IS QUALITY IN THE EYE OF THE READER?

We are all familiar with the expression, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” It is generally interpreted to mean that different people have different ideas about what is beautiful. And as a dog lover, I must admit there are some AKC breeds only an owner can love. (To avoid upsetting anyone I hereby plead the 5th with regard to which breeds – and, of course, my purebred Alaskan Malamute really IS beautiful!).

Having said that, I suspect that many of the general public who visit our website and view our list of B.R.A.G. Medallion honorees may wonder how these books can be fairly judged when, by its very nature, such judgment is qualitative rather than quantitative. Well, let me say right up front that we make no pretense that editors at the top traditional publishing houses, or professors at the leading schools of journalism, such as Northwestern’s (I picked that one because my eldest daughter has her Master’s from Medill), would give our honorees their stamp of approval. But I respectfully submit that those same editors and professors are NOT the people who buy fiction books or read them. Our readers ARE those people. Not professional editors. Not journalism professors. Simply ordinary people who love to read; people who know what they like and what they don’t like. And who better to judge a book and decide whether they would recommend it to their best friend than someone who reads for pleasure rather than as a profession?

Which brings me back to the question I posed in my blog’s title, “Is quality in the eye of the reader?” And my answer is a definite yes. However, with rare exceptions our Medallion books were unanimously approved by the group of independent readers who read them. This says to me that while quality is a subjective measure a good book is a good book regardless of who reads it, and the opposite is also true.

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