A bit of a controversial blog post today, so things might get interesting, but I have been thinking about this for a while and I thought I should the thoughts into words and throw them out to the world.
I dislike Booktubers and Book reviewers that consistently give 4 and 5 stars to the books they read.
I’m talking about more than 80% of the books they read end up with 4 or more stars. Booktubers and Book reviewers that pretend to love every book they read, ever. They never seem to dislike a book, and when they don’t give a book 4 stars (or more!) it was because they only ‘liked’ the book, but didn’t ‘love’ the book.
While I admit that I rarely read a book that I dislike or outright hate, I do have issues with a lot of books, and as a result many books of the books I read fall into the average book category (of around 3 stars). When I feel a book is just average I say as much. I don’t want to read a lot of average books, I want to read as many great or excellent books as possible, therefore I try to say how I really feel about the book so that others may be informed before reading it after me.
On one hand, I get that publishing is a hard business; authors don’t make a lot of money and a good review means more sales. However, I’m less likely to trust reviews from reviewers that love every book they read. For me, the reviews become less meaningful.
A reviewer that loves every book they read seems like they want to be friends with every author and publisher than to review books in a meaningful way. Loving every book is a good way to be trusted by publishers as they know you will give the book a good review even if it is not the greatest book and therefore the book will sell better because it has good reviews. Fair enough. But I feel like for buyers/readers/followers/friends/whatever you want to call them it is dishonest as to me it seems as though the reviewer is out to get free books rather than say the book had a flaw or two. It makes it hard to differentiate what books are really good and that the reviewer really really loved versus the ones that are average.
Review videos do help distinguish great books from average books, as it is fairly easy to tell based on face, voice and mannerisms if they person truly loved the book (plus its a lot of effort to go through for a book that was not truly loved, unless the reviewer wants to talk about why they didn’t like the book as much as they would have liked). A written review is harder to trust, though again, it’s harder to give a lengthy meaningful review about a book that is not truly loved. Pair a generic star rating and maybe a few words on the book compared to a lengthy, glowing review and it’s fairly easy to tell which reviewer liked the book more. However, I want to be able to take a star rating with those few words and give them as much weight as a lengthy reviews as not everyone is great at putting into words why they loved I book. I will admit it up front, I’m terrible at saying how or why I love a book and much better at talking about how I don’t like a book.
Perhaps I’m just over thinking the whole situation. I don’t want to go pointing fingers at other people as they are books lovers the same as me and that is not productive. When I find I am trusting certain people’s reviews less and less I stop following them on Goodreads. It’s a simple solution and there is no need to make a fuss. But at the same time I also wonder if I am the only person that feels this way.
And as an added disclaimer: I don’t normally read reviews before I read new book but I like to follow people on Goodreads to get new ideas for books to read that I might not have heard about. Additionally, I do read books that people dislike (not just read books that everyone loves) however I like to know why the book is disliked before I read it. Sometimes I will then read the disliked book because the reasons people dislike it are reasons I would like it (an example I can think of are Gamer Girl by Mari Mancusi for being predictable, but I was in a predictable book mood). Other times I want to read a disliked or controversial/mixed review book in order to form my own opinion about the book (such as Carry On by Rainbow Rowell). Then there are times I read reviews on a liked book or a disliked book and decide it’s not the type of book for me.