On Why I Don’t Read Reviews {and When I Do}

In the world of book blogging, reviews are the king. Everyone writes them and everyone reads them… or do they? I honestly don’t read a lot of reviews. I also don’t write a lot of reviews either, but that’s not what this discussion is about. This week I want to talk about reading reviews, and why I don’t, but sometimes I do.

Many readers voraciously read reviews to determine which books should go on their TBR, taking into consideration the thoughts of those who have read the book before them. I am not one of these readers. I tend to avoid reviews, especially those for books that I really want to read, because I don’t want someone else’s opinion to color my view of the book.

When I choose books to read, I go by author, description, cover, title and word of mouth. If I’m hearing a lot about a book, I’m probably going to pick it up. But I don’t dive deep into reviews because I want to experience the book for myself. I don’t want to know that someone else thinks a book is “problematic” because what they see when the read the book isn’t necessarily the same thing that I’ll see. There have been many times that the general consensus for a book is lots of love, and I don’t enjoy it as much. And, more frequently, there are books that most people tend to not like, but I love. And I want to have my own experience, untainted.

There are some instances where I do read reviews, however. The first is when there’s a book I’m on the fence about. If a blogger whom I respect and share similar tastes with reviews a book that I have mixed feelings about, or that I’m just not sure of, I will read their reviews to get a general idea of their feelings for the book.

Along similar lines, when I finish the first book in a series {or a middle book} and I have mixed feelings about continuing the series, I’ll look for trusted sources who have reviewed the rest of the series to see the direction the series moves in. At this point I’ve already developed personal feelings about the characters, so a divergent opinion will be less likely to color my impressions of the future books.

And the final reason I read reviews if when I love a book so much, I just want to see how much other people love it too. At this point if I see an opposing opinion in a review I just brush it off, because I already know I love the book. I have done this for the opposite reason too… if I just really did not like a book I might check out reviews to see if others agreed with me or to see what they saw that I missed.

Are you the type of reader who likes to read all of the reviews first? Or do you prefer to jump into a book with a fresh perspective?

3 thoughts on “On Why I Don’t Read Reviews {and When I Do}”

  1. I have really mixed feelings about reviews. I will use them to add things to my TBR – not because of the writer’s opinion, necessarily, but because I may not have come across that book. I only tend to read the ones that entertain me, and I shy away from long ones with a LOT of dense text. The way the review is written has a huge impact on whether or not I’ll even bother!

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