Recently, we asked on our Facebook fan page whether there was a book or series of books that other people around you were raving about but that you didn’t care for. The responses were varied, but we got the feeling that there were many people who didn’t like the “Twilight”and “Harry Potter” series.
Recently, a friend of mine posted a book review of the “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and asked if anyone had read the series and could comment favorably to counteract the growing image he was developing that the books were overrated and under par. I have been told by a few people that the books, and certainly the first in the series, is a good read and that I should check it out. I’ve even been told the movie is pretty good. However, something about the presentation makes it unappealing to me. After reading that review, I am even less inclined to read or watch.
My reasoning is that while others cannot justifiably dissuade me from my own choices, that people with whom I think I may share the same tastes are disparaging gives me pause. Likely, I will at least try a sample of the book at some point and see for myself, but in the meantime I am skeptical that I will actually enjoy it.
And that got me thinking. How can we trust the book reviews given by others? What is it about a reviewer that makes them the authority – temporary or not – to tell us how good or bad a book, movie, tv series, or musician is? Do you pick a reviewer who most often matches your thoughts? Or do you trust that the reviewer was well-chosen by whatever authority they are writing on behalf of?
Or maybe we trust other writers to adequately review the material of fellow writers. After all, a writer should know – right?
How about editors or publishing agent bloggers? Do they have more qualifications to tell you what to like?
And finally – what constitutes a good review for you?
I sometimes spend a great deal of time reading the reviews on the amazon.com website, for example, to get a feel of what the majority of reviewers feel about a book. But ultimately, it is the story and how it is presented to me that forms the basis for my decision to buy or download. Which got me wondering just how “normal” that approach is for everyone else.
Tell us – how do you ultimately decide on a book? Is it based on reviews or something else? And if it’s reviews, what about a review gives you that final push towards taking the plunge?