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Is It Unusual To Prefer Reading Reviews Of Books That You’ve Read?

I wasn’t sure what to call this blog so I decided to go for the question that summed it up most thoroughly. This post has a slight mixture of functions as it’s here partially as a discussion (hence the title), partially as an explanation and also as a bit of a search for recommendations.


So I personally think that on the whole I’d much rather read a review of a book that I’ve read, even though in some ways that might seem a little redundant. Reviews are designed to share your thoughts and opinions of a book; to say whether or not you’d recommend it to others and, hopefully, gain a book some new readers. So I know that it’s probably fairly strange to then say that I’d prefer to read a review of something that I’ve read. I do like looking at the scores that people give books prior to reading them but, on the whole, I’ve got to confess that I am fairly wary about reading what they have to say for two main reasons.

The Spoiler Risk:

Firstly, and most obviously, when reading reviews there is always a risk that you’ll come across spoilers for the book in question. I’m not saying that it’s guaranteed and I’m not even saying this based on anything that I’ve read recently, it actually comes from my experience of flipping through Goodreads – trying to figure out if some unread books on my TBR list had sequels – several years ago. I happened to glance at the reviews on a book involving a murder mystery and inadvertently saw a comment saying who the killer was. Needless to say I was not impressed.

That’s a pretty major example of the kind of spoiler that I’m wary of reading but truthfully I like to avoid knowing too much about a book in general. I like to discover what characters are like personality wise for myself and, if a betrayal or twist is coming, I don’t mind having a heads up that it’s included within a book but I don’t really want to know exactly whose doing the betraying or who the twist is focused around.

Truthfully I don’t even think it’s just a review that can spoil a book however – I actually feel that sometimes book blurbs give away way too much of what’s coming plot wise. I guess in some ways they have to, to tell you what to expect, but I do feel that sometimes it’s a bit much to know that some major plot point about halfway through is coming because you’ve happened to read a blurb. I’ve actually tried not to read them too close to reading books any longer. I look at them to know if I’m interested in a book but if I decided that I am but only pick it up several months later I do tend not to re-read the blurb: I just like to go into a book knowing as little as possible now.

Going Into A Book With Expectations / Being On The Lookout For Certain Flaws:

The second reason that I’m not all too keen on reading reviews of books that I haven’t read is because going into a book with someone else’s opinions of it in mind can sometimes affect your own judgment. If a books really hyped up – and you raise your expectations too greatly – then you can be let down when it’s not as good as you’ve expected, even if it is a fairly remarkable read. Or, if somebody shares what they disliked about a book, then you can go into it already on the lookout for those things – something that you might not have even noticed if it hadn’t been bought up. I’m not on about problematic content here, obviously, but character quirks that irritate one particular reader or the way that one character thinks about another. I mean things like annoying habits, irritating phrases and overused words. The best, and most recent, example of this that I can think of is when a character dislikes another and repeatedly brings this fact up. I’m not saying where I’ve seen this mentioned prior to reading a book before – and it didn’t even bother me when I read said novel thankfully – but I can see how being on the lookout for repeated mentions of that character’s dislike of another could bring it to the forefront of your mind and make it all too easy to notice.

So yeah I’m rather wary of reading what a person particularly disliked about a book prior to reading the book in question because I don’t want to intently be searching for something that I might otherwise not have noticed. I do want to stress that this is in no way a criticism of mentioning what you dislike in a book however: that’s the entire point of a book review after all – to share both what you did and did not like. I’m just trying to explain the two factors that do make me somewhat wary about reading reviews of books that I haven’t read.

Why I Like To Read Reviews After Finishing A Book:

Although I don’t always want to read reviews in advance I generally do like to see what others are saying about a book after I’ve read it. And again I guess there are several reasons for this:

  • The simplest one, if I’ve loved a book, is to find others who share my enthusiasm of that book and see if they were as enthralled by it as me. Sometimes I really want to gush about a story that I’ve loved or fan-girl about a character that has left me utterly intoxicated.
  • On the flip side of things if I’ve disliked a book I like to try and find out if I was in the minority or if others out there agree with me. Honestly it can be a little disconcerting at times to dislike a beloved book and find yourself thinking ‘did I miss something?’ so finding out that others out there had the same issues as you is somewhat reassuring.
  • Then there’s the middle ground: whether I’ve loved or hated a book I want to know what others thought regardless. I want to see what factors of a novel worked for them and what didn’t. I want to see if they loved and hated certain characters. If they liked the overall plot. If they thought the writing was beautiful or faulty. And, in particular, if they were happy with how things ended.
  • And, although I’m sure I have other reasons for reading reviews, a final major one is that the person writing said review has put a lot of effort into writing down their feelings and sharing their views with the world. I feel that when somebody does that it deserves to be acknowledged and read.

Overall I guess what I’m trying to do is apologize in advance if I don’t read every review that you post and explain my reasons for that. But I also want to say that I probably will look it up again after I’ve read the book that you’ve reviewed. In fact if you’ve reviewed any books that I’ve read – or read in the future – feel free to tell me and I’ll be sure to check your review out.


I also wrote this to ask whether other people feel the same way as me?
Are you wary of reading people’s reviews because of spoilers?
Do you worry about a review hyping you up too much and setting your expectations too high?
Or do you worry that if you’re on the lookout for certain negative factors in a book that it’ll make it impossible for you to ignore them?
Do you like reading reviews if you’ve already read the book that it’s about?


On a related note I’ve got to admit that, because of my attempts to avoid spoilers, I do sometimes feel restricted as to what I can include in a review. Sometimes I just want to rant and rave about a certain character’s actions or else jump up and down, screaming about my love for another individual within a book. Sometimes there are plot points that I’d love to discuss in more detail. Or questions that I’m left with and would like to share. There are times when I want to say exactly what I wish I’d seen more, or less, of. And other times when I’d love to discuss theories for future books. Yet, in reviews, I constantly feel like I can’t without straying into the ‘too much detail zone’. As a result I’m seriously considering adding in some ‘Spoiler Sessions’ as future blog posts eventually. I’d love to have a feature that is clearly labelled as a place full of spoilers, where I could feel free to share exactly what I thought about a book and go into as much detail as I could ever want to. There are already some series that I’m seriously considering doing this with as I’d love to go into more detail with them. Although for now I’ll probably wait.


Finally at the start of this post I said that I was also looking for recommendations. At the moment I only have two monthly features on here and I’d really love some suggestions of memes that I could join in with. I absolutely adore the idea of ‘Top Ten Tuesdays’ but I’m not sure if I’m ready to do an entire top ten post on a weekly basis and, although I know you don’t have to do every single week, I wouldn’t really want to start doing it and miss out on half of the subjects either. So if you know any others that you think are particularly good I’d love it if you let me know about them. Are there any that you feel are a particularly good way of easing yourself into blogging on a weekly basis? (I do already intend to add in my reviews as and when I get books done, although I still have to post my Vampire Academy ones).

Actually if you have any helpful tips on blogging in general then I’d love to hear them as I’m new to this and kind of lost at the moment.

I also apologize for the long post and lack of pictures. I wasn’t really sure what to include in regards to this subject image wise and I rambled on for much longer than I originally meant to.

Update:

I was thinking about this subject a bit further and I came to the conclusion that, in general, my likeliness to read a review before reading a book probably falls into one of five categories. There are always exceptions to this however – sometimes I find myself really wanting to read, or avoid, certain reviews as the mood hits me.

Books that I’m desperate to read: if I’m already desperate to read a book then I’m generally more likely to avoid reading reviews for it. If I’m really looking forward to something then my fear of spoilers is going to be at its highest and I don’t really need a review to push me into picking up the book in question as I’m already set on doing so. In these cases I’m also most apprehensive about somebody else’s experience clouding my judgment – I really don’t want to set my hopes too high or have them shattered entirely based on a particularly good or bad review. Sometimes curiosity gets the better of me and I still read books that fall into this category though.

I’ve also got to say that these are probably the books that I’m most likely to hunt down other people’s reviews for after reading the book itself. If I enjoyed it, as I hoped to, then I’m probably going to want to find some way to share in other people’s enthusiasm for that book. And if I didn’t (which breaks my heart every time) then I’m always curious to know if others felt the same way.

Books that I’m on the fence about: these are the cases that I’m probably most likely to read a review of a book for before I pick up the book in question. If I’m not entirely sold on the idea of a book then it can definitely help to know what others have thought about it. Sometimes certain elements of the book, that weren’t apparent from the blurb, will make me find a newfound desperation to pick up that novel as it really appeals to me in a new and unexpected way. So if I’m uncertain about a book I’m definitely more likely to read people’s reviews for it before picking up the book itself as doing so will, hopefully, help me make my mind up about whether or not it’s the book for me.

Books that I wasn’t planning to read but are getting a lot of good reviews: in these cases then I probably would check the reviews out before reading the book to find out what it is that people particularly love about the book and whether those features would make it appeal more to me now too.

Books that I hadn’t heard of:  I’m also more likely to read a review of a book that I haven’t heard about as it ends up bringing it on to my radar for the first time so I’m naturally going to be somewhat curious about it.

Sequels to books: these again I’m quite unlikely to read until after I’ve read the book in question although this category can definitely be broken down further.

  • Sequels to books that I haven’t read: whether I haven’t read a single book in the series or have read some but not all of the previous ones then I won’t read these reviews as I know the risk of spoilers for previous books in the series is naturally going to be fairly high.
  • Sequels to books that I’ve read and loved: if I loved the first book (or books) in a series then I’m obviously planning to pick it up and will most likely want to discover the sequel completely on my own. I’ll also probably search for reviews of these books once I’ve got on and read them as I’m going to either want to gush about it with others or share my heartbreak at feeling let down by what happened next.
  • Sequels to books that I’ve read but wasn’t particularly a fan of: in these cases I probably will check out a few reviews before reading the book as I’ll probably be searching to see if people feel it’s an improvement on the original.

Like I said above these are just general descriptions of how likely I am to read certain reviews before picking up the book in question. I’m always apprehensive for the two main reasons that I mentioned earlier in this post but sometimes curiosity definitely gets the best of me. And I also know how redundant it can seem to read reviews of what you’ve already read for yourself but I really love seeing other people’s thoughts on a book once I’ve experienced it for myself, whether I loved it, hated it or was just a little underwhelmed by the book in question.

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19 thoughts on “Is It Unusual To Prefer Reading Reviews Of Books That You’ve Read?

    1. Thank you (:
      I’m really glad it’s not just me that feels that way. I still love reading reviews, just generally once I’ve read the book in question.

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  1. Such an awesome post Charlotte! These points have been explained really well, and I agree with all of them! Keep up the good work! Would you say there’s a book that was spoiled for you through a review? (Not asking you to name names, of course!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much (: I don’t think there’s been one recently but definitely in the past. One revealed the major turning point of the plot and the other mentioned some rather big plot points so when I realized that I stopped reading it although obviously I couldn’t forget the ones that I’d already read. I’m fairly certain that I found out a major spoiler for one of the books on my TBR too although I can’t remember which one or what it was now so with any luck it will turn out that I’ve managed to forget that one over time and it won’t come flooding back whenever I go to read the book in question (I’m trying not to think too hard over what book it could be as if I do remember I’m sure the spoiler will pop into my head again too :L)

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  2. Yes! This is exactly how I feel! I consider everything a spoiler and so reading reviews before I read the book makes me worried that I’ll get spoiled, or as you mentioned, that I’ll go in with a skewed perspective.

    I do sometimes read reviews for books I’m unsure about though, because reviews help me make my decision of whether that book is worth my time or not. I also will read reviews of books I know I won’t read because I get curious what people thought of them, and it helps me have some info on the book if I ever see it mentioned.

    And just like you said, I many times go back and read reviews! I love hearing how people felt about books I loved, hated, and everything in between!

    Wonderful post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww, thanks for the comment (: it’s nice to know that’s it not just me that feels like this.

      Yeah, spoilers are such a pain to try and avoid.

      I tend to do the same and read reviews for books that I’m uncertain of. If it sounds promising but I’m not convinced seeing what other people have to say about a book is definitely helpful. I agree with that too, it’s interesting to know what people have to say about different books whether you plan to read them or not.

      I think it can be really interesting to read what other people have to say about a book and see how their opinions differ to yours and also what they agreed with you on. I especially like reading positive reviews of books that I’ve read but I generally tend to check out any that I see, particularly quite soon after finishing a book.

      Thanks again (:

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  3. This is such an interesting post and 100% agree with what you said. If it is a book I know I want to read I’m reluctant to read the review in case of spoilers (because that’s the worse) and because I want to make the first impressions for myself not based on someone else’s thoughts.
    But I will read the review if it is a book I haven’t heard of to find out more about it or if it is a book I was unsure about reading I would read a review to help me decide. 😊 (like you said)
    And I like to read reviews after I’ve read them to discuss my thoughts and see what everyone else thought– it is really interesting so I agree with you.
    And I think doing spoiler bits is a good idea– you make it clear that is is a spoiler and it’s all good. Sometimes I use drop down boxes so you have to click to see the spoiler. And sometimes I have done posts which are a spoiler post as I wanted to talk about everything. I just write spoiler boldly and clearly so no one stumbles on it by accident.
    I am meaning to participate in memes but I don’t know of too many. Maybe you could search for best bookish memes to participate in.
    I loved reading all your thoughts!! And I agree with what you said so much!! Wonderful post!! 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you (:
      Exactly! When I’m following someone on here I feel bad if I don’t read their reviews for everything but if it’s something that I’m super excited for then I generally want to experience it for myself with no one else’s impressions of it on my mind. I also want to discover as much of the story as possible for myself too, without having any kind of idea of what’s coming.
      Yes I find reviews super helpful in those two cases.
      I love seeing what other people have thought after I’ve read a book (: it’s great for discussions, like you said, and a wonderful way to share your love of a book or find out if others had similar problems if you didn’t enjoy it as much as expected.
      Thanks (: I’ll have to look up how to do that :L and yeah, I do love the idea of posts where you can talk about everything in as much detail as possible. There are some books that you love – or even hate – so much that you aren’t always able to get everything down in a review, especially not in the kind of detail that you’d like as you can hardly discuss a book’s cliff-hanger ending or epic plot twist in depth within a spoiler free context.
      That’s a good idea, I’ll try that (: I hope you manage to find some that you like the look of too as you’d like to participate in some.
      Aww thank you so much (: that means a lot to me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes I am the same and completely understand. You definitely shoudn’t feel bad at all for not reading a review you don’t want to read at this time!! 😊
        Yes reviews are so good for those times!!
        Yes same and you can get really into discussing a book and you can see it in another way which I always find interesting!! 😊
        Yes exactly that’s why I like doing spoiler posts on occasion– it might get less views but I enjoy writing it and hearing what others thought in depth!!
        Thank you!! 💛 You’re very welcome– it was a great post!! 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks (: I just always feel a tiny bit guilty about it.
        Absolutely 😀
        I agree, it’s definitely interesting to discuss things and see what others have noticed that you may have missed and how your opinions differ or match up.
        It’s nice to have somewhere to discuss theories and things that you’ve loved or hated within a book so I think they’re a fantastic idea and will definitely check them out (as long as I’ve read or seen what they’re about that is :L)
        Aww thanks again 💛

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I understand that but you shouldn’t 😊
        Yes I agree with everything you said– it is one of the best things as you don’t know people in real life to discuss all books with so you can find people in the online bookish community which is wonderful!! 😊
        You’re welcome, of course 💕

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I definitely agree with you on that. It’s so nice to be able to interact with other people who have read the book rather than trying to share your opinions with someone who hasn’t :L

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I really like reading them, just if its a book that I know I really want to read then I tend to prefer reading them after I’ve read the book :L I do like reading ones that I’m uncertain about in advance though as it helps me make up my mind about whether I should read the book.

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