This meme was created for YA Midnight Reads as a discussion post of all things bookish.
Hello there, Midnightians! (Yes, I’m totally using the nickname Mel came up with. It sounds pretty cute, actually!) Today I’d like to discuss reading reviews of books with you. Or rather, NOT reading reviews with books. It regularly happens that I’m scrolling through my feed and click ‘mark as read’ without actually reading the post, even though they’re from my favorite blogs. Not because I’m not interested, but because I don’t dare read them yet.
There will inevitably be, for everyone, books that the blogosphere reads before you do. Recent example: Split Second and Cress. Both books that I was very excited about and had pre-ordered quite some time before their release. When the reviews started rolling in, they weren’t out yet, and since I wasn’t lucky enough to obtain an ARC, I hadn’t read them yet. And I really, really don’t want to read reviews of books I’m planning to read. Reading reviews of books that I don’t plan to read or have already read? No problem! But when I am planning to read that book? No, thank you. The reason why?
I’m afraid they’ll change the way I’m going to look at that book. Actually, there are many reasons, but they all boil down to this. First and foremost, people have opinions on books. (I know – shocking) And a review is actually nothing more than that opnion written down. (Again – mind blowing, isn’t it?) What I’m afraid of is this: what if these opinions become mine? Since I haven’t read the book, I haven’t been able to form my own opinion. If I read reviews before I read the book, I won’t be able to go in with an open mind. The opinions I’ve read are already in my head, and they (could) shape the way I experience the book.
People also notice different things. There might have been this reviewer who was really annoyed by a particular thing, so much so that it ruined the book for them. If I hadn’t read this review, I might have never even thought about that thing. But now I’ve read about it, and I will inevitably remember it while reading, which will cause me to be annoyed by it as well. I might have absolutely loved the book hadn’t it been for that one thing.
And the last thing – spoilers. Some people put HUGE spoilers in their reviews without warning, because they want to discuss it so badly. That’s absolutely fine, except that I will never be able to forget that spoiler. So not really fine after all, but that’s a discussion for another time. My brain works like this: (and I bet everyone else’s does as well) when I WANT to forget something, I will remember it forever and ever. There’s no forgetting spoilers, and it will affect my enjoyment of the book. A big part of reading is, to me, that moment when you did NOT see something coming, and you’re gasping and going no, no, no, no, no way in your head and your mouth is hanging open and you’re just completely baffled. I LOVE that moment, absolutely love it, and spoiling takes that away from me. Luckily, most people I follow are very considerate and spoiler tag spoilers.
However, there’s also this thing that I call “unintentional spoilers”. Unintentional spoilers only occur when reading multiple reviews, and I’m going to give you an example to illustrate what I mean:
Say, we’re talking about a series ender of a series with a love triangle that you’re really invested in. This is what might happen:
Reviewer One: “The love triangle was resolved brilliantly. One boy was much more in the spotlight than the other, and we got to know more about him. The other boy was a lot in the background, so you sort of forget about him, which automatically makes you ship the winning ship! No heartbreak there, guys. It was brilliant.”
Reviewer Two: “In this novel, we got to know a lot more about Boy A. I really loved that. We get a deeper insight in his character and I just completely understood him.”
Neither of these “reviews” spoils anything, but I think we’re all smart enough to put one and one together and conclude that the girl ends up with Boy A. Of course, reviewers can’t help this. That’s why I call it an “unintentional spoiler”. No hard feeling against either of the reviews – their reviews are completely acceptable. But it is a really good example of why I don’t like to read reviews before I read the book.
Do you read reviews of books you haven’t read yet? Why/Why not?
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