Book Reviews: To Read or Not to Read? (And How it Impacts the Way I Write My Reviews)

Monday, January 21, 2019

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Hi friends! Just to warn you, this post is gonna be much longer than usual ... so prepare yourselves 😅

The idea for this came into my mind when I read Bee's post ("Do People Actually Read Reviews?") on Novel Ink almost a year ago. This post is a response to the question she poses, but I wanted to share it with all of you and see if you approach book reviews the same way I do! I'm curious to learn when you read book reviews, how often you write 'em, who you read and/or watch reviews from, EVERYTHING. Tell me what you think!


REVIEWS I READ


ON BOOKS I HAVE READ
When a review for a book I've read shows up on my Feedly page, I try and read it right then and there. I don't have to worry about spoilers, and I can leave a meaningful note—ideally. I tend to only share a response if something in the review prompts me. I want to say something other than just "I LOVED THIS BOOK TOO!" so sometimes I refrain from commenting if I can't think of anything else. But the weird thing is, I love comments like that. I WANT to know if you loved the same story. And I want to know what you didn't like about it, too. I'm just happy to know you stopped by, read through my thoughts, and cared enough to respond. So why don't I do that for other bloggers? (Note to self: start doing this.)


REVIEWS I DON'T READ


ON BOOKS I HAVEN'T BUT PLAN TO READ
I rarely read reviews for books on my "to read" list because I *really* don't want to be spoiled in any way. One of the things I don't like is when people are talking about a suspense/thriller book and they mention there's a plot twist. It doesn't matter how vague they are about it because, when I eventually pick up the book, I end up reading too much into the text and it ruins my experience. But I love watching reading wrap-ups on YouTube. I always assume that I won't be spoiled for anything, since each review is fairly brief. And if, for some reason, whoever I'm watching goes into spoilers, I've found that there's always a warning.

So what do I do with these reviews that show up in my feed on books I really want to read? I save the links in a Google document! When I'm done with a book, however long it takes me, I look it up and read the reviews then. One of my favorite things to do after finishing a book is to read all of the related posts I've saved and look up all of the videos on YouTube. It's kind of like having a book club! And I never comment on these reviews because it's almost always YEARS later when I finally get to it. But ... I think it would be cool if I found a response on one of my old reviews. (Not like this one though ... lol.) It means people are still reading and/or interested in backlist books.

ON BOOKS I HAVEN'T AND DON'T PLAN TO READ
These are the reviews I tend to ignore, unless it's from a reviewer who I share reading tastes with or just someone I follow and like what they have to say. Well, not so much what they have to say, but HOW they say it. Sometimes I'll do a quick read, just to see if it'll change my mind—and if it did, I'll usually leave a comment.


HOW THIS IMPACTS THE WAY I WRITE REVIEWS


Although I've been blogging about books for a little over five years now, I have only written a total of 32 full reviews. It's mainly related to how difficult I find writing to be, but part of it is also because I'm not sure how helpful they are. I'm more likely to skip or save a review than read it, so I automatically assume my readers are the same way.

But knowing all this? It doesn't hold me back from wanting to write reviews. I would love nothing more than to interact with you all and discuss the many details of my latest read, but I have to be honest—I write a lot of these reviews for myself, too. I love going back to my old reviews, no matter how cringy they are, because it reminds me of who I was during that time and allows me to see how my writing has developed.

If I've written a review, I am more likely to remember the book since I spent a lot of time taking notes and thinking about what I have to say. Most are spoiler-free, but I love sharing my favorite parts of older/well-loved books like To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han and City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. For the stories that aren't as popular, I've stuck to mentioning them in recaps and briefly sharing some thoughts in "books I read" posts. If I could, I'd review every single book I read in full—but sometimes I just don't have much to say.

It feels like some sort of accomplishment when people (online and in real life) read and actually love the books I recommend. I know there's a level of trust and respect when that type of follow-through happens, especially when there are millions of books out there to choose from. Thank you for following my blog and being my friend :)

And, of course, I can't talk about all this without mentioning some of my favorite bloggers and YouTubers who review and recommend books. I hope you end up loving them too 😊

Alexa from Alexa Loves Books
Morgan from The Bookish Beagle
Lala from BooksandLala
Cristina from Girl in the Pages
Rachel from Hello, Chelly
Jane from It's Jane Lindsey
Kelsey from KelseyReads
Alexa from Library of Alexa
Monica from monica kim
Marines from mynameismarines
Madalyn from Novel Ink
Jamie from The Perpetual Page-Turner
Emily from Possibly Literate
Cindy from readwithcindy
Rincey from rincey reads
Sara from sarawithoutanH
Hannah from So Obsessed With
Joce from squibblesreads
Kristin from Super Space Chick
Whitney from Whitty Novels

ðŸ–ĪðŸ–ĪðŸ–Ī

I'd love to hear from you! How often do you read and/or comment on reviews?
What compels you to do so? Who are your favorite reviewers?

And another interesting thought: are you less likely to comment on the actual post than reply to a tweet with the link shared? I used to save all my comments on a Google document (when I read blogs at work and didn't want to sign into my accounts) and go back when I had time to get on a computer!

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