Reading Habits #4: Reviews


… or what is it that compels you to read a review of a book?

So bloggers have written at length about whether or not a book blog needs to feature reviews.  Some say yes, some say no, and personally, one of the main reasons I started blogging was to share my thoughts on the books that I read.  What I want to know is, why do you read reviews?  And if you tend to avoid reading reviews, why?

I love reading about the reasons why someone liked a book, and the reasons why they didn’t, and to see whether or not I agree.  But that’s the thing.  I rarely read reviews of books I haven’t already read.  Occasionally, when I am really on the fence about reading a particular book, I’ll skim through to the end of a review (in an effort to avoid spoilers or in depth discussion) just to see what that particular blogger thought over all to see if it’s worth reading.

Another problem I have with reviews, is that a lot of the time my interests don’t sync up with those books currently being reviewed in the book blogging community.  This means I often find myself scrolling past post after post of what I’m sure are fantastic reviews and discussions of books that I am simply uninterested in reading.  And on top of this, I become frustrated when I see the same books being reviewed all around the same time.  Where I might have read a review by a particular blogger, I will avoid it in those situations because I’ve already read two or three reviews of that book in the past week.

And then there is the case of blogger reviews vs professional reviews.  Is there a difference?  Will you read one over the other?  I don’t go out of my way to read published reviews, but I’ll read them if they’re there.  I find I don’t enjoy them as much as blogger reviews though, and I think it’s because of the limited word count and the focus on presenting the book in a critical light rather than being able to write whatever comes to mind and to be excited about it.  I also feel that I can trust a blogger review more because I know their taste in books and how they have rated other books in the past.

I enjoy writing reviews, and it makes me sad that perhaps not everyone enjoys reading them.  I have my own reasons for avoiding reading certain reviews, but now it’s over to you.  What compels you to read a review?


13 thoughts on “Reading Habits #4: Reviews

  1. With blogging and published reviews I tend to lean towards a more critical or emotive review – something that gives me a little detail on the book and any failings it may have, mixed in with a critical discussion on themes. Nothing too long preferably, but if the writing is engaging enough I’ll enjoy it. For the most part, however, I don’t care much for ‘professional’ reviews.

    I feel the same as you about not really having the same interests as a lot of the reviews that I see posted, especially when they are ARCs. I like reading reviews on the books I have read as well, to see if our opinions differ or not.

    Personally, I prefer a book blog that has reviews, or at least comment pieces on why they like a specific book. Endless discussion posts would bore me, variety is the spice of life and all that.

    • Thank you for such a lovely response! I’m totally with you regarding ARCs, and especially when the book isn’t available for general release for several months! I’m so glad to find another pro-review blogger. As you say, endless discussion posts would get old very quickly.

  2. Sometimes I often ask myself if I’m the only one who enjoy reading reviews! — like you, I love reading people’s opinion about a book, whether they like it or not, what made the book work for them… I like reading reviews both on books I’ve read and books I haven’t read (to know if the book is good and worth to read or not, on this aspect I rely heavily on reviews from bloggers that have the same ‘taste’ as me).
    And I think I prefer reading reviews from bloggers than professional reviewers, don’t know, maybe because they tend to be more ‘attached’ and emotional when voicing their opinions about a book 🙂

    • Yes, yes, and yes. ‘Attached’ is definitely the right word when it comes to professional reviews vs blogger reviews. I just like knowing that if a blogger felt something – whether the book made them want to cry from the amazing story or from poor editing – they’ll let you know.

  3. I love reading reviews for books I’ve already read! It’s my favorite thing to read on blogs! I also get frustrated when EVERYBODY is reviewing the same books at the same time…. boooorrriiinnggg. I guess that’s why I don’t feel bad about reading whatever whenever and not trying to read everything by the release date. I also don’t read too many reviews for books I haven’t read yet… unless I’m super curious about it. But that’s not too often. Cool topic I wonder about why or if people read reviews a lot too 🙂

    • Exactly! I read what I want when I want and unless I’m super anxious about spoilers, I probably won’t rush out to read a book straight away. I do love reviews and am happy to have a found a couple of people who think the same way.

  4. I do find it harder to read reviews on books I’ve never heard of, or would ever really want to read. But I sometimes do read them so that I can provide better Reader’s Advisory at the library or something like that. But I like to know what others think about books I’ve read – did we both hate/love the same thing, did they experience it in a totally different way to what I did? Did they express their thoughts in a more cohesive way than I did and can I learn from that? Sometimes I’ve felt like there was SOMETHING wrong with how the book made me feel, but it’s taken someone else’s words for me to put my finger on what that was.

    • Good points! I do like to know why people like/dislike books I’m uninterested in for recommendation purposes. You know, to be able to say something other than, “Oh yeah, I haven’t read it but I hear it’s good.” You know? And you’re totally right about different ways of expressing how the book made you feel. Thanks for taking the time to comment!

    • I love the way you said this! I sometimes feel I’m not adequately expressing my thoughts in a review, and I use others’ reviews to see the points they’ve picked up on and the dialogue they’ve used to discuss a book. You took the words right outta my mouth! 🙂

  5. I’m definitely more like you when it comes to reviews. I’ll read those posted about books I’ve already read, just to compare someone else’s thoughts on it to mine. (Though that can get tricky if they hate a book I’ve loved… it can be hard to take a step back and read their review critically.)

    Rarely, I’ll skim reviews for books I haven’t read, just to see if it’s something I might be interested in. There are certain reviewers that I also follow on Goodreads that I’ll go out of my way to read reviews from–to help shape my TBR list.

    I watch a lot of booktube videos as well… but I rarely will watch a book review. I don’t know why! And I don’t really go out of my way to read professional reviews either. (Aside from the occasional blurb in like a People magazine or something–but I usually don’t agree with those, so!)

    • Reviews definitely help to shape a TBR, and it’s so fun discovering new books! I totally agree about Booktube reviews. I’ll only ever watch a review if a I adored the book and the reviewer feels the same. Hehe, I never agree with magazine reviews, either. I kind of sit there with a, “Seriously?!” look on my face while reading it.

  6. I think a lot of people like reading reviews, I know I do, because just like you we like comparing our thoughts, ideas, and discuss them. That’s why I started my blog in the first place; to talk to people about what I read. I didn’t start it to just post my review, and that’s it. I want to communicate, I want people to maybe even change my mind about a book, or make me consider reading it again!

    I like reading book reviews, discussion posts (like this one), tweets, anything about books!


    • That’s such a good point! Reviews can definitely help you to see a book in a different light and reevaluate it. And, as you say, it all comes down to communication, doesn’t it? But yes, say the word ‘book’, and I’m there.

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