Let’s Review (Booking Through Thursday)

btt button

This week’s question is suggested by Puss Reboots:
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?

Reviews don’t get me excited. I prefer to read them after I’ve read a book, to see how my experience matched up with someone else.

I’m much more swayed by reader recommendations. If you like the same books I do, then what you have to say about a book will hold a lot of weight.

Also, the last few years I’ve read a lot of manuscripts in advance of publication, thanks to my job, so the reviews come too late.

In general, I either want to read something or I don’t. A positive review of a new book by an author I don’t care for (say, Philip Roth) won’t change my mind.

11 thoughts on “Let’s Review (Booking Through Thursday)”

  1. I’m with you. If the review is for an author I know I don’t like, it doesnt’ matter how good the review is. Conversely, if it’s a bad review for an author I love… I’m willing to give that author a fair chance, because I know people’s tastes are different.

    I read a lot of ARC’s as well, so I’m not normally trying to find new books to read 🙂 If a friend whose opinion I trust likes a book, though, I’ll probably give it a try.

  2. I agree with you!

    I actually have 2 books by Philip Roth on my bedside table–next in line to read so I can finally return them to the library! We walked past his house on a Newark tour last year, and the guide told us we really needed to read his books, since we live in the area. Maybe you can convince me otherwise? (I’d really prefer to start on Assassin’s Apprentice as my next book!)

  3. Judy–taste counts for so much, doesn’t it?

    Sarah–I think Portnoy’s Complaint is worth reading, because it is such an artifact of the times. For me, he is too cerebral a writer (I put DeLillo in this category too), so he is a chore, not a delight. I want to have an emotional experience when I read a book. Assassin’s Apprentice will definitely give you that. I also think that Hobb’s series as a whole as about as much scope, imagination, and worth as any so-called “serious” literature.

  4. Reviews don’t seem to change my mind about what I want to read much, either. They do bring to light new books I’ve never heard of before, though.

  5. I totally agree with you. I tend to like more fun books than Literary Fiction, so I rarely agree with what big name reviewers like. I loved one book on the NYT top 100, and hated another, and hadn’t read any of the rest of the list!

    Like you, I get a lot of review copies, so I can rarely read reviews before I read the book anyhow if I want *my* review to be timely!

    I prefer word of mouth for finding out about books. I just finished Prep (finally), and *hated* it. It made me happier that I wasn’t the only one.

  6. I confess that a good review will lead me to the book shop, where I will pick the book up and read the first few pages. If it grabs me, I buy it. If it doesn’t, I put it back and go for my usual method: random selection 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *