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Monday, October 25, 2010

Because Five Star Reviews Are Just So Much Prettier...

Generated by GoodReads.com based on ratings given to books read in 2010.

A question that arises every so often both from readers of my blog and others’ is: “Why do you give so many positive reviews?” This is usually followed by another question: “Do you only read books you know you will like?”

And my answer to the question is: Yes! Of course I read books I think I’ll like. Who in their right mind would pick up a book knowing they’ll probably hate it in the end? It’s a crazy idea.

Reading a book I already have a bad feeling about is a waste of my money (if I’m buying it) or the publisher’s money (if they’re requesting a review). It would be rude and pointless of me to accept a review copy of a book I have no desire to read and will probably end up giving a negative review. I would never waste an author or publisher’s time and generosity for that. I’d much rather they go find a blogger better suited for their book.

Furthermore, one of the things I always stress to bloggers new and old (and even some non-bloggers) is that the great thing about the book blogosphere is that it allows readers to find bloggers they identify with. When you read a big corporate or newspaper critic’s reviews, you never know if their opinion reflects your own. The problem is that you don’t know the reviewer well enough to know their tastes. Why do you think you see authors’ quotes on the front of books 99% of the time? It’s because you’ll recognize and trust Libba Bray or Stephanie Myers’ name more than Kirkus Reviews’. Blogging takes that one step further, giving you a wealth of bloggers with tastes similar to yours, whose purpose is to review new and upcoming titles. All you have to do is find the right bloggers/blogs.

Following that reasoning, why would I choose to read a book I know I won’t like? What purpose does that serve for me or my readers? Usually, if a book is not on my radar, nine times out of ten it’s not on my loyal readers’ either. I’d rather give a one star review to a book I thought I’d like than to one I knew going into it that I wouldn’t. It’s simple if you think about it.

Now, does this mean I won’t take a chance on a book?

No. Not at all. I have on occasion taken picked up/accepted a book that I otherwise would not have considered. Sometimes I end up loving the book (e.x. Nightshade) and sometimes I end up realizing it wasn’t the book for me (e.x. The Forest of Hands and Teeth). No matter the outcome, I very rarely regret taking a chance on a book (hey, ranting is fun!). However, that doesn’t mean I want to be continuously playing book roulette.

In short, I am guilty of reading books I know I’ll most likely end up liking. And I don’t see a problem with it. In fact, I plan on continuing this habit of mine.

What about you?

7 comments:

  1. How did you generate that graphic? I want to do it too!

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  2. I'm so glad you addressed this! I am starting to feel guilty about all my glowing reviews. I'm thinking to myself, "Am I getting soft?" But really it is that I have a good idea what I'll like. I pick books that appeal to me, meaning I'm more likely to rave about 'em. Loved reading your thoughts on this.

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  3. I had someone else ask me this question, too. It's funny...once you start blogging, it's like people expect you to read everything, but I'm like you. I mostly stick to things I fully expect to like. Reading should be fun! NOT a chore.

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  4. You're lucky you find so many books that you like. Of course I only read books that I think I will like... but I often end up disliking them anyway. Actually, if you plotted my star ratings, it would look more like a bell curve (fewer really good and really bad ratings, and more mediocre ones).

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  5. I agree, I am pretty good at picking out books I know I will like. My five star ratings are for books I really loved not necessarily my absolute favorite. I also follow blogs that have given similar ratings then my self... thats the best way to find new books and chat about the ones we love! Great post!
    XOXO
    -Steph

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  6. I don't know about you, but I'm sure you are busier than most people who red your blog. What a waste of time to read a work when you know it won't benefit you. Time is money.

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  7. I definitely don't read books I don't anticipate liking. What's the point in slogging through a book you don't like and then having to write a negative review about it? No fun for anyone. I completely agree that it's also great to find other people who write similar blogs.

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