This pic has got nothing to do with the post, it just made me laugh so I thought I'd share.
I've just finished reading More by Sloan Parker. It's a book I was very much looking forward to reading because it's had a lot of favourable reviews. Not that I've read any of the reviews, mind you, because I don't read the reviews of books I am going to review myself until after I've reviewed. I have, however, seen the star ratings on Good Reads and Wave's site, and the gushing comments and remarks on Twitter. Lots of people have left comments like 'It's scorching hot' and 'the ménage really works' and 'the best book I've read in ages' etc, etc. As a result of this I pushed it to the top of my TBR pile, even though I have books which I have promised authors that I would read and review, that really should have been read first. I love m/m/m books, especially those that show a real growth in the relationship dynamic, so this book looked to be just my thing and I eagerly started reading.
Now, given that everyone - even Kris - gave this book a rating of 4+ stars, I was expecting to love it. Instead, I found myself underwhelmed and, to be honest, finishing it was a bit of a slog. I'm not going into the specific reasons why here, because I'm going to review it tomorrow, but I did wonder, in part, whether my expectations were too high based on what I'd seen from other people. Did the fact that I was expecting to love the book actually count against it when it came to my reaction? This is entirely possible, because as I examine why I had problems with the book, I realise that a lot of it is to do with personal feelings and not much to do with there being technically much wrong with the book.
Let's take the opposite side of things. I have a book in my TBR pile which has been slammed on Good Reads and some other review sites - The Shunned by Jay Hughes. The author sent it to me to review and I'm embarrassed to say that I've been putting it off because of all the bad reviews it's been getting - again I've only seen the star ratings and not read the actual reviews. I'm going to have to knuckle down and read it ready to review next week because it's not fair to the author to keep him waiting when I said I would review his book, but my expectations of the book are not high, to say the least. Part of me is wondering whether my low expectations are going to cloud my reading of the book. Will it get a higher grade because I'm not expecting it to be a good read? I can't answer that until I start reading, but it's a slight worry in the back of my mind.
Before I joined Good Reads I was pretty good at ignoring what everyone else thought of a book until after I'd read it myself. This meant that I often approached a book with no expectations whatsoever. I was a clean slate, as it were. Now that I look on GRs on a regular basis, I find I am getting an overall view of the opinions of others before I read a book. It's almost impossible to avoid unless I stop visiting GRs at all, which I'm not going to do. In the end I just have to accept that I can't cocoon myself off from everything and as long as I'm aware of the influence that other reader's views may have on my opinion of a book then my reviews should still be able to write an honest review which isn't clouded by what other's may have thought of it.
How about you? Do you find yourself influenced by what others have thought of a book and does the fact that a book has been raved about/slammed affect your own interpretation of a book?