Thursday, September 26, 2013

When Reviewers Collide

Leila Roy, of bookshelves of doom, has an interesting piece at the Kirkus site. In it she disagrees with Kirkus's own review of The Waking Dark by Robin Wasserman. "Kirkus panned it as “skippable in the extreme”;" Leila says. "I haven’t been able to stop raving about it since reading it. Kirkus found it “unrealistic,” “ludicrous” and “snooze-inducing”; I found it chilling, suspenseful, shocking and raw."

This is an example of why I like to think of talking about books as "literary conversations" instead of "reviews." We tend to think of a review as something definitive. If you only read one review publication, that publication's reviewer provides you with your last word on any book you read about there. But, then, if you you read another publication, you may get a very different last word. That's the conversation.

The star system at places like Goodreads and Amazon, which are all averaged together so you see a 3-star book, 4-star, 5-star? No conversation there. A star is just a star. Even 5 stars are just 5 stars.

Of particular interest to me in this The Waking Dark conversation: I saw that book just a few hours ago at my library! I almost took it out. At the time, I wasn't particularly taken by what I considered to be a paranormal element. But now that I've overheard this conversation about The Waking Dark, I will reconsider the next time I see it.

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