We don't all like beets. I, for one, despise them. My husband, however, spends months growing them, then digging, peeling, chopping, and boiling, all to have a few helpings of one of the few purple foods available (which to my mind is nature's way of saying, "This is not normal").

That's why I seldom buy books based on reviews. I enjoy reading reviews, have even written them, but I don't make my read-or-don't-read decisions based on someone else's opinion of a book or an author. How many of us have given a beloved book to a friend or relative and been disappointed when that person was lukewarm about it or even hated it? If you can't predict what your friends will love to read, how can a complete stranger assure you that a book is a waste of your time?

What are reviews good for? Well, certainly a good review gives you an idea of what the book is about: it's subgenre, the writing style, the protag's slant. For example, if the lead character is ex-CIA and an alcoholic, I have a different approach to the book than if the lead is a nail technician who's also a shop-a-holic. I may enjoy both books (in different moods, for sure). But if a reviewer tells me I will laugh out loud at this book, I'm skeptical. As a reader whose sense of humor is geared more to Thomas Hardy's than Adam Sandler's, I beg to differ. A review is one person's opinion, and, as with beets, broccoli and that other purple food, eggplant, the appeal of a book is individual and can't be predicted.

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