When I used to go to bookstores to buy books, long before Amazon entered the picture and the whole Ebook phenomenon began, I would enter the store with a set of standards in which I used to determine whether or not a book was for me. One of the standards that was always on the top of my list, was the thickness of a book. I considered books an investment. I wanted something that was going to be worth the time and money I spent on it. I wanted to go on a journey that took me someplace I have never been. I didn’t want a quick evening joy ride. Books that were short and sweet left me unsatisfied and wishing the author would have taken more time to dig deeper into the story. But that doesn’t mean the short and sweet books were not worth reading, it simply meant I preferred books that took me on the scenic route.
Not everyone shares that same preference. Some people lead much busier lives, and prefer reading books that are quick getaways that do not require a lot of their time to enjoy. Some people simply have shorter attention spans. It is all a matter of what you prefer. While there is nothing wrong with either type of books, it is a huge determining factor in whether or not you will truly enjoy a book. In this day and age, where book reviews are now a huge determining point in whether or not to buy a book, this is a factor that can make or break a book before it is given a good honest chance.
One of the trends I have personally noticed, not only as an author, but as a reader, is that there are a lot people giving reviews on books that are judged upon their preference rather than the quality of the book itself. I have read some really bad books that were given high ratings they didn’t deserve. I have read books that were given low ratings that were incredible books, but they took a while to marinate on your senses, and those reviewers obviously had no interest in giving the book the time it deserved. I find myself now doing the same as I used to do when walking into a bookstore. I hated looking at book covers that gave the story away too much. What frustrated me the most was when there were pictures of characters on the cover that did not match the characters in the book. I also avoided reading the book synopsis. I didn’t want to ruin the story before I even had a chance to read it. I only read just enough to give me an idea of whether or not I was interested in the topic.
To me, book reviews have gone far beyond their original intent and now ruin more books than they help. Not only do people leave their opinions of books, but now some reviewers are giving you their own synopsis of the books and often spoiling the story by giving away too much info. But once again, perhaps this is another preference in which I find myself having that many others do not share. I suppose you can compare it to the reasons why you choose to take the expressway or the scenic route. People that take the expressway tend to do so, not only because of the speed it takes to finish the journey, but they also have a good idea of what to expect on the journey before they even begin. Their whole purpose of the journey is to enjoy what is on the other end. Those that take the scenic route, do so because they want to take their time to enjoy all the little surprises along the way. The journey itself is just as important as the destination.
What kind of reader are you?