Should You Read Reviews Before You Read The Book // GUEST POST BY LILA KIMS

Ok...for once I'll just let the guest author introduce herself. Check out her blog, The Red-Hooded Writer!


Hello there, readers of Sarcastic Scribblings! I’m excited to be here, as a guest-poster on MK’s corner of the Internet. Previous guest-posters claim to have “taken over” her blog, but not to worry - I’m not as devious as they are. (In that respect, at least. *cough*)

Also, I’m nowhere near as sarcastic as MK normally is on here, so don’t expect too many “sarcastic scribblings” today… XD

ANYHOO, I want to talk about reading reviews of a book before you read the book itself. You know, in anticipation of the book. Should you look up reviews before you start the lucky story you’ve dug up from the depths of your TBR?

This, my friends, calls for a pros-and-cons list.


Pros:

1. Looking up reviews will often bring you to trigger warnings or other content notices that will help you decide whether this is a book you would feel comfortable reading.

2. If you have friends on Goodreads with whom you share similar taste in books, reading any of their reviews for The Book may be helpful in deciding whether or not this is a story you think you would enjoy.

3. Reading up on others’ opinions of The Book may enhance your reading experience by prompting you to view the story from angles you probably wouldn’t have viewed it from if you hadn’t read those reviews.


Cons: 

1. Reading reviews in anticipation of reading The Book may take away from the enjoyment, because sometimes you don’t realize how much information about the story is included in a review. It’s often more exciting to plunge into a book knowing next to nothing.

2. Looking up reviews can also influence your expectations in such a way that it negatively influences your reading experience. Maybe your friend on GR has raved about The Book, and their review lifts your expectations sky-high. But then when you read the book, it doesn’t meet those review-manipulated hopes. (Sucks, doesn’t it?)

3. Similar to #2, reading reviews beforehand may influence your overall opinion of The Book. Your opinion may not totally be your own - like other painters subtly swiping their brushes across your canvas, if that makes any sense. “He liked THIS about The Book, whereas she hated THAT about The Book. That’s what I think too!” (<< Maybe it doesn’t seem like your brain would say that, but… our brains go behind our backs sometimes.) It’s kinda hard to explain, but refraining from reading reviews before you read The Book actually helps you to form your own opinions - opinions un-influenced by the views of others.


I hope this pros-and-cons list has helped you decide whether or not you should read reviews of a book in anticipation of reading the book itself. As for me, I definitely lean toward NOT reading reviews soon before I start a book. I have done it, however, and when I do (which is rare) I like to make sure I read a pretty balanced number of positive and negative reviews. Normally, though, I refrain.

But what’s your opinion? :D I’d love to hear what you think about this situation in the comments below!

Thanks again for having me, MK! *smol bow*


The Lord’s Truly,
Lila Kims <3

14 Comments

  1. What an awesome list, girl! I totally get you on the opinions thing. Sometimes I find myself thinking along the lines of what someone else thought, even if it might not be the conclusion I would have come up with if I had read the book without the reviews.

    Also, I find if I read something bad about a book, I have a hard time enjoying the book as much because I'm constantly on the lookout for That Part. Sometimes that's a good thing, but I often find that the part they're talking about isn't as bad as they made it seem. Then, of course, there are other times where I wish someone would have warned me about scenes, but they didn't. So, I guess it's a catch 22, right?

    But on the average whole, I do try to read some trusted reviews beforehand because I don't have the time to read trash. I want to make sure that I'll enjoy whatever I've picked up.

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  2. Great list! Very helpful! I try to go by the star ratings without reading too many detailed reviews... that way nothing is spoiled. :)
    -Brooklyne

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  3. I do a bit of both, sometimes I read reviews. Sometimes I just read the book.

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  4. Great post!

    For me, I just look and see if there are any content warnings. Sometimes I’ll read the whole thing, sometimes I’ll avoid reviews.......it depends how much I want to read the book and how many secrets surround it....

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  5. Thanks for reaching out to me about guest-posting, MK! I had a lot of fun writing the post! ^_^

    And thank you to those commenting! It's interesting to read about the different opinions and habits of other readers. :))

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    1. No, thank you SO MUCH for helping me out. It was so fun!

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  6. I definitely agree with both your pros and cons, Lila! Typically, when someone in the blogosphere recommends a book, I'll check it on Goodreads for content reviews by GR friends... and then I will (I admit this is kind of odd... xD) find all the one-star reviews and read them. My logic: if they make me grumpy and defensive ("...SJWs..."), I'll try the book; if they make me roll my eyes ("...oh, yes, another love triangle! because we need more of those!") and the summary doesn't seem interesting, I might skip it.

    But I do agree with the point Sarah made - reading the reviews does affect what I think of the book. In fact, sometimes I've read a book, thought "well that was a fun book!", and then read reviews that made me think "oh, it wasn't very well done, actually!" (Which is not good. Leave me with my fun books. ;P)
    - Jem Jones

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    1. OH MY! JEM IS BACK!
      *SIRENS*
      *GIANT CONFETTI CANNONS*
      *SCREAMING*
      *TICKER TAPE*

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  7. I think I should read the book first before reading the reviews but of course it will help you to give the idea which makes you get excited and look forward to it.

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  8. Sometimes I review first before reading the book.

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  9. Read the book first before reviewing it.

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  10. Of course I read the book first, that makes sense.

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  11. The important there is how you understand it.

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