be judged for what they like or dislike. That goes without saying but I figure I might as well say it anyway. I might not like to read James Patterson, but that doesn't give me any right to look down on the guy purchasing five James Patterson novels at the bookstore. At least he's reading, which is more than I can say for a lot of people in the world. It's ridiculous when people criticize others for reading such-and-such a book (You want to read the latest Sweet Valley High? Go for it). Nobody should be ashamed for reading what they do (unless it's western robotic erotica; now that's just nasty).

A few weeks back I was talking to someone about what they had been reading recently and they were hesitant at first, not wanting to tell me, until finally prefacing it with a "I know this is going to sound weird" and then said they'd been digging a lot of YA lately. I didn't even blink. I told this person there's absolutely nothing wrong with YA, that some of the best writing out there is in fact YA. (Which is it.)

So what about you? What does it mean when you love, like, are indifferent about, or just downright hate a book?

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