Friday Reads: Reviews

I’m in a reading rut. I’ve read a handful of samples of books in the past few weeks, but I seem to be so afraid of buying a book I won’t really enjoy (even though it’s Christmas giftcards buying it), I just can’t commit.

I want a guarantee. Don’t we all? Which oddly enough ties in with a popular topic on twitter/blogs lately: reviews.

I rarely read Amazon or Goodreads reviews unless I know the person writing them. A review can get me to read a book or not read a book, but first I have to know the reviewer and I are on the same page.

A review, regardless of who it’s written by or where it’s published IS an opinion, and I seek out opinions that match my own. I struggle to enjoy alpha-holes, royalty, or secret baby stories… so, I seek out reviewers with the same taste. I’ve narrowed it down to a few select people that have proven to me their reviews match my expectations. Because, FICTION is very personal, and just like not everyone love my favorite book, I’m not going to love everyone else’s favorite book.

When I was a teacher and assigned persuasive essays, I had to drill into my students heads that it wasn’t about what their opinion was, it was about how they supported it. If they wanted to write a paper about how homework is evil, that was fine. I wouldn’t give them an F for their opinion, I would give them an F if their writing was terrible, they didn’t support their argument, and/or didn’t follow directions.

Still, no matter how many times I said it, no matter how many times I proved it, students often looked at bad grades as me slighting them. I didn’t like their opinion, so I GAVE them a bad grade. I didn’t like them so I GAVE them a bad grade. Those students couldn’t accept the fact that they were just… wrong.

And these authors getting bent out of shape for reviews (no matter how they are written, worded, etc) remind me of those students. Students who thought just because they did the work they should receive an A on the pat on the head.

Writing a book doesn’t earn you anything. Getting a book published doesn’t mean you HAVE to be praised. Some people will write bad reviews out of spite, some people will write bad review based on personal experience, and some will base it on still something else. The bottom line is, it is not an indictment against the author. I’m sure it hurts like hell, I’m sure if I ever have the guts to read a bad review I get it will devastate me, but will I automatically assume the reviewer is evil/out to get me/ruining my career? I highly doubt it.

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