Easy to Please Reader v. Critical Reader

Easy toPleaseReader

I follow a large variety of book blogs – blogs that have a slew of positive reviews for almost every single book, ones that vary, and ones that all seem to be honest but extremely negatively critical. I’ve always respected each type of reader, but it recently made me think about those different ways of reading books. How does one reader’s opinion differ and how does it affect the way they enjoy books?

The easy-to-please reader is a reader who can pick up any book and see only the positive aspects in it; in other words, they’re an optimist. Most of the time, they’ll think the book is really well-paced, and that the love triangle is swoon-worthy and nicely done. Almost every book they read will be a 5-star read on Goodreads, and in their review, they will only focus on the positive qualities in the book.

On the other hand, the critical reader will inspect nearly every aspect of the novel and break it down – they will always find some sort of imperfection in the book. They rarely give out 5 star reads, and reviews are almost always written like an essay for class. Most of these critical readers are people who maybe recently left school and are still in that essay/critical/analytical mindset, where they must find the author’s purpose in narration, voice, choice in characters, etc.

You can usually tell if a blogger is the easy-to-please reader or the critical reader if you look at their average rating on their Goodreads profile. For example, the average rating under my profile picture says 4.08 avg. I’d like to think of myself as more on the easy-to-please reader side, simply because I give books mostly 4 stars, but round up to 5 stars if it’s 4.5. Then again, I DNF and don’t rate books if I don’t finish them.

However, I’ve seen bloggers consistently give books 1 or 2 stars for nearly every book they read – the critical reader. When I see this, I ask myself: How is it possible that they enjoy reading if every book is awful and not perfect and thus, not enjoyable? Isn’t reading supposed to be fun? It’s like being able to eat disgusting meals every day and keep doing it because you want to – how does that work?

I envy readers who see the very positive aspects of books. It seems like that would be the best way to go, because the act of reading would be extremely enjoyable then if you loved every book. However, as a book reviewer, it makes it difficult for the audience to gauge what book is actually good, and same goes for the reviewers who are all critical in a negative way. Which books are actually worth skipping?

Truly, I appreciate the readers who are in between. I’m pretty easy to please, but I think reviewers who are in that average rating of 3.4-3.9 are reviewers who I trust the most. Realistically, it makes me happy to see a reader who has an average rating of 3.7-4.3. There are so many sides to how a reader’s opinion affects their reviewing and how trustworthy those thoughts are.
What’s your say on the easy-to-please reader v. the critical reader? What kind of reader are you? How does this idea affect the blogs you read?

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13 thoughts on “Easy to Please Reader v. Critical Reader

  1. Ooo good question Jen! I think I’m fairly in the middle – I rarely give extremely low or extremely high ratings. I find it hard to give 1 or 2 stars unless it’s so poorly written I can’t deal with it or has something morally objectionable for no explainable reason other than shock factor. Otherwise I tend to rate in the 3-4.5 range:) I don’t mind the easy to please blogs where everything is 4.5 or 5, I just keep that in the back of my mind when reading their reviews, but I struggle with the overly critical reviews. The ones that tear nearly every single book to pieces. Like you said, where’s the enjoyment?

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  2. I think I’m in the middle ground. I feel like it’s hard to be a easy to please reader and be a reviewer! My average is 4.27 (a lot of that is from my days of giving out 5 stars like they were candy) but I think I rate a lot more 3s now than I used to. Simple from the “eh” place on a book. But also, I don’t read books I don’t think I will like, so I enjoy most of what I read.
    SUCH an interesting post, Jen! XO

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    1. I’m kind of picky with the books I read too, so in the end, I generally give good reviews because I knew I would like the book in the first place. When I love a book, I don’t mind giving it a 5-star rating and eventually, looking past all the more or less obvious flaws. On the other hand, when I start nitpicking, I just can’t stop myself.

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  3. I totally agree! I tend to be pretty easy to please, and my average rating is 3.9 on Goodreads. I like to see the positive aspects on books in general. Sometimes there are a lot of things I disliked in a book but I was flipping pages quickly and I was entertained, so I can still give it a high rating. Does that make sense? Anyways, wonderful post! I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately.

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    1. Yeah totally! If a book has its flaws but it was REALLY addicting, it can get a pretty high rating from me! If I was engaged, the book has to be pretty good. Thanks for stopping by, Jess!

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  4. I consider myself closer to an easy to please reader, but on Goodreads my average rating is a 3.49. I guess it’s much harder for me to give a book a 4 or 5 star rating, because that means they were out of this world good or pretty darn close. Usually I find myself gravitating to 3 stars when I’m rating a book that I enjoyed, but didn’t absolutely love. Personally I don’t like reading reviews that so critical about a book that they basically rip it apart, but I prefer reviews that honestly and kindly explain the issues that person has with a book. I’ve actually read negative reviews that have pointed out reasons that the reviewer didn’t enjoy the book but another person would, and I ended up picking up the book. Great post Jen!

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    1. Hmm, that’s really interesting that you consider yourself an easy to please reader, but have a rating of 3.49! Yeah for me, a book that I enjoyed but didn’t absolutely love is a 4 star rating for me, so that’s probably why. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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  5. This is such a great question! I’ve never given a book one star as that usually means that I DNFed the book, so what is the point of rating? But sometimes I worry that I have rated too many books higher than they in reality deserve.

    I’d consider myself an easy to please reader, especially now looking at my Goodreads average and finding that it is 3.94. This makes me question whether I am actually a good reviewer or not :/

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  6. I would say I’m easy to please, but then again I try to really consider each book I read. If I know it’s not my kind of thing, I don’t touch it. So I COULD branch out more I guess, but I’m also generally quite happy with most things. Apparently my GR average is 3.48, even though I’m pretty sure I’ve awarded a lot of 4 and 5 stars this year!

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  7. I think I’m more to a easy to please reader and my average rating on Goodreads is 3.81.

    I used to rate 1 or 2 stars for books I’ve abandoned but ever since I read the comments on my recent post “How Do You Rate Books You’ve Read?”, I’ve decided not to give rating to DNF books.

    I’ve been following a very famous book reviewer on Goodreads for quite some time. Most of her ratings I saw on my Goodreads news feed were 1 star. Whenever I see that, I would wonder how many books she would rate higher than 3.

    I’m an amateur book reviewer so maybe I’m not equipped with the right skills to do a literary critic. As long as the writer’s writing is good, the pace is not too slow and the characters are interesting, I would rate the book at least 3 stars.

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