Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Under The Influence

Now that Kris has gotten ratings on my mind, I've gotten to wondering, what influences you?  Or doesn't influence you?  Ok, maybe you're one of those people who manages to keep all of their reviews and ratings completely subjective.  Good for you.  But I think most of us are influenced by a lot of factors when making decisions, even ones so seemingly simple as rating a book.

1. Profession
This may seem like an odd one to put at the top of the list, but I know it has the biggest influence on my ratings.  I'm a college student (as if I haven't mentioned it enough) and something that really bugs me is grade inflation.  To me, a 3 star rating is average and by definition most books you read are going to be average.  I know it must feel horrifying for an author to be told their book is average or worse (at least I would be horrified) but it's not meant as an insult.  For me, the problem is if everyone is out there rating most books at 4's and 5's ratings become so much less reliable.

2. Other reviews
I suffer from review hype.  I seriously do my best not to, but if I've read too many good reviews for a book, it will impair my ability to judge the book for myself.  One the one hand, I'll be so prepared to love it that I might give it a 5 when otherwise I probably would have given it a 4, or I'll have been expecting so much from it that, when it doesn't deliver what I wanted, I downgrade it.

3. Author/Series
This isn't something I do, but I sometimes wonder about other people.  Does loving an author or a series mean you automatically love all the books by that author or in that series?  Here's an example.  I love love LOVE the BDB.  Can't get enough of them.  But I don't love all the books equally.  I gave Lover Eternal, Lover Enshrined, and Lover Avenged all 3 stars.  They would have been given less if not for the side plots and heavy appearances by other characters I did like.  But I'll go on Goodreads and see people who have rated all of the books in the series 5 stars.  Really?!  You think they're all that amazing?

Does anyone else feel they get influenced?  Do you have a method for only assessing your own feelings when rating a book?  Or worse- are you a grade inflator?!

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