Last night I finished a book that I almost didn't read. That would have been a shame. I normally thoroughly enjoy Nora Roberts books, but a reviewer I really respect gave it a so-so review so... well, I was afraid I was going to be disappointed.
At the time I purchased Black Hills, I also purchased Burn by Linda Howard and Knock Out by Catherine Coulter. Postponing reading Black Hills, I read the other two first. They were both excellent, by the way. I heartily recommend them both.
Night before last, I started Black Hills, finally reluctantly halting half way through because my bed beckoned. Then last night while waiting for my company to arrive, I whiled away the time by finishing the book. I thought it was a WONDERFUL book. Truly wonderful.
The thing that disturbs me is that I almost passed it by based on a stranger's review. Yes, I've read other reviews by her. Yes, it seemed like a very erudite review. And yet... well I usually don't allow others to influence my reading choices. Why did I almost let that happen this time?
Perhaps I'm just tired or burned out or preoccupied, but for some unfathomable reason, I almost chose not to form my own opinion. That would have been unfortunate. I would have missed a great story all because I was too lazy or too willing to let another person make that decision for me.
No, I don't think the reviewer is a bad person. I just forgot the most important fact about a review. It's one person's opinion. One person. The fact that it's in a blog for all the world to see doesn't make it any more valid for anyone except her.
Too often, we allow the opinions of others to influence us so that we miss out on some of life's most engaging experiences. Why? Why do we allow ourselves to be herded off the trail?
This was certainly a wakeup call to me. It made me re-evaluate how I look at reviews for my own books. Does it disappoint me when a reader doesn't like the book? Yeah. But again, it's one person's opinion. And I'm certain that out there somewhere there are a dozen other books that reader will love. That doesn't make my book a bad book. It just means that reader wasn't a good match.
How about you? Have you let someone hold you back from reading a good book?