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.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!


21 Responses to “A Reader’s Opinion”

  1. Sally Allen May 21, 2018 at 10:50 AM #

    This is a thought-provoking post! I definitely do not believe them unless I know what their reading tastes are. I agree with you about how much reading they do, and I also need to know what kind of books they like. If someone tells me they love super dark, twisted books, then they tell me a book is a “must read,” I’m going to question whether it’s the right book for me.


    • Sam May 21, 2018 at 11:09 AM #

      Great point! I’m not into dark and twisted either. That would make me second guess. Happy reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. deannalcooley May 21, 2018 at 10:54 AM #

    I trust the book opinions of about two IRL people and a handful of bloggers. They all have similar tastes to me, so if they say “oh man this book is so good” even if it’s something I wouldn’t read, I’ll look into it harder than I would if a random person tells me to read a book.


    • Sam May 21, 2018 at 11:10 AM #

      Sounds like you found your group! I used to take random stranger suggestions seriously but I was burned far too often. Happy reading!


  3. Laurel-Rain Snow May 21, 2018 at 11:08 AM #

    I decide based on other books the reader has read…in fact, I tend to go along with recommendations of several readers who seem to enjoy the kinds of books I love.


    • Sam May 21, 2018 at 11:11 AM #

      That seems to be the safe path! If other have the same tastes, their recommendations are more likely to align. Happy reading!


  4. Rosie Amber May 21, 2018 at 11:37 AM #

    I always try to find out what type of books a person likes before I dare to suggest a book or author.
    If I’m searching blogs for a good recommendation, I’m skeptical of bloggers who say every book they read is wonderful.


    • Sam May 21, 2018 at 1:38 PM #

      I feel the same way! I always ask what the last book they enjoyed was and try to think of something in the same vein. Blogger who give every book 5 Stars are not ones I usually trust. Not everything is great! Happy reading.


  5. Laila@BigReadingLife May 21, 2018 at 11:42 AM #

    If you’ve been burned often in the past I can see why you’d be hesitant to invest your time with books only recommended by one person.

    I have figured out which bloggers share similar taste with me, so if they highly recommend something I’ll add it to my TBR list on Goodreads. If I decide later not to read it after all, I just take it off and nobody is any the wiser! 🙂


    • Sam May 21, 2018 at 1:39 PM #

      I’m not very good about removing a book once I put it on my TBR. I usually dread it and suffer through it. That’s why I’m so hesitant to put something on! Happy reading.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hunida May 21, 2018 at 5:20 PM #

    There are these two or three Goodreads reviewers who always show up on the same books I’m interested in. If one of them praises the book I’ll automatically add it to my TBR. Otherwise, I don’t really trust others to recommend books to me.


    • Sam May 21, 2018 at 6:30 PM #

      I usually trust people reading books the same time I am, too. It’s something you can instantly bond over. Happy reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. silverbuttonbooks May 21, 2018 at 9:01 PM #

    I hate the overly enthusiastic book recommendations which typically include the words “must” and “best” when really what they mean is “only book I read this year.” I always follow up these kind of endorsements with the question, “Why?” If a person can validate their love for the book and it matches the reasons I enjoy a story then I am much more likely to read the book. Still, there are some people who will do what I call eat-pray-love a book. They will read the hot buzzy book and then grab a hold of your elbow and insist that you read it immediately. Those books I avoid at all costs.


    • Sam May 21, 2018 at 9:22 PM #

      So true! I struggle to find out when a hot book is actually good rather than just popular at the moment. Getting sucked into those can be the worst. Happy reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Gee Jen May 22, 2018 at 2:14 AM #

    My question is does a book have to be recommended as good for you to want to read it? What else may draw us to a book?


    • Sam May 22, 2018 at 8:01 AM #

      Great question! I think an authors name is enough for me most times. Or knowing it’s about a subject or time period I tend to like. What about you?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Gee Jen May 22, 2018 at 9:21 PM #

        I think subject interest is my main criteria, I’m happy to try most books but they need to grab my attention otherwise they lay around for ages. Having said that though the books I often put off often end up being the best reads

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Ryan May 24, 2018 at 1:31 AM #

    To be honest, it regularly doesn’t take much for me to at least put a book in to-read on Goodreads if someone recommends it to me, though I use that shelf as a more of a reminder that a books exist that I might want to read, rather than all the books I definitely think I have to get to. I usually ask them to give a pitch as to what they think is good about it as well, depending on who it is, which will help either kindle or extinguish my interest.


    • Sam May 24, 2018 at 6:54 AM #

      Geeze, your Goodreads TBR must be miles long! That’s a great way to use that feature. It gives you list to go over when you’re looking for a new read. Happy reading!


  10. Cozynookbks May 27, 2018 at 4:36 PM #

    This is a dilemma. I follow bloggers who have similar reading tastes as mine, and that tend to choose books similar to mine, so I generally trust their judgment. If I keep seeing a specific book around the blogosphere with high ratings it might go on my tbr. But it depends. I often look on Goodreads and Amazon to see what other folks have said. Nothing is full proof, but since a book has to be really terrible for me not to like it, I’m generally safe with suggested or recommended books. Nice post! 😊


    • Sam May 27, 2018 at 4:52 PM #

      Those are great reasons. It sounds like you have a pretty solid base for your blogger recommendations which can be hard to build. I’m very picky so I have to be seriously convinced to read something before I agree to do so. Happy reading!

      Liked by 1 person

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