Archive | 10:42 AM

A Reader’s Opinion

21 May

Something came up in my book club the other day that I wanted to share and get some opinions on. If someone says to you, “This book is great! You totally have to read it!” do you always believe them? Personally, I don’t.

A book being ‘great’ by one reader’s opinion isn’t a guarantee that I will love it. I’ve had a number of books recommended to me that I just hated. I usually wait for at least five people to recommend a book to me before I consider putting it on my TBR. Seeing one positive review is rarely enough to encourage me to jump on board.

But when does a single reviewer convince me to read a book? Well, if they’re a big reader, I’m going to take their recommendation much more seriously. If a reader consumes only four books a year and says one of them is ‘great,’ that’s not a lot to compare the book against. If it’s the first book you read in years and it was wonderful, maybe you just forgot how awesome books are and this was a happy reminder. I consider someone a reader if they’re reading over 10 books per year. I’m usually in the 40-50 range myself but I’m a bit overzealous.

One of the women in my club laughed when I said this. She said it was years before she read Harry Potter because the friend who was telling her “she had to read it” was someone who had read nothing but Harry Potter since college.

Even if someone is a heavy reader, I can still be skeptical of their book recommendations. Are they a heavy thriller fan and they like a thriller because it’s good in the genre? I’m not a thriller fan so will I still enjoy the book? If someone is a YA fan but they recommend a woman’s fiction novel to me, I’m not sure how they’ve formed that opinion so I’m going to be a little skeptical there, too.

The people I tend to trust are those who’ve read similar books to me, even if our opinions on them differ sometimes. There are people in my book clubs that I trust and librarians I’m friends with who know what I read. If they read similar books or if the suggestion is tailored for what I like to read, I’m much more inclined to believe them.

Unfortunately, this means I need to see a book on many blogs before I’ll even think about putting it on my TBR shelf. This is a huge disadvantage for new authors and I understand that. As someone who hopes to write a book someday, I’m trying to overcome this bias but I trust the opinions of other readers a lot. Maybe I’m just nervous to try something new for myself.

Do any of you struggle with this? Whose opinion do you trust when they tell you about a book you just have to read?

Until next time, write on.

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