Sunday, December 14, 2014

I Rarely Ever Read Reviews

Yup, you read that correctly. I rarely, if ever, read reviews. I almost said I don't read reviews, but then I thought about the only times that I do. And that's if I've actually read the book first and can compare and contrast my own opinions with how someone else felt about it. You might be thinking: but isn't the whole point of reviews to help people decide on what book to read? Well, yes. But not exactly in my world.

Because I am TERRIFIED of spoilers. Like just the thought of happening upon a spoiler of a book makes me break out in hives. Luckily, I've never been horribly spoiled. But it's going to happen one of these days with the amount of books I haven't read and the amount of series that are starting and ending. Series enders are the worst, though. I have to stay far, far away from anything involving them. I consider even knowing how a love triangle ends a spoiler. Because it is. Sure, I know the ships but I don't know what happens to them. And I don't know how they end. But there are a few I already know about, like The Selection series and the Covenant series by Jennifer Armentrout. And honestly, I'm kind of nervous to read them because of it. It could very well cloud my judgment. I'm half expecting that I'll choose the other ship and I know I shouldn't because it'll be the wrong and obviously that's not who the MC ends up with in the last book. But then I'll be pissed, because I want the other ship to happen and I know it's not going to happen.

Well, whatever, this is only a minor annoyance. Sure, I'm terrified of stumbling upon spoilers unsuspectingly. BUT SOME PEOPLE DO NOT KNOW WHEN THEY PUT ONE IN THEIR REVIEW. I don't know how you don't know when something's a spoiler, but it happens way too often. Once, I was reading a Goodreads review of a book that I absolutely loved and gave 5 stars to. And luckily, I already knew everything that happened. Otherwise, I would have been spoiled for the biggest, let's say, plot twist in the book. And I was pissed! I wanted to say something, but I'm shy and don't want to offend people, so I kept quiet. But all I wanted to do was warn people STEP AWAY FROM THE REVIEW IF YOU DON'T WANT TO GET SPOILED.

But that's not even the only reason I don't read reviews. I'd much rather DISCUSS the book with someone instead of just reading their review and leaving a nice comment that will probably not get a reply and not be returned (not that I'm expecting either of those things, but it's a one-sided conversation that makes me feel awkward a lot). I've had awesome conversations with people on Goodreads and Twitter (which, in hindsight, makes me worried that I'd ever spoiled something for someone through my tweets). I know how to keep it vague, though, or I at least try to. But I can't say the same for the other person I'm chatting with. Anyway, I love discussing books with people! And I can't very well do that until I've read the book, can I?

I feel bad about this. I know how hard people work on writing their reviews. I know how much it sucks when you don't get as many views/comments on them as any other post. But I can't help it. I don't like reading reviews for books I haven't read. Okay, that's not totally true. There are a few reviewers on Goodreads whose reviews I read because they are always just hilarious and snarky. But usually it's for a book I'm not even that interested in. However, they have totally influenced my reading decisions before and that's a problem for me.

I know that's what reviews are supposed to do, but I've listened to them too many times in the past. Before I became a blogger, I just picked up library books that sounded good and something I would enjoy. I never read reviews or looked at ratings. I'd never even heard of Goodreads. And something tells me that I might have let them influence whether or not I would pick up a book back then. I know they definitely do now. We don't like to admit it, but ratings and reviews are extremely important to our whether or not we add a book to our TBR or buy it instead of borrow it from the library. And, as much as I do listen to those numbers, I will still read a book if I want to even if it's got a mediocre rating. But there are sometimes when I've let them become too important.

I've been better at not letting reviews and ratings cloud my judgment, but I still do it sometimes. I love going into books blind. It makes for a better reading experience, because this way I'm going into it with fresh eyes and and with an open mind. I don't know anything that's going to happen and I can just focus on how I feel about the book and not what other people say about it. Because I've let myself become too influenced by reviews before and that has in turn influenced my feelings about a book. I love just going in without the expectations and opinions of others. And if that means I stop reading reviews, then so be it (I'm not actually going to stop reading them, but I'm just gonna be more careful). I feel so bad about it, but it's a personal preference of mine and is not going to change .

So, I feel like I have to write this disclaimer for you. Rest assured that if I ever put a spoiler in a review, I will make sure to tell you. I always warn people before the review section! And I honestly consider even the smallest of details a spoiler. And also fun fact: sometimes my reviews that say there are spoilers don't actually have any. Since I write a review from beginning to end, that section is always first. Sometimes I just want to rant or gush about a book, and I'm half afraid I'll spoil something and so I write a warning. But then I end up being able to sidestep all of those little spoiler landmines anyway, so there was really no point in a disclaimer. And then I just don't bother to remove the warning. Haha. Anyway, if I put in a spoiler in a review, I will tell you! ALWAYS. :)


Your turn!
Do you read reviews before you read the book? Or are you like me and have to wait for fear of spoilers? Have you noticed a fluctuation in views and comments on your reviews vs. any other posts? 

18 comments:

  1. JUST LETTING YOU KNOW I HAVE NO SPOILERS IN MY REVIEWS and if I do they are for sequels and I specifically tell readers to skip it, and even then there isn't much spoilers for the series anyways. BUT YEAH. THIS MEANS YOU CAN READ MY REVIEWS. and COMMENT ON ALL OF THEM. BECAUSE YOU LOVE ME.

    Also, what do you consider a spoiler? Something that happened before 30% of the book is over, or just something that is really surprising/or a plot twist? How about HARRY POTTER, HUNGER GAMES? Are those still considered spoilers still even though everyone pretty much knows what's going on? BAM. LOOK AT MY DISCUSSION Q's.

    Hehe. Awesome discussion Holly <3

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    1. Yes, okay, I'm gonna go comment spam all of your reviews now. BECAUSE I DO LOVE YOU AND READING ALL OF YOUR POSTS. :P

      Okay, so I pretty much consider anything a spoiler. Lol! I just don't like to know anything about a book before diving into it!! Even reading blurbs sometimes makes it too easy for me to figure out what's going to happen in a book. I'm a pretty good detective, if I do say so myself, and so it's easy for me to guess twists. So, I guess plot twists especially, but also anything that's surprising and totally shocks you. But little things that you think are inconsequential could also be considered spoilery. I think it just depends on who is writing the review and what they deem a spoiler. But that goes back to my comment that some people don't know when they are spoiling something.

      And again, I'd rather go in blind and then discuss afterward.

      Great counter-discussion Val!! :)

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  2. Most of the time, I just read the first couple of paragraphs or skim it. I don't really like knowing much before going into a book, but I like to know if someone liked the characters or plots. I don't want to know WHY but just if they did.

    Great post!
    ~Fari @My Little Corner for Books

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    1. Yeah, same! Or I'll skim the review and just get a feel for what someone thought of the book. I don't want to know the why or anything either, just the feel for it. But I rarely ever read full reviews.

      Thank you! :)

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  3. I am super picky about which reviews I read, for example there are certain bloggers that I know have similar taste as me and never put spoilers in their reviews. Usually I just skim reviews to get an overall feel for the book, because I am also terrified of spoilers. Sometimes I include a warning if I think I've included anything spoiler-ish, but I usually try to refrain from spoiling anything,

    Great post!
    Emily @ Follow the Yellow Book Road

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    1. I do read reviews of bloggers who have the same taste as me sometimes, because usually I'll know if I should read it or set it aside for later. And yeah, I skim too just mostly for the feel of it.

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  4. I try not to read reviews before I've read the book, for the same reasons you do. If a book looks good, I'll buy it. Sometimes its because I have a case of cover lust, or author lust. Eh, I do read them after I've finished the book to see if my thoughts jive with other people's. Sometimes they do, and sometimes they don't. I'm good with that.

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    1. Same! I'll pretty much buy or borrow books that I think I'll like, even if I'm a bit wary because of ratings and reviews. And I'm totally okay with someone having a different opinion. I just love the discussion part of reviews and talking about books. :)

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  5. I generally don't read reviews of books I haven't read (I just skim them and look at the ratings), but I also don't read a lot of reviews because to be perfectly honest I find them far less interesting than a discussion post like this one. In saying that, I do love finding out what other people think of books that I've also read (especially if I absolutely loved the book or absolutely hated it).

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    1. Ooh, that's interesting! I think quite a few people would agree with you too. I notice on my blog that discussions and lists generally get more views and comments than reviews. And that's totally fine; I myself don't read reviews, so it would be hypocritical if I expected everyone else to read mine.

      I also loving finding out what other people think about a book I read! :)

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  6. I read reviews before I buy the book, then if I wait a while, I read them before I pick the book up to read. Mostly I do this because I've had so many books I thought I would love based on the summary, but then end up not liking as much as I thought I would. There are too many books in the world for me to read 'em all, so reviews are a tool I heavily rely upon for choosing a book. I generally don't read reviews with spoilers in them, and I make sure to hide any spoilers in my reviews- to do otherwise is kind of cruel.
    As for comments, it's 50/50 with reviews and misc. posts, but I notice more pageviews for reviews overall. Maybe my lists and musings aren't as interesting?
    Excellent discussion post!
    ~Litha Nelle

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    1. This is true too, that reviewing is a tool to decide upon which books to read or buy or borrow. I have steered away from books before because of them, but sometimes I wonder if I'm letting too many people influence my decisions. And what if I'm missing out on a new favorite?

      Yes, not telling people about spoilers is SO cruel! But again, sometimes people don't know when they put them in their reviews.

      And oh, that's interesting! I find my blog is the complete opposite. I get more views and comments on lists and discussions (like this one!) than I do on reviews.

      Thank you for such a thoughtful comment. :)

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  7. I try to be very vague when writing reviews, and I am always conscious of not putting them in, and then I STILL worry about somehow spoiling something!

    Here's what I do when it comes to reading: I read reviews if I have already read the book and want to compare, if I have heard of the book and have NO intention on reading it but I am still kind of curious, and if I am really, really on the fence about wanting to read it.

    And I don't read reviews when: I am DYING to read the book (come on, that is asking for spoilers!) OR if I haven't heard of the book and basically don't care about it in any way. So I guess I DO read them more often than not.

    Also, I will always respond to your review comment. Well, like, 95% of the time. I try, anyway, because I love the discussion part of it. Also, we could make millions on some kind of private book chat social media thing. Let's get on that, I am sick of poverty and spoilers.

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    1. Your first sentence, YES! I still constantly worry about putting in spoilers or if I'm detailing the plot too much or if telling people that there are multiple POVs or how the relationships are developed could ruin their experience.

      I love that you broke it down! Maybe I should start doing that so I can let myself start reading more reviews (which is what I really want to do, no matter if I said otherwise above). I'm just terrified of spoilers and honestly love an open reading experience.

      Good to know! And I will know when you do thanks to my email. But yeah, a book chat social media thing would be WAY COOL! LET'S INVENT THIS SHANNON AND BECOME MILLIONAIRES.

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  8. I DO read reviews, but I totally get what you're saying. I don't think I've ever had anything major spoiled and I'm forgetful enough to miss small details that are spoiled (since I don't generally read books that I JUST read a review for - if there's a book I'm planning on reading soon, I might skim the review a bit, but not read every word).

    I try to NEVER spoil anything (and usually give a warning if I think people might consider something even a small spoiler). That being said, people have different definitions of spoilers, so I still worry sometimes. For instance, I remember reading a post one time where the blogger said that she felt like even saying that there is a plot twist is a spoiler (even if you don't say what the plot twist is). Sometimes it's hard to review a book without giving anything away. But I never give away details like who ends up with who (unless it's an obvious romance and there's no question about it) or that someone dies or anything crazy like that!

    Come join us for the 2015 Book Blog Discussion Challenge!

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    1. Upon publishing this, I realized that I HAVE been spoiled majorly for a book before! It was Mockingjay, and it totally clouded my judgment and reading experience because I already knew that my favorite character was gonna die.

      And yes, it's SO HARD to decide what makes something a spoiler! I still worry that I'll ruin a book for someone because of my review. I just try so very, very hard to make sure I keep it vague but enough that it still makes sense! Haha. :)

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  9. I totally understand what you're saying. To be honest I don't really like reading reviews either which. After I got into blogging and the bloggers commenting back thing I asked myself the questions: doesn't that make me a little bit of a hypocrite that I want people to read my reviews and comment on them while I never, or rarely do the same?
    I felt super-bad about this so I started to read reviews but never on Goodreads because there many people don't care about marking spoilers and those things ruin everything for me. On some levels I can understand the people who write spoiler reviews without realizing that they're pretty much ruining books for people. When I first started reviewing books they were a bit spoilerish because I wanted to tell EVERYTHING about the book and that got the best of me.
    To be honest I still only check out reviews of those books that I'm not sure I want to read and I need help for deciding what should I do. I sometimes read reviews of books I've already read, sometimes not. This really just depends on my mood.
    My tag posts usually get the most views, that is after my TTT posts but it doesn't bother me because I love doing both of these. :)
    A yet again, wonderful post, Holly! :)

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    1. YES! This makes me a hypocrite, right? I shouldn't want people to read my reviews all the time if I never make the effort to read others'. But I guess it also just depends on who you are and what you like to read in blog posts.

      Oh God, Goodreads is the worst when it comes to that! I generally only read reviews on book blogs.

      Also, I'm pretty sure I had spoilers in a few early ones without warning people! It's so hard to keep them out of the review because you just want to gush and fangirl or rant about a book, which means you gotta talk about everything.

      I've done that a few times, read a review if I was on the fence about a book. That helped to decide whether to steer clear of it or pick it up.

      I love doing all kinds of posts! I just can't help but notice the big differences in how my views and comments go for the different kinds that I put up on here.

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment Veronika! :)

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Comments always make me smile. :) Seriously. Even if you comment on the post weeks or months later, it makes my day! So don't hesitate to leave your thoughts even if it's been a long time since the post was published. I'll try to reply to you, especially if you ask a question, but sometimes life happens. But I do read and appreciate every single one of them because I know how hard it can be to find the time or energy to comment. So a heartfelt THANK YOU for brightening my day when you do. <3