#BookReviews: Different Strokes for Different Folks

I became a book reviewer/book blogger almost by accident. It was a natural progression, really. I love to read. Always have. When I was a child, my most favorite gifts were books. I could spend hours with my nose stuck in a book. I’m happy to say that hasn’t changed over the years. I still much prefer reading to watching television.

I’m lucky, I suppose, in that I enjoy just about any book genre. I like to keep my options (and my mind) open to the possibility that I’ll find a gem of a book. Whether I’m downloading a freebie on Amazon, perusing the shelves at a local bookstore, or taking a trip to the library (online or in person) I always manage to find something worth reading and maybe even reviewing. And this brings me to the purpose of this post:

Book Reviews and Why They’re So Subjective

We as humans look at the world and everything in it from a personal standpoint. From political perspectives, religious views and yes, to the books we read, we decide what we’ll embrace and discard because of how we think and feel about a particular topic. There’s no way around this, regardless of how much we think we can maintain an open mind. And this can be said of the books we read.

For me, there are definite deal-breakers when it comes to the books I read. Among them are:

  • Poor editing
  • Lack of character development
  • Weak story arc
  • Poor writing in general

Sometimes I just don’t like a book because of my own beliefs. For example, if a book has a female protagonist who is wishy-washy, unsympathetic or just plain doormat material I’ll discard it in a heartbeat. I like my female protagonists to be strong, independent women and if they’re not then the book just isn’t for me. Likewise, if there’s a lot of gratuitous sex, violence and explicit language in a book I’ll toss it aside. That’s just not the type of material I want to spend my time reading.

My point is, book reviews, like any product review, is purely subjective and based solely on the reviewer’s personal opinions. It irks me to no end when someone challenges someone else’s review based upon their own personal opinion. I’ve read more than a few really nasty comments on book and product reviews. I’ve received some nasty messages about the books and products I’ve reviewed. My response is always the same: This is MY review and not yours. This is MY opinion and not yours. Don’t like it? Then write a review that reflects your OWN opinion.

Thoughts?