06 January 2009

Maybe I shouldn't read reviews

Sometimes I think I will never learn my lesson. I read comments about The Year of Living Biblically on Goodreads after I had only read 10 pages of the book. My enthusiasm for reading the book took a dip as I read about how several readers felt the author was too snarky and flippant. I wasted the rest of my Sunday reading time debating whether I wanted to finish reading the book based on the information.

This isn't the first time that this has happened. The temptation to read others' opinions makes me forget how easily influenced I am. If I read or watch something on my own without any preview, then I can form my own opinion. If I read reviews first, then it is difficult for me to form an opinion that isn't tainted by the reviews, especially if they are negative.

Do any of you have the same problem? Do you have to avoid commentary about a book until you have read it yourself, or are you unfazed by other people's negative thoughts on the book?


Anna said...

Reviews do influence me, so I try to not read them if I have decided to read/listen/watch something on my own accord. I find reviews to be more helpful for when I'm looking for something new, and not for when it's something I've already decided to consume.

Stephanie said...

Hmmm. It really depends. For fiction, generally, reviews do sway me. If they're mostly negative, I'll stay away. Non-fiction...That heavily depends on the subject matter. If reviews say something like it's badly researched or heavily biased (and it depends on what SIDE it's biased! LOL), I may pass. But if it's a subject matter I really want to read about, or a memoir that sounds intriguing, I'll read it anyway.

One of the absolute worst books I've ever read got four stars on Amazon, so I take reviews with a grain of salt, and sometimes an entire salt lick. ;)