A few weeks later, I heard a reviewer on the NY Times Book Review Podcast discussing "Starbucks," giving it a negative review. If I had heard the review prior to purchasing the book, I would never have read it. I would have missed the enjoyment.
The author Francine Prose was recently interviewed by NPR's Terry Gross, discussing her new book, "Goldengrove." Towards the end of the interview, Ms. Prose was asked why she is loathe to write "negative" book reviews. She answered that, with the exception of very well established writers, she writes reviews only for books she likes because she realizes how difficult it is to write well; she has little desire to make a writer's task of finding readers even more difficult. Something may not work for her, but may work very well for someone else.
Surely, book reviews are important. They help us find topics we want to understand. They add to our understanding of books we've already read. But a bad review doesn't make it a fact that a book is bad. It means that the reviewer doesn't like it, or doesn't like some aspect of it. Our opinion may be that the book is good, that we get something of value from it. Beware of bad reviews.
I admire Francine Prose's thoughts on this. My next read: "Goldengrove."
Yes, I'll check the reviews, after I finish reading it.