How important are the reviews of a book?

I’ve never cared much about reviews. I pick up a book if it looks interesting. I read the synopsis, I read the first couple of pages and if the style of writing appeals to me, that’s all I need to know.

I got a goodreads account recently and I was idly looking through the reviews of a couple of books that I’ve wanted to read and a I came away feeling thoroughly confused.

How is it possible that a book is brilliant, passable and painful all at the same time? How can one reader’s opinion differ so dramatically from another?

I looked around some more and I found that there are books that I adore that quite a few people have thought were awful. Someone said about Pride and Prejudice that, “This book is quite possibly the most insipid novel I have ever read in my life. Why this book is so highly treasured by society is beyond me. It is 345 pages of nothing.”

Pride and Prejudice is most definitely not an insipid novel. But perhaps it wasn’t the right book for this person. Not every book is going to appeal to everyone. There are all these award winning novels, for example, that a lot of people think are brilliant…I keep hearing about them, but I don’t pick them up because I am not particularly fond of fiction. If I were to push myself to read these books for whatever reason, I probably wouldn’t like them (I’ve tried this a few times, so I know.)

So getting back to the question about the reviews, I look at these one star, I absolutely hated the book, kind of reviews and I cannot understand why that person bothered to finish the book in the first place.

Fifty pages in and I know for sure whether I like a book or not. If I don’t like it, I stop reading. There are so many, many books out there, waiting to be read. Why plod through a book that you don’t like and then waste more time writing a scathing review?

So yeah. I don’t pay attention to reviews…



2 thoughts on “How important are the reviews of a book?

  1. I don’t either – too many factors play into whether I like a book or not…and I figure most people are the same…yet, here we are writing blogs about books 🙂

    I’ve found some fellow bloggers though who read similar books to me and have similar reactions to them – I have learnt to trust their opinions.

    • I’m still feeling my way around this. For the longest time, I have picked books on the basis of what it says on the back or on the sleeve. And I’ve done pretty well.

      Now I have access to all these reviews and it can get very confusing. But I’ve learned to ignore goodreads and to pay attention to the book blogs. There are at least a few bloggers I know who share my taste.

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