Ed here: The wonderful Patti Abbott blogs today about Amazon reviews and their worthiness as guides to buying books.
"Apparently a lot of people don't see irony or satire or even an attempt to point up societal flaws in what they read. They read each book as if it was written by the same writer and should be held to the same standards. They choose a book using these wrong standards and then hold the book accountable for their mistake in choosing it or their inability to understand it.
"Amazon has brought about the democratization of book reviewing, but is that a good thing. Are you always sure that your perception of a book is correct. I'm not. I have only ever posted one bad review on amazon and that was out of pique that an ordinary book was getting so much hype. How about you?"
Ed here: My favorite experience here was a woman's response to one of my westerns. Now even though I don't claim to be a historian I do research my backgrounds as carefully as I can. In this case the city was Denver and what I referred to (I believe this was the 1880s) was how magnificent it was in some ways but appalling in others because of the poverty. I didn't think this was big news. What city then or now doesn't have these striking differences? I guess the poverty was particularly striking because it was so raw.
This woman climbed all over me for defaming her beautiful city. I even wrote her and made my case but she was having none of it. As I recall she was on some historical committee. Yes, everything was beautiful and wonderful in Denver from Day One. And the waters, much like Lourdes, had amazing healing powers.
When I read Amazon I look for industry reviews before reader takes. You can figure out pretty quickly if a review is worth reading. I've gotten good ones and bad ones. Sometimes--true facts--the good ones are so exultant they're as embarrassing as the bad ones (are you listening Mom?). I'm not a regular reader of the reviews anyway. I tend to put a lot more credence in certain bloggers as well as a handful of established mainstream reviewers.