Yesterday the January issue of Elle magazine hit the stands, and it has a review of Come in and Cover Me written by the lovely Kate Christensen. (If you haven’t read The Great Man and The Epicure’s Lament, you should get them for the holidays.) It’s an awfully nice review…so much more fun to read than the not-so-nice reviews.
But the reviews in general–from magazinesand newspapers to Amazon and goodreads–are starting to trickle out. I once heard an author say he’d never read a single review of his book. I admire that. I can’t stick with it, though. It’s too tempting. I have promised myself I will not read any Amazon/goodreads reviews this time–they cause too much of an urge to argue, and, face it, I can’t possibly track down those people to argue with them. It doesn’t really hurt my feelings if someone dislikes the book, but I do often think something like, “Wait, what do you mean Ren wasn’t that close to her brother? I explain that clearly on page blah blah blah…” Not helpful.
Mostly, reviews remind me how subjective books are. One person says Silas is a hunk and too good for Ren, and the next person says they don’t understand why he’s appealing. One person says the ghosts don’t work for them, and the next person says they want more ghosts. One person says the book is haunting and lyrical, and the next says it moves too slow.
This is my new idea: I wish there were a book Web site where people rated books, BUT they also entered their favorite ten authors. Then, when looking at a book, you could see an overall star rating, but you could also ask to see a rating based on people who share at least, say, two of your favorite authors. Or five of your favorite authors. The ratings would mean so much more then. You’d know that the rating wasn’t being brought down by someone who picked up The Road hoping it would be The Stand.
And I admit it, I’m in favor of any system that gives me more stars. Can’t get enough of ’em.