Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Rankings and Reviews

I saw something that bothered me a bit and I want to see what everyone else thinks about it. I read some reviews for a book on Goodreads. One reader had given the book only two stars but her review seemed to say she enjoyed the book. At the bottom of the review she had a definition "Good books are books for entertainment. Interesting books are books that educate". So, she only gave the book two stars because it was interesting and educational, but not "good".

What?!

In case you wondered, I'm all for reading for fun, but I can't imagine putting that kind of limit on a book. Does something have to be a beach read to be good? If a book broadens my mind is it suddenly interesting but not good?  I'm appalled that someone would give a book they enjoyed and learned from only two stars, just because they didn't read it solely for entertainment.

I'm glad she had her little disclaimer at the bottom of the review.  It helped me gauge where she was coming from so I knew how much weight to give the review. Still, I'm disturbed. And worried.  Do other reviewers have such random categories?

Is this normal and I'm missing the boat? How do you classify good? Is it quality of writing, interesting plot? Fun vs educational? Some combination of everything? Or just a gut feeling of "this touched me".

I'm starting to get an idea of how agents feel, and I'm glad I don't have to do their jobs.





19 comments:

  1. I'm pretty sure this is (oddly enough) normal. It's why I don't put too much weight on one review. Now if a collection of reviews say the same thing, then I start to listen.

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  2. I don't read novels to be educated. I agree with Lynda on seeing if reviewers are saying the same thing about a book.

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  3. I don't get that either. I have several technical books that I think are excellent because I can get the information I need quickly and they are clear and easy to understand. Not a beach read, but still good books. And still, there are many great philosophy and science based books that are difficult reads, but are still excellent books because they make you think, I mean really think, about the world, space, evolution, etc....and just because it requires a bit more effort to read than your basic love triangle vampire love story, shouldn't mean it deserves less stars.

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  4. I don't get some people's reasoning when they hand out stars. I've seen the same thing when a reviewer states they thought the book was good, but only give it two stars. Just baffling.

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  5. That's a review I don't read. :-P on those who rate/star an author's works lower than their review leads one to think. Just :-P

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  6. When I was a kid every time I complained about how weird some people are, my mother would say, "Takes all kinds to make the world go round." Well, my Mum's gone now, so I'm free to say, MA--people are weird!

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  7. Reviews on Goodreads can be a strange thing instead, whether starred low or high. :)

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  8. I would read all reviews and base my decision on that... Not some silly personal weight scale.

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  11. Reviewers are people, and among people are strange eggs.

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  12. Reviews are subjective. Its all one persons choice.

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  13. Yep. I stay off Goodreads for that reason. The reviews are all over the place!

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  14. I'm with Emily. I keep off Goodreads and I don't pay attention to reviews. It's too subjective. I've read some where they loved the book and only gave 3 stars.

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  15. Hi, Sara...

    How ridiculous! I agree with you. Why would ANY SANE person give a 2 star review on a book THEY LIKED! I have heard horror stories about goodreads, I wouldn't worry about it it. Like Mark said, read several reviews before closing a good book to read....

    Hope all is going well with your place. Lucky you that you get to build you own dream house. I seem to be buying a shell and recreating the space. When starting from the foundation, the POSSIBILITIES are endless! How exciting! Good luck!

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  16. I've never come across anything like that. Truly bizarre - so logically interesting means bad, even though you enjoyed it?

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  17. I can't read reviews on Goodreads. They're badly written, have no logic or flow, and there's no consistency in the ratings since everyone has their own instincts and reasoning. I see things like "3 stars: I just started this book and I'm enjoying it so far" -- what kind of review is that?!
    But maybe that's just me...

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  18. Yup. Reviewers are brutal, not realizing they're taking the wind out of an author's sail. At the same time, reading is so subjective. I had a 45 year old man who pick up one of my teenage-girl books and then felt compelled to review it. Seriously. I'm wondering what about the cover or description screamed at him, "YOU HAVE TO READ ME." But read he did, for about 30 pages, then flamed it. People are weird.

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  19. Reviews are bizarre, I tell you! I always say...not to read.

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