Hello lovely bookworms!
I had a small fruitful thought in the past days. One that has probably been discussed thoroughly over years. But about a week ago, it suddenly jumped onto my face and gnawed the flesh away, like real horrorshow. In fact, as I was scrolling through my Goodreads feed for some delicious reviews from fellow friends and some scrumptious new books to discover and add to my dusty TBR pile, I fell upon a review of a critically acclaimed novel that I have myself read and loved. It came as a slight surprise when I saw a negative review on it, but as any person who’s accustomed to literature: not every book is made for everyone. But that wasn’t were my thoughts were stirred and a reaction was prompted.
It’s when I started to explore the numerous comments on that review that my jaw dropped. I had suddenly fixated a certain comment by another book lover who mentioned his disinterest in plunging into that very book because of the review. What tormented me the most was that this very review showcased a bookworm who explained to have missed the point behind the book and who scratched their head on various plot points.
The question came crashing into my thoughts and blocked out anything remotely more important to my day (like finding new books to add to my To Be Read pile, am I right?). I’m not here to tell anyone how much another person’s review should ponder on their own desire to read the book in question. After all, everything is circumstantial. I can definitely see myself saying “nop” to a book that often gets bad reputation from a bunch of readers that I truly share a spiritual rating connection with.
Worst-case scenario, I were to give Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone a 1 star rating and managed to get someone to shield away from that book. All because I might have read the book in the middle of a family feud, therefore making my reading experience one of the worse. Not to mention that that so-called review would essentially say “I sadly didn’t understand what the story was about.” Don’t start throwing stones at me now!
But do you now see where I’m getting at?
A review remains one of the most subjective matter in literature. You can try hard to remain analytical and follow a strict structure in order to avoid any hint of subjectivity. You can analyze a story for what it is without converting to comparisons and emotional connections. In the end, every review will always emanate your personal odor. And you just can’t steer clear of it. If anything a review is a report of your own, individual experience.
Bookidote has always been our means to discussing books and anything bookish. It’s our platform to sharing our thoughts and receiving yours. There isn’t any greater pleasure for us than to share our passion for books and comics with you guys. Maybe just reading, but let’s forget that for a second. There is one thing we love seeing, but never will take credit for, unless credit is given. It’s when someone discovers a new gem because of our reviews.
But what about the people who react to reviews? Telling the world that you won’t read a book without justifying yourself after reading a somewhat negative review doesn’t exactly help other readers who actually felt intrigued and wished to read the book for themselves, does it? Of course, this is assuming that readers are not immune to the comment section of reviews!
NOTE: After further discussion with Trang and fellow bookworms (Thank you Hey Ashers! See comment section) down in the comment section, I’d like to add some rectifications here. Telling someone their wrong to not put a book in their TBR pile can definitely rub off wrong. This hugely depends on who’s telling you this (if it’s a close friend, you’ll probably end up in a nice little discussion yourself). The real solution to people who comment that they won’t read a certain book, without justifying themselves, is:
1- Trust that that person did their due diligence and read other reviews before concluding to this
2- Check the review itself to see if their comment isn’t justified solely on the review itself
3- Raise awareness for all readers in the world to do their due diligence before jumping the boat on a potential book.
In the end, we aren’t here to tell people what to read or not read. We should believe in their decisions and hope that they didn’t drop a book because of ONE bad review. 😀
But there’s always a solution to every problem and this one calls on everyone’s reflection. Simply put, all we have to always do is justify ourselves. And this isn’t easy for some since we don’t always have the time to write an essay on why a certain person’s review got us to ultimately not read the book, right? So should we be more careful with what we decide to share? Maybe the answer lies in communication. Maybe another reader could intervene and share their thoughts with this person just to explain that the book is totally worth it. So I guess, we should all be there for each other and things will be better for everybody!
As for reviews, they should always try to promote the upsides and the downsides and give an overall opinion on whether or not someone should try a book or not. Then, any curious individual could ponder the load and justify their decisions. Wouldn’t that help make a better world?
Hearing that a review I wrote was able to stir up your curiosity and plunge you in a never-ending slide of desire will always be a joy in life. But if my review alone makes you frown in disgust, then I hope it won’t drive you away but rather get you curious enough to read more reviews of other bookworms.
Here’s what I want everyone to take home.
People who write reviews have an extraordinary power in their hands, and we can’t just turn a blind eye on the impact of what we write and share with the world, right?
I believe reviews shouldn’t be the only factors in someone’s desire to read a novel. There’s a lot of different situations to take into consideration but here’s how I’d imagine an ideal world:
1.THE TITLE, THE BLUR AND THE AUTHOR
As a standard, everyone who’s interesting in checking out a new book should check out the title, the blurb and the author.Finally, reviews of random people could be checked out for further reassurance. When you’re already interested in a book before reading reviews, then there’s absolutely no need to check out reviews. All reviews will do is set expectations and an attitude towards the book.
2. POSITIVE REVIEWS
When you’re up against books that have positive reviews, and millions of them, the best course of action is to jump into the book if you’re remotely interested. It’s all about enjoying a book on your own terms. Experiencing it your way. And once you’re done, if you love it as much as everyone else, you’ve only got one last thing to do. FANGIRL LIKE NEVA’ BEFO’ WITH EVERYBODAYY.
3. How about negative reviews? Read point 1 above.
…Kill your desire to discover a book. Do it for yourself and make your decisions wisely. This isn’t a guide for anyone to follow. It’s an idea that I want to convey, because in the end, good or bad, reviews should be looked upon with an analytical eye. And how much weight they have on you is your call. You can always depend on reviews to find your next TBR, without blinking twice at what I’ve discussed earlier.
So guys and gals, how much weight do reviews have on your To Be Read pile?
What are your thoughts on all this I just touched upon?
Let’s discuss! 🙂