When do you read book reviews?
As a proud member of the bookish community, I fully accept my completely normal,
unhealthy, insatiable need for books. >.> At this exact moment, in fact, I have 50 books sitting in my living room waiting to be read. That’s just the books I haven’t read yet.
And as part of my love for books, I love to discuss them with other readers. I like to know what the other person/friend/hoarder thinks about the book. Did they like the main character? What’d they think of the plot twist? Were they as upset about the book flaws as I was? These are normal things for book lovers and one of the easiest ways to start these discussions is via book reviews.
Purposes of Book Reviews
Book reviews have such a wide versatility beyond being conversation starters for book lovers. First off, book reviews are also fantastic for the reviewer. The review is a way to formulate thoughts. We put down our opinions of the book in a way that we understand and can discuss later, while also sharing our opinions with others. It’s like an opportunity to rave about a book you love or rant about a book you hate.
Secondly, they’re a way for readers to find a new book they haven’t read yet. Readers can check out a book review and decide whether they think it’ll be good for them or not based on what the reviewer says. This is great if you’re well acquainted with the book reviewer because you’ll understand what they look for in books versus what you look for in books.
Book Review Bias
Unfortunately, one bad thing about book reviews (besides spoilers! 0.0!) is the bias you may gain about a book before you read it. It’s like judging a person you haven’t met based on what someone else says. Your brain leans in one direction.
If the review is good, you’ll be expecting a good book(and may be let down.) On the other hand, if the review is bad, you may never pick up what could’ve been a good book. The biggest problem with book reviews is that they’re opinionated and personal. What works for one reader may not hold true for another. So then, when do you read book reviews?
I know dozens of people who read book reviews for a book they’re interested in. They’re leaning towards it, but aren’t too sure yet. Or they really just want to know what’ll be good about the book to prepare themselves, but I can’t do that. It feels like peer pressure for me to love or hate a book. I don’t want to know before I read a book that one character is annoying because then I’ll have a dislike for the character before I even start the book!
Honestly, some days I feel like one of the only people who reads book reviews after I’ve read a book. I refuse to read them before and definitely not during. Why? Because I believe I can be swayed by someone’s words. Not to mention, if I’m going to write a review on a book, I don’t want to have my opinion changed or tainted by another’s. I don’t want a predisposed idea of the book to scale my review one way or another. I want to look at the book as a fresh slate. Only in doing this can it truly be an ‘honest’ review.
But that’s just my opinion. What about you? When do you read book reviews and why? Let me know in the comments below!
And check out my discussion from last week:
“Loving the Villain“
If you have the time, please fill out my 7-question book review survey!
I’d love your opinions to improve my book reviews for you!