Thursday, January 17, 2008


Booking Through Thursday: Let's Review

My bud Puss Reboots provided this week's Booking Through Thursday question.

How much do reviews (good and bad) affect your choice of reading? If you see a bad review of a book you wanted to read, do you still read it? If you see a good review of a book you’re sure you won’t like, do you change your mind and give the book a try?

It depends on the review and what it says.

If Publishers Weekly pans something, they give really good reasons: rambling plot, not much happens, stock characters. Those are warning signs for me to not add something to my wish list.

In this age of book blogging -- which I fully support and think is a great way to build buzz about a book, especially the organic kind of buzz -- it's important to read reviews carefully. "Everyone else loved this, so I thought I'd read it and they're right! It's great!" may be something that as a writer I'd love to hear but as a reader with WAY too many books here to catch up on and a wish list of 1600 more, I need more critical thinking.

To be honest? I've done exactly what I'm being critical of. I need to dig deeper within myself and give you guys more. If we all try to elevate our game, we can easily prove wrong the people who are so critical of book blogs.


i usually decide if i want to read a book based on what is written about it on the jacket. if i am browsing at a book store, i will pick up a book with an interesting title and look through it.

i don't put too much stock in reviews because i usually end up loving the books/movies that the critics hate.

michele sent me over to give my opinion...
Blogs have become my main source of new books to read, especially those of fellow bookcrossers. Happy BTT!
it's tough to review responsibly on the web. it's really easy to want to rant about something on your blog when a book makes you angry or bores you, but everything you say is absolutely true--we have to be super careful we're not just reacting to other reviews, because internet reviews can ruin reputations (they have much higher readership at this point than print reviews, even if they're much less likely to get quoted on, say, jacket copy).

thanks for the reminder to think about what we say.
If there's something about a book that sparks my interest I won't take just one reviewer's word that it's good or bad. I'll find another review or two and see if they say the same thing.

Tastes vary and I'd hate to miss out on a good read just because a reviewer didn't share my taste in writing.
COLLECTIVE reviews affect me. I don't let one review change my mind, but if there's a negative group consensus (say 20+ people), I probably won't buy the book.
I think more and more people are relying on blog reviews in their choices. I know I do.

Happy BTT!
I'm with barbie2be. I will say that book blogs help me find new books in a huge market. They don't tell me that I'll buy it, more like they bring books to my attention that I might have missed otherwise.
As an author juggling my own writing deadlines, two kids, and a husband who travels a ton, I don't have loads of spare time to read so I choose each book carefully, mostly based on buzz from blogs or the industry.
I don't really read book reviews that often. I read the cover or inside jacket to see what it's about and go from there. Or, if I have a favorite author and she/he publishes a new book, I will read that one.

I wish I'd make more time to read.... I'll get books from the library and end up returning them unread. :(

Michele sent me...
I read books because I'm familiar with the author, others are talking about the book, or it just happened to be front and center on the display at the library. The latter is the reason I read A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby, who also wrote High Fidelity.
I really liked A Long Way Down!
I generally don't pay much attention to reviews when choosing my reading material. I usually choose on blurb. Sometimes I hit a clunker but most of the time my instinct is pretty good when it comes to choosing a book I'll like.
Thanks for your kind comments on my 'treasure - faith' blog.

I never read a book with negative reviews.

But, some books with positive reviews still are not correct. For example, everypne I know raved about 'The looming tower: Road to 9/11'

I read half of it and decided not to complete :)
This happened just today.
I ususally make my own mind up about whether I want to read a book or not. I must agree with you though, the more specific the critique, the more liable I am to take it into consideration.
...but sometimes blurbs lie!
I agree with whomever said COLLECTIVE reviews -- because people's tastes are so varied. I don't tend to buy based on reviews, more on recommendations from people's whose tastes are similar to mine.
I'm rarely disappointed.
I answered your question over at my place. You can check it out there if you want.
I find that the Publisher's Weekly reviews are accurate.

When a reviwer is critical about the particular things that bother me, I take notice, but when they talk about aspects of the book that I don't think matter as much, I may give a book a chance.

Since I'm covering the same topic on my blog, I'm finding there are plenty of readers who disregard bad reviews and buy the book anyway.

I see more big name authors pissing and moaning over bad reviews - if only they realized how few people are affected by them.
There are people who are critical of book blogs? Why? Why should they care? Educate me.
Oh, my, what a can of worms this is...

Newspapers and paid professional book reviewers HATE the book bloggers. I think it's more than feeling threatened in an age where their inches are being cut by the page. It's also that many book bloggers focus on more commercial fiction rather than the literary stuff.

It's sad, really. Just another reminder that we let our pride and our prejudices get in the way of choice and diversity.
Hi. Michele sent me. If a reviewer I trust recommends a book, then I'll check it out.

I'll also check out a book if an author I like recommends it.
Oddly. the oft Met and Greeted Gautami asked a question quite similar and I would guess she might have taken it from you.

Certain reviewers and publications have more clout than others. It depends really WHY they might have liked or disliked something.

Michele sent me, but not in a Manchurian Candidate sort of way.
That would be a resounding 'no'...

Taste is such a personal thing. I usually ignore any reviews I read, whether it be for film or book.

Michele sent me to see what you're up to today :-)

You know, I read a terrible review of Eat Pray Love, and YET, I'm reading it. So, I guess I don't let reviews influence me much. Great question!
I tend to go with people recommendation or word of the mouth, to pick up a book. Or someone whose has similiar taste as mine. Review do not help unless it depend on the person who review it and sometime blurb either spoiled it or just doesn't match the story from inside.

However I do tend to follow blogger reviews though..they help :)

Happy Belated BTTs - thanks for visiting mine!. Have a good day
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