Do you read book reviews? Do you let them change your mind about reading/not reading a particular book?
I never used to read book reviews other then briefly scanning Amazon to find out what the book was about and what the general consensus was. I might have read the occasional professional review but only of books I have already read. In fact, I rarely used the internet at all to research books until I joined www.goodreads.com which I now rely on for reviews.
I find reviews by people who I come to know, or can get to know by far more useful. This isn’t to say that I think professional reviews are bad, it is just that I do not find them as useful as reviews on Goodreads or through blogs. For one I find searching for reviews via Goodreads just more practical and easy then looking for them elsewhere. They serve what I look for and so I have found little cause to look elsewhere.
What I love about Goodreads and blogs is that you can see the person behind the review and because many reviews are just how a person feels. A few lines to a paragraph is a whole lot more useful to me sometimes then a page long review on a book. I have also had a couple of bad experiences with reading about books in newspapers or magazines in the forms of spoilers – which is why I tend to read them afterwards.
I would say that I have let reviews change my mind. If I see a book getting a lot of bad reviews I tend to keep away from them, especially if the reviews hit upon things that I myself tend to find aggravating. I have never read the Twilight novels because of reviews – well I’m not particularly attracted to the whole vampire thing either, but from the criticisms I have heard of it, I would be put off. Maybe also the faddish craze as well has helped put me off.
Which makes me wonder – would I read and like Harry Potter if I read it now rather then before the whole craze grew up around it, had I perhaps read reviews and maybe been swayed by some of the more negative stuff? Maybe my opinion would have been swayed and I’d have started to read it and be predisposition to dislike it? I’d like to think not – Harry Potter might have its faults but none that really add up to some of the stuff that’s been lumped against it. It’s is still a good story and doesn’t have the whole romance thing leading it as Twilight seems to – which is of course a presumption of mine, based on reviews!
I try not to read reviews of books that I am reading whilst I am reading – sometimes I have found myself enjoying a book, then suddenly having a fault pointed out to me midway and not being able to enjoy it anymore which is hugely disappointing. Sometimes it is tempting though – to just see what other people thought especially if I’ve hit a slow patch. Sometimes a review will change how I feel about it after I read it – maybe for the better or for the worse. I love it when I read a review and the reviewer has noticed something I didn’t and it makes me want to go back and read it all over again. I hate it when it is the other way around and you end up doubting yourself over your own reading.
I love reading book reviews mainly after I have read the book because I love seeing what others thought of a certain book. It feels companionable when you HATE a book and find out that you aren’t alone in your dislike or your opinions. It’s even better when you can talk to that person.