Book Reviews – Not All Are Created Equal

I cherish my reading buddies. I see them as rare gems, waiting to be discovered in a sea of movie-goers, hikers, artists, jocks, yogis  and fashionistas.

Since the rise of the social, it has been easier than ever to connect with fellow book lovers and see what others think of the sequel you just read and loved or about the one you are hesitant to buy. Behold the sea of reading buddies! I was ecstatic when I came across Goodreads some four years ago and I still prefer to hang there than on Pinterest, Tumblr or 9gag.

But I have been thinking and I am worried.

reading

It’s too easy to share an opinion on a book these days. And just like with any other social platform, some people on Goodreads tend to be attached to their opinions and dismissive of others. While giving an opinion about a dress or a shoe, or a mower is relatively easy for anyone no matter education, life experience or age, giving an opinion on a book is not.

At least, real reviews by people equipped to appreciate the literary value of a book should not have the same visibility and weight as that of a teenager who happened to pick up a book too mature for their age and found it boring.

I feel the discourse has been distorted and simplified by readers with poor understanding of literature. I see books of great merit being dismissed by readers, who obviously enjoy lighter reads to substitute for their favorite TV shows during the summer break. And since publishing is also an industry, this demand is soon met by the respective supply. This is bad for the books of merit.

Don’t get me wrong – I do not want to judge people for choosing a chick-lit over Dostoevsky. I am happy people are reading and the more they read, the better. We are all becoming better for it. I am not saying I am reading the right books the right way, and others are not, either. But when a devoted Twilight fan dismisses Isabel Allende’s writing as lacking, I cringe.

Do you? Share your thought in the comments : )

photo credit: Vivi Calderón via photopin cc

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