Looking through book reviews is like walking through a forest. Some of the trees are long, some short. There are a variety of species, each with their own beauty. But there are many. For a popular book like Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, as many as 3.237.147 people have giving their rating, 47.855 of them included a review. Of all those people, some are bound to have different opinions. Almost 50.000 people even gave this jewel only one star.
Actually, I feel that most books on Goodreads have average ratings between 3.5 and 4 stars, and they do not always correlate with my own rating. So how should one decide which books are good and which aren’t? Which ones to spend precious time on and which one to skip? I’ve collected the ways I usually decide and share the three best tips here with you.
- What’s the genre?
Don’t let yourself be tricked into reading a highly rated book in a genre that you disgust. Of course, feel free to try something new, but don’t expect to start liking a genre just because of a good review. Some people might be reading detectives all the time and then they’ll try a fantasy. If they don’t like it, it might as well be because of their interests.
- Who’s the reviewer?
There are as many different reviewers as there are people. Some are always positive, others always negative. It might be worth checking out someones profile to see if your interests match. On Goodreads there is even a ‘Compare books’ function, that allows you to see how you rated books that you’ve both read.
Second important thing to keep in mind: what do you have in common with the reviewer? A 13-year-old girl will definitely have a different view than a 60-year-old guy. Again, take a look at the profile. Or look at the writing style. Personally I wouldn’t trust a review with a lot of OMG, capital letters and more teenage writing. Not because I think that those reviews are not good, just because I know that this person’s opinion will most likely not align with my own.
- How many people like the book?
If it’s still hard to decide whom to trust, you might want to trust the safety in numbers principle. If only one reviewer mentioned something, it’s probably just a quirk. If 100 do, I would start to be convinced.
But of course, it will always be a guess when you start reading a new book.Sometimes, you may have to take a plunge in the deep, discover that hidden gem that your friends and the reviewers on Goodreads haven’t found yet. And that’s also part of the thrill. I guess that you even need to read an awful book every now and then to really appreciate the good ones. The sheer number of books published every day, however, increase the need for a more reliable way of picking which ones to read. On my blog, I hope to help you with this, I hope to inspire you to read my favorite books too, so we can marvel about them together!
How do you decide which book to read next? Do you often look at ratings and reviews on Goodreads? Or do you have other methods?