You'll be impressed to note that I'm doing Booking Through Thursday on a Thursday, if only just. I had intended to write a review of Mary Cavanagh's The Crowded Bed, but you'll have to wait for tomorrow now. Suffice to say, it'll be quite positive.
And that brings me neatly to this week's BTT:
How much do reviews (good and bad) affect your choice of reading? If you see a bad review of a book you wanted to read, do you still read it? If you see a good review of a book you’re sure you won’t like, do you change your mind and give the book a try?
I'm going to take it as read that we're talking about Blog Reviews, since I don't read any others. Without wishing to open the can of worms that is the blogger vs. literary critic debate, on a personal level I get very little from newspaper reviews. More specifically, The Times, since it is the only newspaper I have occasional access to, being the one my family reads. (I don't read the newspaper myself - takes up too much other reading time, and the experience is inherently transitory, I reckon.) The reviews printed in The Times are always too long, too unconnected with the book, and too highbrow for me. They muse around topics vaguely in the same area as the book, present their own opinion as though it were fact, and end up telling me almost nothing about whether or not I'd want to read the book - unless, of course, they just give the end away. And as for the books they review... worthy biographies are not my staple. Plus, quite naturally, they review only recently published books.
The blog acts as an opposite to almost all these points. I'm not arguing that they are more intellectually qualified etc. etc., but rather they serve the purpose I have in mind. Will I like this book? Will I value reading it? There are certain bloggers I trust as having similar opinions to me - Elaine, Karen, Lisa, Danielle and Margaret are all likely to influence whether or not I buy a book. To be honest, though, if a book immediately doesn't appeal, even the most glowing appeal will leave me cold. If a close e-friend adores it, but it still doesn't appeal, I'll probably dither and buy it if ever seen in a charity shop, and read it four years later. I might read around thirty blog book reviews a week, most of them positive (because we tend not to comment if we've not enjoyed a book) and I can't read the lot.
Oh, and blogging has the immense advantage that reviews talk about books from the last three hundred years, not the last three weeks. Anything could come up.
So what does a blog review do in terms of convincing me to read a book?
- catapaults ones I already own up the tbr pile
- convinces me to buy ones which sort of appeal already
- puts books in my mind... if I hear about them another two or three times, I'm done for...