A Bookidote Discussion – How Much Should You Rely On Reviews?

 

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.

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    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.

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    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!

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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.

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   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. 😀

justify

   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?

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     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?

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 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. 

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…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! 🙂

Yours truly,

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63 thoughts on “A Bookidote Discussion – How Much Should You Rely On Reviews?

    • transhaan says:

      Oh man… those authors who only have 5 stars. Such a deceitful thing. I’ve come across at least 2-3 novels like those, and I’m just petrified that people could lie through their teeth just to boost an author’s book. Honestly seems non-existent to them… I also developed suspicion for those kinds of books.

      The ones that only get 1 stars are quite fascinating too. I’ve seen a couple of them, but the story itself wasn’t anything of my interest so I was easily able to skip over it.

      I totally agree that the more reviews you check out, the better (alright, maybe not THAT many though:D)

      – Lashaan

      Liked by 1 person

    • transhaan says:

      Thank you so much! Most of the time I just go around for books based on plot and level of “classic-ness” (cause I got a lot of catching up to do!). I also love to consult on some books with Trang.. cause she’s been reading books since birth! There’s some particular, big name, reviewers that I also check out (cause my bookworm community in real life is actually limited to Trang) cause I love how they just analyze a book in details! 😀

      – Lashaan

      Liked by 1 person

  1. AdoptaBookAUS says:

    Completely agree with this!
    I personally love a bit of drama and variation in my reviews, it makes me so much happier when I end up on the loving it side of the reviewing scale, while over hyped books usually let me down as I get my hopes up to much.

    I think a perfect example of this is the reviews of Shatter me by Tahereh Mafi. Some of my most trusted reviewers gave this 1 star and others 5, the writing style is so dependent on your own reading likes that some may hate it while others love it. No one should completely disregard any book based on some bad reviews they should, like you said read the blurb etc… and then make a decision if it’s for them.

    I would hate if someone disregarded a book based on my personal opinions. When they may have loved it but they missed out due to being put off by a 1 star review.

    Liked by 1 person

    • transhaan says:

      Oh mah gawd, it’s one of my own fears too! I would be pretty scared if I knew someone disregarded a book because it wasn’t my cup of tea. I can’t imagine what they might have missed out on. It’s why I wish people wouldn’t shield away from a book because of a bad rating from my part. A review in particular that comes to mind would be A Study in Charlotte. My review didn’t exactly pinpoint the biggest upsides of the book, but I made sure to mention that it’s very possible to adore the novel if you don’t see things the same way I do!

      Expectations can do some nasty damage indeed. However, I find it hard to jump into some books towards which I have huge expectations (not only cause of hype, but because of the plot). But hey! That’s life! 😀

      – Lashaan

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey Ashers! says:

    This is a great discussion topic! I hope you don’t mind if I ramble in response to it? Kindly ignore me if I ramble too much!

    You make a lot of great points, and I agree with most of them–especially 1) reviewers should try to mention both positive and negative things in their reviews, and 2) unless a review gives excellent evidence, readers should try not to let just ONE negative review scare them away from a book.

    But I’ll admit I disagree with the idea that a reader should have to justify their reasons for removing a book from their TBR pile.

    Insisting that someone justify their decision to you (and by “you” I mean “the reading/reviewing public,” not a specific person!) so you can try to convince them to change their mind is (in my opinion) kind of insulting. What I read or don’t read is my decision, and I don’t have to justify that decision to anyone–especially not to Strangers On The Internet who think I’m wrong and want to change my mind.

    That’s not to say it isn’t a shame when someone passes by a fantastic book that they would’ve loved if they’d given it a shot! It is definitely a shame. But I think it’s better to trust that people (a) know what they like, (b) know what they DON’T like, and (c) are capable of making their own decisions.

    There’s the added stickiness of not knowing how many negative reviews the person read before coming to their decision.

    Personally, I don’t kick a book off my TBR after reading only one review, unless that review gives clear evidence of something I’d hate (like rape as a plot device). Usually I read at least seven or eight negative reviews before making a decision. When I thank that eighth reviewer for saving me from reading a bad book, I don’t say, “Yours is the eighth negative review I’ve read, and I’ve now decided, after due diligence, not to read this book.” Instead, I say, “Thanks for the warning! I’m taking it off my TBR.” To anyone reading my comment, they’d probably think that was the only negative review I’d read!

    So, yeah. It can be a shame when a stranger turns down a chance to read a book I liked, but, ultimately, I don’t believe they should have to justify their decision to me so I can try to convince them they’re wrong. Read and let read (or not read!). =)

    Liked by 2 people

    • transhaan says:

      Feel free to ramble on as much as you like with me, I love to hear what anyone has to say and especially when they have something to say! 😀 Thank you for the kind words, and I totally agree with what you disagree. In fact, Trang was also preoccupied by that very statement I wrote up, but I still kept it to see if there might be anyone who’d retort and have something to say about it. I’m happy to see you did and I’m even more happy to see that you clarified it with a lot of accuracy.

      I think we definitely shouldn’t barge into another person’s world just to tell that their wrong and give them a big old school correction (unless maybe if it’s your best friend and you just decided to not read their favorite book cause some other friend said it was the lamest piece of literature? I think a fight is in order! :D). The thing here is that we’re going to have to assume that the person reading the negative review did his “due diligence” (like you said) and that this person “knows what he’s doing”.

      I think the problem I had lies in a person that reads a negative review that doesn’t have any good reasons to hate a book (like my Harry Potter example) and then ends up mentioning in the comment section that they won’t read the book because of the review. In this case, if that person didn’t check out any other reviews and jumped to the conclusion that he/she is better off not reading the book, then it’s a real bummer. The solution here, I now believe, is not to rectify that person, since their decision is… their decision alone. It’s to raise awareness among readers to do their “due diligence” before jumping the boat. I think this would be a better solution than trying to change someone’s mind.

      I also love your point regarding people who’ve been through more reviews than you can count before posting a comment of this sort: “Yep. Not reading it.” It’s a pretty solid point and I do agree, it’s impossible to know if that very person saw other reviews or not. But I think the best thing to do is to see the review itself. To see if the review delivers a solid statement on how bad the reviews is. This is where Trang thinks that an unjustified comment is justified cause the review itself is a good explanation for why she would not read a certain novel.

      That brought me think that people can definitely not justify why they won’t read a novel, as long as the review itself speaks for itself (unlike my Harry Potter example or the review I was referring to in the 1st couple paragraphs). Thank you so much for disagreeing, that was a great thing to bring our attention to.

      – Lashaan

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hey Ashers! says:

        Aw, thanks for letting me ramble about my contradictory opinion! ❤

        You're 1000% right: ideally, everyone would read multiple reviews (both good and bad) before removing a book from their TBR list. Promoting readers' awareness of that ideal is a great idea!

        I don't know about you, but I imagine it's mostly younger people (and, more specifically, impulsive younger people–the ones who haven't yet figured out how to make careful decisions for themselves) who are willing to say no to a book after reading one poorly-written negative review.

        You don't explicitly refer to age/maturity level if you original post, but I get the feeling that we're probably in agreement here. I just can't imagine many mature/careful readers would behave this way.

        I hold out hope that as those readers grow up and figure out a more careful decision-making process, they'll realize they passed over a book for a silly reason, and add it to their TBR after all. In the meantime, promoting careful decision-makingskills among young readers is a brilliant idea. Two thumbs up. =D

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Combustible reviews says:

    Great post!

    It depends on my level of enthusiasm for a potential read. If I’m super excited than nothing save 100% 1 star ratings is going to stop me, but if I’m not that excited than a review can help me decide I don’t want to read it.

    If I do check out reviews before reading a book, I make sure to go over several and to see if the reviewers have similar tastes than me. If it’s a reviewer I know well and I consider reliable then their review would have more sway over my decision too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • transhaan says:

      Thank you so much! 😀 Totally agree. Books that I’ve pre-ordered or books that I can’t wait to get my hands on will definitely reach my bookshelf before I even check out the reviews and huge disgust for it would probably get me more intrigued than anything to find out why XD

      Personally, I have Trang to rely on for reviews of books she’s already read (cause her tastes never seems to disappoint me). I also turn to some other reviewers from the blogging/Goodreads community to see what they had to say about the book. Totally agree with you on the sources you turn to. People should definitely have more than one review read before jumping the boat on a book.

      – Lashaan

      Liked by 1 person

  4. dilchh says:

    Totally agree. I have been dissuaded from reading a book because of just one review, but I have also go against a certain review and actually enjoy the book even though most reviews said that it’s not that good of a book. Eventually, review should not only became the only factor when one decides to read a book.

    Liked by 1 person

    • transhaan says:

      I feel you. Some reviews are pretty dissuasive towards certain books. But in those cases, other factors should definitely come into play (i.e. is the blurb my cup of tea?). But what would really suck is if a certain novel as meant to be your soulmate until you came across a negative review that just completely threw you off (regarding the book). Essentially, people should really do their due diligence before skipping a book for the rest of their lives.

      – Lashaan

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Marie @ drizzleandhurricanebooks says:

    What a great post! You made a LOT of great points here, and I have to agree that there are days when I let the bad reviews influence me, and others where I just don’t care and want to read the book anyway. I think it really depends on who put those bad reviews, because obviously I’ll be more reluctant if those bad reviews are friends, than just strangers who might not have the same taste in books than I do. I get fascinated though, by those books that have almost a 5-stars rating… I mean, does this mean the book is just THAT GOOD? this always impresses me, because, we all have different taste, so how come a book is able to be rated that good by so many people? :O
    Anyway, I think that in the end we should rely on ourselves. Obviously, others’ opinion matter and we won’t be able to ignore those, but, if there are some bad reviews but I’m still curious about a book, I will read it. Because I want to, and I can 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    • transhaan says:

      Hahahah thank you so much! I totally agree! Reviews hold such an amazing grip on our TBR library and sometimes we just don’t realize it. Who does the review is definitely a big factor for a lot of people. What I also hope is the case for others is how solid of a statement that person does regarding the rating they give the book. I mean, a person can easily go on to say that this book isn’t worth anybodies time and blame it on the weather while another person explains the very things that bothered him (whether it’s the characters, the plot or the setting).

      Ohw man. Those books that only get 5 stars also fascinate me. If it also ends up getting me to give it a 5 star, I start believing that the author has a godlike talent with words. The only that a book can reach that many people without disappointing is with amazing character development, amazing settings, and overall amazing storytelling skills. Amazing everything, really.

      But yeh, you’re right. People should rely on themselves and form their own conclusion on whether they want to read a book or not. What I hope is that people don’t mindlessly skip over a book for all the wrong reasons (or no reasons). Doing your research and finding good reasons should be everyone’s first steps before jumping to conclusions! 😀

      – Lashaan

      Liked by 2 people

      • Marie @ drizzleandhurricanebooks says:

        Exactly! Some people don’t give too many arguments, but they still bash a book, and that’s annoying. I feel like there’s nothing real behind this rating. You’re so right though, a rating and a review is so subjective, it depends on the mood of the reader as well, so we can’t always rely on that. But I always love to read a great detailed review about books, because some people notice things I don’t, or/and make me want to read a book I couldn’t imagine reading in the first place.
        Oh yes, Amazing everything, just like you’re saying. I have rated books 5-stars, and found them amazing in everything, but when there are SO many 5-stars rating, I tend to be…suspicious? I don’t know, haha.
        Exactly in the end, what matters is not to jump to conclusions too early 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • transhaan says:

          Ohhhh! The books that only get 5 stars can definitely be suspicious at times. I’ve come across a couple of those, and man is it sad to find out (once you read the book) that the book was awarded fake 5 stars. When it’s not a popular book and it gets a lot of praise from random people, it sure does serve us good to be careful and to thoroughly check it out before making our decisions! 😀

          – Lashaan

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Ravenclaw Book Club says:

    Hmmm, reviews definitely have an impact on how much I want to read a book. But it has happened to me so many times that a book has mainly negative reviews and I still end up loving it – so I tend to judge a book myself and not rely too much on reviews.
    Very nice discussion, I really enjoyed reading this! x

    Liked by 1 person

    • transhaan says:

      Thank you so much! 😀 Honestly. When it comes to books, we should put our interest above other people’s reviews. It’s nice to take them into consideration, but letting them have 100% impact on your decision is just too much. Hearing you say you’ve read books even if it had negative reviews AND ended up loving them is amazing. That’s exactly why people should be more careful! 😀

      – Lashaan

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ravenclaw Book Club says:

        Well, there is this one fantasy trilogy that I read as a child and absolutely loved. I thought nobody could not love it because to me it’s amazing. But I found out that those books have very, very few reviews on Goodreads, they are not very well known at all, and most ratings are either negative or just meh. I thought maybe I just had to re-read them and would find out that they are actually pretty bad, but I did and I still love them! So yeah, I don’t trsut reviews too much. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • transhaan says:

          Awww yee!! Some things will remain amazing no matter what other people had to say! A little like the new Batman v Superman that I personally adored HAHAH 😀 And there’s also the childhood factor! Oh man, how hard it is to overrule that. Once it blows my mind as a kid, it’ll always have a spot among my favorite things out there! XD

          – Lashaan

          Liked by 1 person

          • Ravenclaw Book Club says:

            Oh God no, that movie was terrible! 😀 I’m glad it has some fans tho, you’re the first person I know who actually likes it! 😀
            Yeah, I think that played a huge role when I re-read the books as well. I can’t really hate something if I loved it as a child!

            Liked by 1 person

  7. rainandcheese says:

    Awesome post! I think reviews should be mostly constructive. I find myself more convinced to a review that lists both the pros and cons of the book, why you should read the said book, and to what demographic it is recommendable most especially. If you’re not a big fan of harlequins, then you may be a bit biased once you read and review a novel like that. I do think people shouldn’t judge a book because of one review. It would be like avoiding fried chicken because one person hated it. Maybe he preferred smoked chicken. Maybe the chicken wasn’t fried as his mom used to do. Why would it make you throw away a nice cooked chicken without even tasting it?

    In the end, I rely on reviews to discover new novels. Smoked, fried, raw– I get to discover a bunch of flavors that I haven’t tried out before. Somerimes it depends on what I’m used to, sometimes I want to try out something new. Reviews help me discover.

    Liked by 2 people

    • transhaan says:

      Thank you so much! 😀 Knowing the reviewer does help a lot in understand the review. I agree. I hope people take all that into consideration, cause the way a person reviews a novel reflects a lot of his own personal interests. Your comparison with fried chicken is gold. ❤ Gotta try it out to know what it's about!

      Using reviews to discover chicken is perfect! Honestly, people need to do their due diligence and make sure they fully understand what the book is really about and not what ONE person thinks it's about.

      – Lashaan

      Liked by 1 person

      • rainandcheese says:

        Yup. One chicken can be a different thing to another.

        Most often, I read reviews after I read the book so I could get a different perspective before I write a review. Reviews are like little notes you could compare to someone in the same class. I don’t see it as much use to someone who hasn’t read the same book. If anything else, reviews are but little rumors that you’d either believe or not or perhaps, trigger your curiousity. The same thing goes with movies. You’d watch it because of the hype, may it be good or not. A book you see everyday on your dashboard will likely make you read that book. Reviews add to the hype, good or bad.

        Liked by 1 person

        • transhaan says:

          I love your comparisons. Hilarious!! 😀 😀 Yep. Reviews make up for great discussions for people who’ve read it. Otherwise, they should used as curiosity spark’ers and make you go check out what the book is about on a more objective level (blurb, etc.)!

          – Lashaan

          Liked by 1 person

  8. bookevin says:

    Dude, this is a great post and I have picked up books because of glowing reviews only to discover that they weren’t for me.

    What I normally do is read reviews of bloggers and reviewers who I trust and have similar tastes. Heh! It helps because it saves time from picking something I wouldn’t like, but at the same time, I am keen to find out WHY they didn’t like the book.

    The key is a balanced and neutral review that will inform the readers on what’s good and what’s not as good about the book. You know what else helps? Preview chapters.

    Overall, I read what I like, but at the end of the day, I do tend to check out other people’s reviews to ensure that I make an informed choice.

    Well-elaborated post, Lashaan!

    Liked by 1 person

    • transhaan says:

      Ohhhhw preview chapters. I see those around so often, but I never check them out. For some reason they aren’t tempting to me. It feels like I’m getting “spoiled” in some twisted way and would rather just get the whole book instead. But yes! Preview chapters is actually ingenious (I’m pretty sure I’m like an extremely rare case, regarding preview chapters). And again, thank you so much, Kevin! 😀 People should just make informed choices instead of jumping the gun on removing a book from their TBR forever.

      – Lashaan

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Bookmark Chronicles says:

    It’s really all personal opinion. I personally don’t rely on reviews at all and only read reviews by other bloggers after I have read the book so that we can talk about it. But I totally agree with not letting one review ruin how you see a book I hate that. I actually posted yesterday about how its not really a “review” if you didn’t read the book for yourself and form your own opinion that wasn’t tainted by someone else’s. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • transhaan says:

      Indeed! I find it too tempting to not check out a couple reviews before deciding to add or not add a book to my TBR. After inevitably seeing the overall score it got, I’m tempted to see if anyone I know has read it and what they might have thought about it.

      But that’s a really interesting point. Once you read a review, before reading a book yourself, you’ve already tainted your perception of the book and your impressions on it could be greatly influenced on what you’ve read beforehand by other reviewers. I guess that’s where we got to hope that people will learn to form their own unbiased opinions about books they read and learn to share their genuine feelings for them! 😀

      Thank you so much! 😀 😀

      – Lashaan

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Brown Books and Green Tea says:

    I place a good amount of weight on reviews, but that’s because I’m also very picky about the people whose reviews I take seriously. There are some people who I know have similar taste to me, so when I see their reviews, I know they’re onto something. But that’s maybe 5% of the reviewers I know.

    Liked by 2 people

    • transhaan says:

      Ouuuhh yess! When you’re used to certain people’s reviews, it definitely helps a lot better in picking the books you want to read and those that you can strike out of your TBR! Personally, Trang is the only person who can easily tell me that I can pass on a book (after she’s read it) cause she knows what I would enjoy and what I would frown upon! XD

      – Lashaan

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Lekeisha The Booknerd says:

    I have only a handful of reviewers that I take with great consideration. Those reviewers always point out their likes and dislikes. If there are things within their review that I know will rub me the wrong way, I try to avoid that book. And I’m wary of books that receive nothing but positive reviews. That’s just a little too suspect for me, so I tend to keep browsing until I find a negative one to see why that person hated the book. Not every book will please everyone, and that’s okay. If I’m confused by a book and rate it poorly, I make sure to explain that it was ME and not the book, and that others may really love it. I will not flat out say DON’T READ THIS BOOK. I get your point though, but I’m more likely to read a book that someone else hates. I have bought books based on my favorite reviewers thoughts, and I’ve also not bought books based on their thoughts. But only the ones that I TRUST.

    Liked by 2 people

    • transhaan says:

      Yeeh I totally understand. The key here is to know the reviewer and to make a well-thought decision upon reading a review. Jumping the gun on a bad review and straight out scratching out a book from your TBR after ONE bad review (a review that also wasn’t very well structured and justified) is sad.

      The books that only get 5 stars from complete strangers are definitely suspicious. I find it very interesting that a lot of people recognize these and know that something is fishy. Such a horrible trend (if it only has 5 stars and the book is actually mediocre at best).

      As long as everyone do their research properly and know what they’re doing, reviews won’t have such a devastating power on us. I just wonder how an unjustified negative review can bring someone to pass on a book, for life. Especially when the book is, for example, extremely popular around the world. That’s just troubling. :O

      – Lashaan

      Like

  12. Emily | RoseRead says:

    Excellent post! 🙂 This bit was my favorite: “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.” Just to add on to that, I think that reviews not only “emanate your personal odor” but emanate FROM your persona odor: tastes, experience, time of life, time of day even, etc.! I have a post in the works about how reviews can change over time. Like, I once gave a book 5 stars and now I remember nothing about it, and I gave another book 3 stars, but it has stuck with me so much over time that I feel like I need to raise my rating. Reviews seem to be very relative when I write them; yet when I read others’ reviews, I tend to forget that fact! I think that is another danger. Again, great post!!

    Liked by 3 people

    • transhaan says:

      Thank you so much! 🙂 That subject is sooooo interesting. :O Reviews can definitely ”evolve” over time depending on the reader and how they experienced it the first time. I mean, if I was 12 years old and read a classic novel like A Clockwork Orange, I’m pretty sure I would’ve missed A LOT of subtleties. I guess reviews can never really be ”complete” per se.

      – Lashaan

      Liked by 2 people

    • transhaan says:

      Thank you so much! Hahahaha that immunity though! I think in the long run, ignoring reviews and jumping into books that simply intrigue you would be a pretty legit and fun experience! 😀

      – Lashaan

      Liked by 1 person

  13. FictionalNeverland says:

    Sorry for the above comments 😛 I accidentally kept hitting “send”! Anyways, this was such a wonderful discussion. I try not to rely on reviews as much as I do on the plot itself. Personally for my reviews, I try to add both the good and the bad about each and every book. (Though it can be hard sometimes if my opinions are too strong XD)

    Liked by 1 person

    • transhaan says:

      Thank you so much! Don’t worry about the previous comments; my powers of admin can fix that! 😀 As long as we check out the reviews of more than one person and that other factors weigh in too (like the plot), then world can keep on spinning. 😀 I do agree that it can be difficult to find the pros AND cons of some books (especially when you simply adored a book) but I think an important thing to do is just be genuine and honest in our reviews so that people know that the reading experience we had was.. OUR reading experience. And so, they shouldn’t be steered away from a negative review from us! 😀 People should simply do their due diligence before making a decision. To read or not to read. 😛

      – Lashaan

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Lola @ Hit or Miss Books says:

    Wow okay.
    Honestly, before I started reviewing books myself, I DID NOT CARE about reviews. I wasn’t even on Goodreads much. I just picked whatever book looked interesting from the library. But when I started writing reviews, I also began to pay attention to other’s thoughts on books I showed an interest for. I always read both negative and positive reviews before starting/buying a book, especially if the said book is a lesser known one. If it’s popular and has hundred of thousands of readers, I’ll be curious to see what makes it so popular regardless of the ratings or panoplie of negative reviews. But I think reviews are quite important nonetheless. Like you said, it’s an opinion and therefore a subjective thought. But sometimes it can save you, you know, if someone mentions a love-triangle and you completely, COMPLETELY despise those 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • transhaan says:

      Oh my gawd. Yes! When reviews can point out the pros and cons properly, people can learn a lot of things that can save them from suffering through a book. Reviews do help me out too nowadays. But one thing’s for sure. I make sure to read more than one (if necessary) to know that I’m not getting myself into something mediocre.

      And man… I haven’t seen ANY love-triangle that turned out fascinating (I also know I haven’t read many AND tried to avoid them..).

      – Lashaan

      Like

  15. ljshouse2015 says:

    Great post and good discussion.

    I learned what little I know about reviewing from the movie reviewers Gene Siskell and Roger Ebert (the guys who popularized the ‘thumbs up’ idea for reviewing). When giving a review they would tell what the movie was about and what it was they liked and/or didn’t like about it. They confessed to a bias for ‘talking heads’ movies if they told a good story, but they also let you know if the movie had a good chase scene or good special effects. You could usually tell whether you would like a movie based on their reviews even if they didn’t care for it that much. I try to do that as much as I can with my own reviews, but probably not with as much success as they had.

    In reading other people’s book reviews, I look for the same things – why they did or didn’t like the book. If I have already decided to read it, other reviews probably won’t make that much difference. And a lot of the time, even a good review won’t convince me to read a book, not because I worry that it will be bad, but because I already have so many books I want to read!

    Liked by 1 person

    • transhaan says:

      Ohhhhw :O Those are some big names. I like to check out movie reviews (after I’ve watched a particular movie) just to see what critics have to say and how they say it. There’s a lot to learn from the big names indeed! I also agree that pros and cons should be a big factor in everyone’s review (especially if it isn’t a 5 star since you must have reasons for it to not have all 5).

      And.. definitely. I just like to stack up books in my TBR on Goodreads cause I know those will always be interesting to check out any time in the future. But man, there’s just too much gems that I want to read right NOW.. after JUST discovering them! Argh! 😛

      – Lashaan

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Amy says:

    Lashaan I totally agree with you! If I come across a negative reveiw of a book I’ve been interested in reading I usually say something along the lines of, ‘it sucks that you didn’t enjoy this, I’ll have to keep my eye out for more reviews’, and 100% mean it! I know a review is subjective as! The only thing that can really be agreed on is if someone mentions the authors writing, if it’s good or not, just because us book bloggers have read so many damn books in our lives that we all pretty much have fantastic references of what makes awesome writing – but even that can be subjective I guess!

    I also let negative reviews turn me away from books, if the reviewer mentioned themes from the book I know I never enjoy badly delivered love triangles and cheating for example. If a book truely has elements I know I’m not going to enjoy reading I usually let the review be my deciding factor.
    Great post!!! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • transhaan says:

      Thank you so much! 😛 I believe that’s the way we should do it too! Read a negative review, acknowledge its existence and be on the look out for more thoughts and feelings from other reviewers. That should be the way everyone should do it, just so we don’t end up missing out on an excellent book because of ONE bad review.

      That praise for bloggers and their understanding of “good writing” cracked me up! XD I’m sure a lot of us know the difference between good and bad story-telling, but I’ve come across reviews of people who literally overlooked the evident bad writing (to my eyes) and blatantly said they loved the book (when.. it wasn’t mind-blowing). In the end, vigilance is necessary! Everything is essentially subjective and that’s what people need to know!

      Yaaaass, reviews that point out very big factors that can easily sway our decision to read or not, based on our own personal interest, are lifesavers. However, it would be scary if that person saw the love triangle/cheating where there wasn’t :O This is why reviews can really be dangerous. I mean, everyone’s reading experience brings them to have different understanding and appreciation of plot points. Imagine that :O Nonetheless, I too can be pretty much influenced by negative reviews that point out things that I would normally avoid (even if it’s true or not), but I also like to make sure other people noticed it hahaha xD

      – Lashaan

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Karina Pinella says:

    I agree that reviews are subjective. How can it not be? We all have different mindsets. Although I try to be neutral when I write a review, I find that I inevitably give some opinions. I’ve read books in spite of bad reviews for both books an movies. I’ve liked badly reviewed books and movies. So, like the song goes,”Different strokes for different folks.” If the subject matter is interesting to you, I say go read it for yourself regardless of the review. A review is good to read for the sake of knowing someone else’s opinion, but it doesn’t have to be your own.

    Liked by 1 person

    • transhaan says:

      I couldn’t have put it better myself. Reviews remain a persons opinion and no one needs to have the same one! Honestly, people should jump into a book the moment it interests them. Reviews should have their impact reduced and only the person himself can control that. Hopefully, especially the younger folks who just plunged into literature, should be vigilant in their way to process reviews (positive and negative).

      – Lashaan

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Read Diverse Books says:

    I think the majority of readers (i.e. non-bloggers) will decide whether they want to read a book based on the title, the blurb, and the author. They might read a few reviews from big names like NPR or The New York times, but ultimately, they’ll decide for themselves whether they want to read it.

    If a reader uses Goodreads frequently to seek potential books, she may look at overall ratings and opinion to decide whether or not to read that book. But very rarely will one book review sway her decision one way or the other. I think most readers are this way, even book bloggers. Sure, we may have a handful of bloggers who we trust and their book reviews are gospel, but generally we go based off our initial interest and then whether the general community likes the book. At least that’s what I do!

    Liked by 1 person

    • transhaan says:

      Indeed. But even people out there who stroll around bookstores could seek/get opinions from librarians/sellers on what’s new/what’s good. Even if these readers don’t search online for reviewers from bloggers or from websites like Goodreads, they’re opinion of a book can still be influenced by other people’s review (which is essentially an opinion). The issue of readers being aware that ONE review is RARELY sufficient remains important and, hopefully, no one falls for the trap (one bad review = ain’t touching this book).

      Nonetheless, if people stick to their interests and use reviews as opportunities to interact and see what people thought of books you’ve read then it’s definitely amazing! It’s the fear that some people can be easily swayed by one bad review that makes me wonder if the importance to raise awareness isn’t one of great importance, you know! 😀 In the end, I’m definitely happy if people do their due diligence before jumping the boat on a certain book. Who knows? Maybe that book could be the best book they’ve ever read! (Hope that never happens to anyone XD)

      – Lashaan

      Like

  19. marineko says:

    Generally, I love readings lots and lots of reviews before, during, and sometimes after reading any book, but the reviews rarely make any impact on whether I will read (or continue to read) it. I guess I’m just curious to see what are the things people like or didn’t like about the books I’m interested in – sometimes I agree, and sometimes I don’t. Taste is subjective, after all 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • transhaan says:

      Honestly! 😀 Although I personally avoid reviews “during” a book. I feel like they spoil me on so many levels and give me expectations on what to expect from my experience. I also try to avoid reviews before (unless I’m uncertain of the books potential), but once I’m done with reviews, I love to jump on anyone’s review of the book just to compare and see what I’ve missed or not! 😉 Nonetheless, reviews remain very subjective and people should be aware and careful about them!

      – Lashaan

      Like

  20. Molly's Book Nook says:

    Positive reviews will definitely get me interested in a book. Although, I’m pretty skeptical about nothing BUT positive reviews because I tend to dislike overhyped books (not all, but it has happened often). What I usually do is read a mix of BOTH positive and negative reviews of a book, but they usually don’t play into whether or not I’ll read a book. If I want to read it, I go for it. If I don’t, I don’t, no matter how many great things people are saying about it. But I do think other people let reviews determine their choices, so yeah, as a reviewer I have a lot of power over what people read – but I’m still going to stay true to how I feel about a book. Sometimes I just don’t have anything positive to say about a book, so I won’t say anything positive. I never tell people YOU SHOULDN’T READ THIS BOOK. So that’s up to them whether or not they take my review and act on it, I can’t really control that. I want to stay genuine, not sugar coat things. If that makes sense?

    Molly @ Molly’s Book Nook

    Liked by 1 person

    • transhaan says:

      Yeh, I totally understand. I remain genuine in all my reviews, no matter what other people have said about the book. I like to think my reviews are straight out of my personal reading experience. Everything I felt and understood (I’m a strong believer that there are people out there that don’t read between the lines compared to others) will be reflected throughout my reviews. Staying honest is a must and I’m glad to hear that you do too.

      Reviews that ONLY get 5 stars can raise some suspicion in my eyes too. I like to explore more reviews and see if people denote anything that would interest me a lot and try to understand what the hype is about. In the end, people need to do their “research” before making any radical decision about a book (to read or not to read) and ultimately, it’s their call on what to do. I just wish people don’t make the mistake to sway away from one book because of ONE negative review (unless that trust meter is over 10000000. 😀 😀

      – Lashaan

      Like

    • transhaan says:

      Key is to look at more than one and be rational in what you decide to do. I would definitely do the same when I’m skeptical about a certain book that piqued my interest, but not enough. It’s either I try it for myself cause the subject interests me or I check out some reviews and try to make a pros/cons list that will help me see the bigger picture a bit more clearer! 😀

      – Lashaan

      Liked by 1 person

  21. healed1337 says:

    My thoughts are that reviews are an important part of entertainment, but you shouldn’t just rely on any old reviewer. Not even the general consensus will necessarily tell you whether you’ll like a book or not. Try to find a critic who’s tastes seem to match your own and follow them. That’s not to say an opposing opinion on something you like can’t be interesting of course. Same goes for movies, games and anything entertainment.

    Liked by 1 person

    • transhaan says:

      Indeed! Reviews are important sources for feedback. It helps build greater content in the future and show appreciation for what’s already out. They highlight pros and cons and discover a lot of things. People should really take a look at various reviewers to find out who “clicks” better with their interests and then build their own opinions. Long live reviews! 😛

      – Lashaan

      Like

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