AKA…Do you have a cooling off period for your reviews and proclamations of this is The Best Book Ever to friends and/or your blog?
Last month I was chatting with my book club about favorite and least favorite books that we have read over the past year, and we started talking about The House at Riverton, by Kate Morton. When we walked into the room, everyone loved the book. I thought that had good things to say and I am usually the dissenting opinion in the room. I even dislike my own picks, but that’s a conversation for another day. Within twenty minutes everything had changed and we didn’t like the book as much. We pretty much picked apart everything, and more or less came to the conclusion that while we liked the book okay, and it was fun to read, it was ultimately unsatisfying and there were lots of holes in the story that could have been filled, less cliche, and just in some places a lot more clear. By this time I had already finished writing up the glowing thoughts that I linked to above.
Now, there’s not anything that I don’t stand by in the review, in fact I list a whole bunch of apprehensions and things which were happening with other books that made me so ecstatic to read this one. And it did have the good points that I mentioned, but I was just so happy to be reading a book that I actually wanted to finish that I was willing to forgive more that I usually would have forgiven. There’s a whole lot more that I would mention if I had it to do all over again. But, in fact, I had just finished reading the only two books of 2008 that I could not finish; North River, by Pete Hamill and Man Gone Down, by Michael Thomas (which, naturally, is getting raves and awards all over the place now, lol), and there is a lot to be said for a comparative experience.
So if you read The House at Riverton because of me, sorry! I got caught up in a moment, but it wasn’t so bad, now was it? That’s not likely to happen again because now I usually wait about a week before I post anything. Who am I kidding? Some times more than that. With some books it takes me a long time to figure out what I thought. The Ten Year Nap, by Meg Wolitzer is a prime example. I think the problem there is that I wanted to like the book so much and didn’t.
Have you ever recommended something in the heat of the moment and felt differently about it later? Do you feel differently about books after discussing them with others? Do you wait a little bit before you post reviews or recommend things to other people? What’s the balance with connecting with a book emotionally and being able to figure out its merits? Do you go back and change reviews or ratings to ones that reflect your current thoughts? Should you?
Talk to me people. I really want to know.