Hello, dear readers!
I’ll be the first one to tell you how surprised I was when so many people commented on my first ever discussion post last week. It really made my day and I learned a lot from the responses, so thank you all for being a part of that.
Of course, that also meant I decided to already write another one.
This one comes from me alone, no help from the boyfriend here. But I am super curious about your answers, because this is what I probably feel most guilty about, as a book reviewer and a blogger within the bookish community? So I guess it’s both a discussion post and a confession post (though my memory tries to tell me that I definitely confessed this already in a past life, so who bloody knows at this point).
Basically, I’m a blogger who loves to write book reviews (even though I struggle to write them sometimes, too) yet I almost never read other reviews.
Okay, but hear me out. It’s not that I don’t enjoy reading reviews. I definitely do and a lot of my WordPress feed is exactly that. And it’s not that I’m not curious to know what other bloggers, especially some of my favorites and those whose opinions I respect so highly, think about the books they’re reading. Because of course I want to know those things! But when it comes to a book I haven’t read yet but personally plan on reading, I avoid reviews like the plague–even the spoiler free ones. Why?
Because I don’t want my opinion influenced before I read it.
It may seem like a silly reason, but it’s there. As I’m updating my Goodreads account, I’ve accidentally scrolled too far down on a book’s page and, before I realize what’s happening, I’m reading the two star review at the very top right before I read the book and suddenly, all I can think about is what that reviewer said, and even if it might have not been an issue for me before (no one to tell, in instances like these), it’s definitely become one now.
I guess I should add the caveat that it’s negative reviews I don’t want to read. If it’s a positive review, it’s probably just going to add to my own hype. But if it’s negative, I’m going in with these preconceived notions that, had I not read the review, I would have been ignorant of. Because of course no one goes into reading a book completely uninfluenced (unless you just pick up a random book you’ve never heard of before and dive straight it). You had to have a reason for wanting to read it in the first place, right?Marketing efforts, hype, blurbs, synopsis, hell, even covers, have a way of influencing your opinion one way or another.
Usually, all of those things are trying to do one thing: make you want to read the book. I recognize that reviews often have the same goal. All the books I gush over, I do it in hopes that it help turn a reader into a fan of that book/author/series. But when I read a negative one, it just taints my reading experience.
Books I have read before? YES, I read those faster than you can write them (and if I know you wrote a review for a book I was planning to read, after I read it, I definitely try to remember to go back and read it…but I’m not very good at this). Books I have no intention of reading (especially super hyped books)? Yeah, I’ll usually read those, too. Just not books I haven’t read yet (even reviews I know are positive and spoiler-free).
I like this decision. It:
- allows me to read books unbiasedly.
- protects me from potential spoilers.
- helps me write a completely honest, my-opinion-only review.
But, on the other hand, it also:
- makes me feel like a hypocrite, because a) writing reviews takes work, b) I love it when people read mine and c) I love it even more when they say my words convinced them to try a series or read it sooner.
- feels like I’m robbing fellow reviewers from that ^^ affirmation and good feelings.
- lessens my ability to support other bloggers who I adore and want to support (especially those who only write book reviews and don’t do other memes, tags or posts, like I read endlessly).
So…that’s my stance on reviews. It seems weird to admit that I’m a book reviewer who doesn’t usually read reviews, but hopefully my discussion above helped make a little sense as to why? I’d love to hear your thoughts below on whether you read reviews or not, if you write them (or if you don’t!), and your reasons why. I’m really excited to see what else the community thinks!