March 16, 2015

Is Mediocre Worse Than Bad?

It's been awhile since we did a discussion post, and this time's topic is...
I started thinking on this topic when I read a book I felt was very mediocre, and I started writing in the review "this is the worst thing I can say about a book". Then I stopped, and stared at what I just wrote. Is it the worst thing I can say? Technically, mediocre books usually get between two and a half to three stars from me, which is not the worst rating. I mean, they're not bad, and usually I can enjoy them...

So why did my brain chose to say that sentence? Why did it forget about the one-stars and the rant inducers?

I think it's because the amount of feelings involved. A truly bad book brings out my possibly most passionate side. I can talk about my most hated books far longer than my favorite (aside for Harry Potter, which I can discuss and re-discuss a zillion times and still I'll have more to say).
I can debate (and by debate, I mean rant) my one-stars over and over and over again (for example: Hush, Hush), and never get tired. I'm actually, inadvertently, publicizing the book. I'm subconsciously encouraging people to read it, whether by bashing the name of the book on their brain with how much I'm ranting on it, or just by making them want to see for themselves if it's really all that bad. 

Enter mediocre. 
Another word for mediocre is forgettable. Unremarkable. It's like saying: this book wasn't exactly good, it wasn't exactly bad, it just didn't do much for me.

And those books... they don't normally even get a review from me. Meaning, they don't get any publication from me. Even if I did write a review, I'm not going to really remember the book unless someone asks me about it specifically and I looked at it on GR.

They're never going to be the first to pop to my head (on any side of the scale).

So what's actually worse? Raising a storm of negative feelings to create the rant of the century with, or no feelings at all? 


  1. This is one series I'm dying to get my hands on!!!! Love the UK cover the best and the first US cover is awesome too. Must say the least favorite one is the second US one. It looks too messy for me. There's another cover too, I think. The hardbacks come in a different cover.

  2. Me too! :D So many people have so many great things to say about it, and by the covers alone it looks badass ;)
    Yeah, I agree the second US one doesn't look that great.
    There are actually a LOT more covers. I brought the ones I consider best. Some were just plain bad, or VERY similar to the ones here, and if I bring too much covers it kind of clutters, you know?

  3. Good question! After thinking about it I'm pretty sure that finding a book mediocre is kind of worse than hating it completely. Like you said, mediocre is forgettable and even though some books are so bad that I'd like to forget about them, hating them makes them noticable at least.

  4. My thoughts exactly!
    Like, being forgettable is probably the worst you can say about a book because it means you won't talk about it. And you know that saying bad press is good press (or there is no such thing as bad press)? It's kind of like that.
    I also have a tendency to put books in my cousins hands with the following "This book is awful. Read it and tell me you hated it as much as I did, please!" Like, I would LIKE for them to read it so we can rant together! LOL Mediocre doesn't do that.

  5. YES! I've been known to start books because people found them terrible. So I'm more prone to read a book that's labeled bad than mediocre. Is that weird? lol

  6. Not really :) It's like, you want to know what everyone is talking about! You want to be in the loop! You want to choose your camp - fantabulous or awful? (cause, usually, I find that the book I think are truly horrible are also real popular...)

  7. Being mediocre is worse! Terrible books bring out so many emotions and I have to say that I do enjoy ranting and discussing a book that I hated. It feels so good to vent all of your feelings and get it all out. But if a book's mediocre? Then it's easily forgotten, andI find it hard to write a review. I always say that if I can't remember the main character's name when I'm writing a review (usually the same day as finishing) then there's no hope and it's just a very forgettable book. I love the discussion, it definitely got me thinking! x
    Alexandra @ Alexandra Florence Books

  8. Right!?
    I LOVE ranting. Seriously, If I could make ranting into a job, I think I would have a great life because a) all the negativity would be taken out at work so in my personal life I could be totally zen and b) it would be such a fun job!
    Oh, this happened to me! Like, I was writing my review and I was about to write about the heroine and it was like "And the main character, C... Carman?... Clara?... Cami?... what was her name again?..." and I had to go look at the book summary on GR. It was really discouraging lol
    Thanks so much for participating! <3

  9. To be honest, I don't really think there is a difference. There are few books I really hate. If I don't like them, I most likely won't finish them, and then it doesn't really matter if I thought it was mediocre or bad. What I'm trying to say is that I probably wouldn't read far enough to hate it. ;)

    Cucie @ Cucie reads

  10. I think this is a very interesting topic. I am not sure whether I completely agree, bvut I can see your point. Even though I am not one to rant about those 2 stars or DNF's, if someone mentions books you didn't enjoy they are at the top of my mind, while those 3 stars are often so forgettable that I never mention or think about them again. I do review all books and actually find 3 star reviews usually fun to write as there is so much to say, bad things and good things. Although often when they are just okay, it often means forgettable. Or in some cases disapointment, I think that those disapointing 3 stars do elicit more emotion then the just okay ones. Interesting topic and it definitely got me thinking.

  11. But, like, what do you talk about more? Books you hated (and therefore didn't finish), or books you did finish that were meh?
    Though I applaud you the ability to stop reading and not hate. The few books I DNF I tend to have very negative feelings toward (or they're just boring lol)

  12. I'm a ranter, to my core. I like to discuss what doesn't work
    for me at length. Part of it is probably attempting to validate my opinion,
    especially when everyone else loves it. The other is just me being very opinionated.

    It's like, hated books/loved books are filed in your brain under
    those specific labels and are easier to conjure, while three stars are left to
    clutter. At least, that's the way my mind works.

    I find 3 star reviews more fun to write than 4 stars, to be
    honest lol

    Disappointment is a really tricky subject. It can make an
    otherwise 4/3.5 stars read a two stars, or it can change a 3 star from
    forgettable to "resentful" because you wanted so much more from it.
    Disappointment tends to color everything else in its hue, you know?

  13. I guess you're right about mediocre being worse than bad. Indifference is worse than hate I think.

    It's very rare for me to give lower than 3 star reviews, but it happens, and usually these books aren't necessarily bad, but just forgettable and not special in any way. It's so forgettable is hard to find something to even criticize.

    When a book is bad you can usually pin point exactly why you hated it, and that actually might make someone who is not bothered by those things to read the book. There can be people who love the exact same things you hate about a book, after all. But when a book is mediocre/forgettable, most people won't think about it anymore after reading your review.

  14. I think so too. A lot of people talk about it in relations to romance- if you are indifferent to someone, it means you really don't care while hate... hate means something.

    I know what you mean, though I don't shy away from bad reviews. I have book rants I can STILL rant over.

    True. If someone likes love triangles, and I just talked about how much I HATED the love triangle, they might read the book just because if that. Or because my rant will be at the back of their mind, and they'll see the book in a bookshop and think "oh, that's the book she said had a love triangle!" and buy it because they REMEMBER I talked about it. Forgettable don't do that...

  15. I absolutly fell in love with the portuguese cover when I saw it at a library. The silent night, the light in the city's windows, the Rashek's Palace in the background, the young appearance of Vin.