Do you consider a book's review before buying/borrowing/reading it? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 21 Old 03-02-2011, 09:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I do, for the most part. Am I wierd? I don't feel like I want to waste my limited time by committing to a book that's terrible. I usually go to goodreads or amazon, and take an average of the reviewers, ie. I don't really pay attention to people at either end of the spectrum. OTOH, if I book has MOSTLY bad or good reviews, I take notice. It's stopped me from borrowing/buying/reading books before, and I usually go to the library with a researched list.

 

I have been wrong in the past. There are books I loved that got terriible or meh reviews, and books I didn't love that got stellar ones (Great Gatsby, for one...don't judge me :P I'm going through a 'reading the classics I missed' phase).

 

Spoilers don't bother me at all. I guess I'm a 'process' reader, where the whole story arc is secondary to the journey (ie. the actual writing).

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#2 of 21 Old 03-02-2011, 09:49 AM
 
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I'm 50/50.  I read a fair amount of books that I've just picked up on the spur of the moment, but I also enjoy reading book reviews and they will guide my purchase at the store or what I look for at the library.

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#3 of 21 Old 03-02-2011, 11:32 AM
 
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No, I don't think I have ever checked the official reviews.

 

The Amazon books that they suggest to me are normally spot on.  Also, a friend of mine and I have essentially the same taste in books.  If she reads somehing and loves it, I will also love it, and vice versa, so I get ideas from her.


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#4 of 21 Old 03-02-2011, 11:42 AM
 
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I read the book review section of the newspaper for suggestions, but I don't necessarily rely on the actual review to decide whether to read a book. I'll also get recommendations from elsewhere eg. friends, on-line book blogs etc. I always keep in mind that any reviewer - professional or not - has a personal bias that will influence their opinion. And of course, there are some infamous examples of reviewers who hid a real conflict of interest and either slam a book (or author) or puff it up when it's not really deserved. So I'm always a little skeptical about reviews. 

 

 

 

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#5 of 21 Old 03-02-2011, 12:07 PM
 
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I generally read the reviews at Amazon before I'll place a hold on a book at the library. If a friend gives me the book or I find it at the thrift store for 50 cents, I don't bother with reading the reviews.

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#6 of 21 Old 03-03-2011, 06:08 AM
 
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Coming back to say that I realized sometimes a BAD review will motivate me to read a book.  

 

Books that are subject to challenges, bans and censorship go straight to the top of my reading list. 

 

Case in point: Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce, Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan and Living Dead Girls by Elizabeth Scott. 

 

I'll be reading the 3 of them as soon as I can get them from my library. Last month, they were all listed by Bitch Magazine on their first 100 Young Adult Books for the Feminist Reader. Each of them received a single complaint and was then removed from the list in a knee-jerk response, creating an internet firestorm about poor and cowardly editorial practice. The whole nasty episode can be found at their website (the magazine has yet to apologize, but appears to have conceded they acted rashly by creating a book club where these titles will be discussed) and discussed on the blogosphere

 

 

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#7 of 21 Old 03-03-2011, 08:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post

 

Coming back to say that I realized sometimes a BAD review will motivate me to read a book.  

 

Books that are subject to challenges, bans and censorship go straight to the top of my reading list. 

 

Case in point: Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce, Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan and Living Dead Girls by Elizabeth Scott. 

 

I'll be reading the 3 of them as soon as I can get them from my library. Last month, they were all listed by Bitch Magazine on their first 100 Young Adult Books for the Feminist Reader. Each of them received a single complaint and was then removed from the list in a knee-jerk response, creating an internet firestorm about poor and cowardly editorial practice. The whole nasty episode can be found at their website (the magazine has yet to apologize, but appears to have conceded they acted rashly by creating a book club where these titles will be discussed) and discussed on the blogosphere

 

 


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#8 of 21 Old 03-03-2011, 08:04 PM
 
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I always, always check the Amazon reviews before I bother putting a book on hold.  When I am at a bookstore, I will call my husband to check the reviews online for me first.  I almost always ignore the books that get less than 4/5 stars.  I might be missing out on some good books but there are so many books to be read that it doesn't bother me. Even after doing this, I still only end up reading about half of the books I check out.

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#9 of 21 Old 03-03-2011, 10:11 PM
 
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Not generally. Right now my book-selection method is "wander the library, pick up whatever looks interesting, try to get a balance between fiction and non-fiction". So I'll often choose a book for no better reason than a catchy title or cool synopsis, or because I've vaguely heard of the author. Sometimes I'll find a book and go "Oh yeah, someone on MDC liked that" or "Hey, I read a blog post about that", but more often it's just based on my whim.

 

I do end up with a lot of awful books, though. :p I'm a fast reader and go to the library often, so it doesn't bother me that much. If I really hate it, I won't finish it.

 

And I couldn't get into The Great Gatsby either! I have a copy... somewhere... but I found the first few pages really boring. Usually I make more of an effort with acknowledged classics (case in point: I read ALL of Moby Dick), but sometimes I just can't be bothered. I figure it's the author's job to make me like his/her writing, not my job to try to like it.


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#10 of 21 Old 03-03-2011, 10:17 PM
 
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I only worry about things I'm spending money on. I rarely find things at the library that are really awful though, nor things I'm borrowing from a friend. I also look in particular sections at the library though, so I feel like stuff is prequalified in some way there or off a friend's bookshelf. But I do stop reading anything that doesn't keep my interest fairly quickly.


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#11 of 21 Old 03-03-2011, 11:13 PM
 
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I've been buying Kindle books on Amazon.  I have rewards certificates on my Amazon credit card, and I'm trying to use my credit carefully, so I've been reading reviews with a careful eye.  I also go and look for the really bad reviews, to see if their critique is useful to me.  

 

So I found a book with only 7 reviews, but they were all positive.  I read all the reviews, then spent $7.65 on the book.  It was awful!  It just was not good at all, it was either written by a shallow child or by someone filling in a form.  So I have to write a bad review--I feel like I owe it to any potential readers to tell it like it is, but I haven't gotten it together yet to write it.

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#12 of 21 Old 03-06-2011, 08:05 PM
 
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Usually.

 

I do the same for movies.

 

 

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#13 of 21 Old 03-08-2011, 11:31 AM
 
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i have not found the reviews helpful. the newspaper reviews are a guide... but online reviews i find usually a waste of my time. 

 

i have had the same experience as viola's. 

 

and its the same situation with movies. 

 

and so i dont look at reviews any more. 

 

 


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#14 of 21 Old 03-09-2011, 06:17 PM
 
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I work in the book industry, so I'm always reading book reviews (or writing them).  I end up basically only choosing to read books after reading multiple reviews mostly because I only have time to read those books anymore.  I used to love just finding random gems while browsing at a bookstore or library.  


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#15 of 21 Old 03-13-2011, 10:26 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cascadian View Post

I do, for the most part. Am I wierd? I don't feel like I want to waste my limited time by committing to a book that's terrible. I usually go to goodreads or amazon, and take an average of the reviewers, ie. I don't really pay attention to people at either end of the spectrum. .


So I went to Amazon and wrote my bad review for this book that had all good reviews.  I hope someone reads it if they are on the fence.  lol.gif  Oh darn, only one person rated my review, and that person did not find it helpful. Sheesh.

 

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#16 of 21 Old 03-14-2011, 05:12 AM
 
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I'll read classics without checking reviews but newer stuff needs to be highly rated before I'll touch it.
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#17 of 21 Old 03-14-2011, 06:32 AM
 
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I sometimes do read reviews, but I don't always like what gets good reviews, so I have to read critically and then make my own call. I don't fret about it too much if it's a book from the library or thrift store. I'm pretty okay at judging a book by it's cover and if it turns out that it stinks I'm not above stopping halfway through. I did read one recently that I was really enjoying up until the very last page and then it took a pretty drastic nosedive. So drastic that I immediately relegated it back to the thrift store pile. Not sure if it was worth my 25¢ and time or not! I do like to look at Amazon's recommendations in hopes that I will find a great book that really resonates with me, but I still take it all with a grain of salt. I have trouble finding books I love, actually, but I do have a few authors I like, so I'll go back to them if I hit a dry spell. Basically, I'm really picky about what I L-O-V-E LOVE, but I'll read lots of other stuff in the process. Sometimes I just wanna find that book that I LOVE, but that's tricky.


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#18 of 21 Old 03-15-2011, 10:36 PM
 
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I usually use reviews to get suggestions on what to put on my To Read list.  I enjoy browsing Good Reads when I am not sure what I am going to read next. 

 

Like a lot of PPs have mentioned, I am much more inclined to carefully consider reviews if I am looking to purchase a book rather than getting it through the library.  I am much more willing to take a chance on a library book!

 

I also like to just browse at the library when I have time, but I live in a small town with a fairly small local library.  Fortunately it is connected to the provincial library network so I can go online and order books through interlibrary loan after getting suggestions from places like Good Reads.


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#19 of 21 Old 03-22-2011, 12:24 PM
 
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Depends, I'm guessing you are referring to fiction. I do take reviews into consideration when they mention subject matter content that I find offensive or distasteful.

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#20 of 21 Old 03-28-2011, 07:01 PM
 
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If it is a book by an author whose works I have never read then I read reviews before buying.

I wouldn't read reviews before taking something out of the library. I usually just browse and grab something there.

 


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#21 of 21 Old 03-29-2011, 06:35 AM
 
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Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

 

I don't really ever go by reviews on Amazon. I'll read them for curiousity's sake, but I don't puch much stock in them. I do follow a few reviewers on GoodReads, and I often pick up books those reviewers are reading. I already know that our tastes in books are similar, so I usually do well picking up books that they like.

 

I also like to read newspaper book reviews. I enjoy reading the ones on CSMonitor, and have picked up a few books that have had very positive reviews there, but it seems hit-or-miss whether I end up liking those. On the other hand, when I hear an author interview on NPR and enjoy listening to them, I usually like their book. I do wonder how many authors I am less-than-impressed by over the radio whose books I would have liked had I picked them up.

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