I’m a contrary beast – as if you hadn’t noticed.
When wondering what films to watch I’ll scour the net, flick through IMDB or Rotten Tomatoes or online reviews from broadsheets and tabloids to see what the experts think before investing my hard earned.
I hasten to add, I’m pretty picky about whose advice I take and much of that is based on politics and snobbery. I’m a left leaning-individual – you may have gathered that from my occasional backhanded snipes at the current Conservative government and their policies.
As a logical – possibly illogical – progression, I’ve extended this prejudice towards right-leaning newspapers. Clearly, I don’t buy this kind of paper as I’m not scared by immigration, I don’t wish to castigate people because they’ve fallen on hard times and have to draw benefits and I’m not forever on the lookout for fad cures for life threatening diseases – I don’t expect to cure dementia with the shavings from a cuttlefish bone, high cholesterol by licking cane toads or heart disease by stripping down to my knickers, standing on my head and reciting Dad’s Army scripts backwards whilst juggling bottles of Veuve Clicquot champagne.
Because I despise these papers, I automatically think their film reviewers will like films I don’t like and dislike films I do. This is nonsense, of course, but a misconception I can’t shake. So, I’ll read The Guardian newspaper’s movie reviewer’s take on whichever The Fast and the Furious we’re on now and if in the unlikely event they give it a glowing report, I’ll be tempted to rush to my nearest multiplex, buy a ticket along with a bucket of popcorn the size of my bath (never trust food that is served in buckets – we’re not pigs. Well, most of us aren’t) and enough cola to quench the thirst of two dozen Maasai tribesmen, even though I don’t really like blockbusters, and loathe every adrenalin, testosterone filled second of driving movies.
And on a side note, am I the only one put off by certain glowing tag quotes they attach to movie posters? Take my advice – read where the quote’s from. I’m happy to take the advice of film magazines such as Empire and Total Film – less so if it’s from Crochet Monthly, The Jam Makers’ Chronicle or Door hinge and Keyhole Magazine.
Anyway, as I’m so picky with films, you’d think I’d apply the same technique to books. I’m don’t. In fact, I don’t usually look at book review blogs at all.
Is this weird for a woman so obsessed by the written word, she keeps magazines in the kitchen so she has something to read as the kettle boils? Actually, though I’m weird in many ways (oh, if only you knew), I don’t think this is one of them and even if you don’t want to know, I’ll tell you why.
Books are just too important.
I love films, don’t get me wrong, but they’re not my passion. If I take another person’s recommendation about a film and don’t enjoy it, I can shrug and move on. It’s the same with TV. If someone badgers me into tuning in to the latest hot TV programme – usually something that’s chocka-block with death and breasts if Game of Thrones is anything to go by – and I don’t like it, I just chunter on about an hour of my life wasted and never tune in again.
But a book … A book is an investment of time, money and soul. It’s a commitment that can possess me if it’s good – leading me to wander the house and the streets still reading, that can mean I have to have paperbacks surgically removed from my hands. Well, maybe not the last bit.
If the book’s bad it can lead to simmering resentment, to Reading Reluctance (R.R) – a horrible condition where you don’t look forward to your usual curling up and sinking into a papery embrace because your current book isn’t enjoyable. The thought makes me shudder.
No one knows exactly what I like to read – I’m not sure I can define it clearly – so how can I take another person’s view seriously? And anyway, of all the book review blogs around, many just aren’t that good. I’ve lost count of the number of bloggers who claim to be reviewers and merely print synopses. A synopsis is not the same as a review, people.
So how do I choose books? I’m Old School – I look at covers, I read blurbs. I’d just rather trust my own judgement than that of others. And if I get it wrong, at least I’ve only got myself to kick for my current dose of R.R.
Having said all of this, there is one blogger whose recommendations I do value – bluchickenninja. I’m sure many of you have found her already, and if you haven’t, do visit.