Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Pissing idiots off Bad book reviews

It’s always been a wonder to me how upset people get over others not liking books they do. Over the years, I’ve thought of many reasons for this phenomenon: everything from stupidity to low self-esteem and then some other things I refuse to mention in polite society. *wink* I’ve yet to come up with a satisfying answer. If anyone has a hypothesis, be sure and let me know since this has cost me a few sleepless night laughing myself silly.

Whenever I’m going to buy a book I always check Amazon’s ratings. If the book is over 4 stars I’ll probably get it—unless someone I share book tastes with previously recommended it, in which case I’ll go as low as 3.5. I always read one or two 5 star reviews and 1 star reviews. I don’t much trust books that have less than 20 reviews and I most definitely don’t trust books that have no bad ratings! It has to have at least a 2 stars in the mix or I’m not buying it LOL. (This is similar to me not trusting people who don’t drink. I have serious psychiatric issues.)

Bad reviews can convince me to buy a book as much as good reviews. In some cases, they’ll have me deciding even faster! Like this Madeline Hunter book, Rules of Seduction. Admittedly, I haven’t liked the Highland romances I’ve read of hers, but this book has two things going for it: a 4.5 rating and this 2 star review by an affronted reader:

I really tried to enjoy this book. It is my first Madeline Hunter book but I just could not get past the lack of chemistry I felt between the main characters. Why would Hyden be attracted to Alexia? She did not even seem interesting. I just could not buy it. I stopped at page 140 or so. The plot was nothing compared to a Lisa Kleypas’ (e.g., Then Came You) or a Liz Carlyle book (e.g., No True Gentleman).

Now, I’m not acquainted with Liz Carlyle’s writing, but the moment I read it was nothing compared to Then Came You I knew I had to buy Rules of Seduction. Gad, but if that Kleypas doesn’t have the most obnoxious heroine ever and the stupidest characters this side of the Equator I don’t know what book does.

The moral of this story: Don’t be an idiot, and enjoy different perspectives and views of a book you loved—or hated. You’ll probably end up noticing things you didn’t even know were there. Oh, and also, read bad Amazon reviews before you buy any book. They’re really amusing; some will even have you peeing in your pants—they’re so funny. And of course, who wouldn’t want to pee in their pants? LOL

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5 comment(s):

Anonymous kara said...

I think I know what you are talking about here. I find myself wanting to make recipes from Epicurious if they have a few bad reviews. And I like books, movies, etc. that are not "everyone's" fav. I like a little controversy in my hobbies.

And sorry you lost, but it's so noce to have you back;)

5/28/2008 03:01:00 AM  

Blogger ...dance? said...

I never read Amazon reviews, good or bad. I don't pay much attention to the stars either, especially considering how I use them, and the controversies over taking down bad ratings/reviews.

Actually, I tend not to read any reviews for books I'm already planning to read. Books/authors I'm not so sure about, I will sometimes seek out other people's opinions, but usually more in the vein of recommendations rather than reviews.

I would rather read a discussion about a book - and the more articulate the better, even if it's full of rage or ire and spoilers - than a review.

Otoh, I think I see what you're saying about how someone's bad review could be a good one for you -- partly, maybe because of the book comparisons they make (if they like/dislike the same things you do or not). I find that's where knowing the other person's preferences helps: considering where your source is coming from and all that.

5/28/2008 06:57:00 AM  

Blogger Midas said...

I read them sometimes because they amuse me too. Same with Yahoo movie reviews. There's that one movie with Colin Firth...forgot what name it is, one particular review mentioning ritalin and eagle had me peeing on my pants!

5/30/2008 05:04:00 AM  

Blogger December/Stacia said...

Oh, I always give the bad reviews more credence, or at least, use them as part of the overall picture. Is the bad review complaining that the book didn't make sense, but is written by someone who appears functionally illiterate? That's a point in its favor, assuming the good reviews are well-written. Are the bad reviews because of a certain plot point I don't mind? Are they written by people who, when I check their other reviews, love books I hate?

It's all part of a picture. And they're all important.

5/30/2008 02:18:00 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bigger question is why you don't trust people who don't drink?

However, I am far more inclined to read a book with AWFUL ratings/reviews than I am to read one with generally nothing but raves.

Go figure!

6/06/2008 10:25:00 AM