Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Here is the poll question for the past week:
Do you pay attention to what critics have to say when choosing what book to read next?
A. Yes. Critics help me narrow down my book choices.
B. Sometimes. It really depends on the book and/or the critic, though.
C. No. I don't want to be biased before I start the book.
D. No. I never seem to agree with critics.
The results are in and ... 50% of voters sometimes pay attention to critics (depending on the book and/or critic) while the other 50% of voters do not pay attention to critics for the fear of becoming biased before reading. Before you become blinded by my dazzling math skills, I will warn you that statistics can create a hazy picture, and I don't want all book critics running out and quitting their jobs because not a single percentage of readers always pay attention to what they have to say. My numbers are based on a whopping 4 votes. I was rather proud of getting 4 whole votes (new blog, still recruiting a following), so a big thank you to the four people who made this results posting possible.
One of the reasons I asked the question was because I was trying to figure out my own reading relationship to book critics/reviewers. Prior to the past month, I probably would have answered either C or D because I tended to staunchly avoid book reviews (even the ones posted by users on sites like Amazon). Sometimes it was because I didn't want to be biased or find out too much information about the plot by a poorly written review (some people don't know how to review without spoiling), but other times it was because when books I enjoyed got horrible reviews, I was left with my doubts about critics. The same goes for movies--I tend to really like the movies critics hate while only semi-enjoying the movies critics hale.
Over the past month, though, I've become aware of a new type of book critic: the online blogger who reviews books. I found my answer swaying more toward the A and B answers from above. I've been able to find bloggers who fit my reading style and provide fair reviews that help me narrow down my reading selection (or, in some cases, add to it). Not all online bloggers have reviews that are helpful for me, so I don't pay attention to what all of them are saying (so the helpfulness really depends on the reviewer in question). I don't know if these bloggers consider themselves critics or not, but for me, they fill the position nicely. If you'd like to check out some of the bloggers I follow for advice on whether or not to read particular books, my blog list in the right-hand sidebar includes an up-to-date list of blogs I frequently read (most include book reviews; a couple are devoted to language and words rather than to book reviews).
So thank you again to my voters, and thank you to the bloggers who have helped me come to appreciate a well-written book review, especially Rebecca of The Book Lady's Blog, Dawn of She is too fond of books, Trish of Trish's Reading Nook, and Ruth of Bookish Ruth.
The new poll question for this week is up (my polling week runs from Wednesday to Wednesday), so be sure to vote. My goal is to get at least 10 votes this time. . . Again, if you have any suggestions for questions, please share them with me.
Happy reading and voting on poll questions!