Paradox of Fandom

Posted on March 8, 2014 by richardgoulter
Tags: , , , ,

I’d say I like reading. I read a fair number of books in a year.

Too bad, though, that I can now kindof see why some of those folk on GoodReads would rate books much more harshly than I would have.
Because they’ve probably read many more books than I have, and didn’t enjoy the book as much as I did.

I get the impression this is the case, see, after I finished Lisa Kleypas’ “Scandal in Spring”.
- It’s the fourth book in the series. I’d held off reading it after I’d read the third because “Devil in Winter” was so amazingly fantastic.
There was no way “Scandal in Spring” could be anywhere near as good.
It wasn’t anywhere near as good.
But, you see, I don’t mean to say it was an unenjoyable book to read. It was good. Certainly at least as good as the first two in that series. (Which also don’t compare to “Devil in Winter”).

And so here, you see, I have a less than enthusiastic response to what’s actually a rather decent read. Because I’d read books which I felt were much better.

Because I’d read enough books to have found some which I really really love, I don’t find a decent one to be as worthy.
Shame that.
And it’s kindof a paradox of fanaticism. - Those who are the biggest haters or dissenters are, if not the ignorant, then those who are the biggest fans of a domain.

There’s, unfortunately, a reliance on the average-rating of a book to get an indication of how good it is.
xkcd makes the joke, but an average rating of 5.0 has only rating; an average rating of 3.0 (or below) is “awful”, and ~4.0 is alright.
(Well, more like “greater than 4.0 is amazing”).
- I’m glad this isn’t always reliable. I’ve loved books which had average ratings ~ 3.0 - 3.5 (How can you know a book’s good or bad before reading it, right?).
But it is useful when trying out books from a new author, to see what others love.

- Can’t help but be amused by the example of Judith McNaught’s “Whitney, My Love” where the top reviews are 5-stars, 1-star, 5-stars, 1-star, 5-stars, 1-star..

Individually, though, there’s a usefulness in recording an “out of 5” score for a book; 5/5 is amazing, 4/5 is alright, 3/5 is less than alright. Less than that is awful.
And that’s a scheme to be derided as too nice by some, I’d think, if a typical rating is to be 4/5. (This is all under the arrogance of the reader which ignores how hard it is for a writer to write a book.. but, hey, that’s just how readers are).
- I wonder, though, whether those who read more will eventually tend to just give lower ratings to books, just because they’ve read more so as to be less in wonder about enjoying books.

Newer post Older post