Do Reviews Sway Your Opinion Before or After You Read a Book? | Book Snacks Babbles

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The first discussion of March! Welcome, bookish chocolate bars. Welcome. I had been thinking of doing another blogger-related post, but since I’ve already been doing several blogger-related posts,Β I decided to change things up and bring out more of our bookwormishness (yes, that’s a word now) with this post. πŸ˜‰

So, from my title, you obviously know what this post is about, which is: Do you let reviews sway your opinion before or after you read a book? (Lol. Yes, I know, I state the obvious. Your point is?) As part of the book blogging community, most of us, if not all, sometimes or often reads reviews of either books they’ve read, books they’re anticipating, or just a plain book they’ve never heard of. Right? Most plainly put, often reviews are to help the readers reading the review decide whether they want to read a book or not. And if a person has already read the book, well, then it’s because they want to see what the other person has thought about it.

But does reading these reviews affect our opinion, when we’ve already read the book or have yet to read it? Let’s babble!

Reading Reviews Before or After You Read a Book

‘Before’ Scenarios

Reading a positive review on a book we haven’t read

This usually leads to: building up hype and personal expectations. Obviously. Oftentimes this is the case, when I read a review on a book that either has yet to be released, or simply a book I haven’t read. Lately it’s usually the former that occurs most often for me? Though the latter occurs too. It’s kind of natural, when I read a glowing review talking about all the things this person liked in the book, all the amazing things that are all things I love to read about… well, it’s just something that happens subonciously, sometimes for me; I’m intrigued, and as I read more reviews on this book sharing these positive sentiments, I have expectations set! Behold, the power of the hype.

But you already know that, of course—I’d bet most of you can agree that you’ve felt this way before as well! πŸ˜‰ This, in turn usually ends up going at least one of these twoΒ ways:

1. Having super high expectations…that ARE met.

Ahh, this is one of the most satisfying feelings, to be honest. When you have really high expectations of a book, and they actually met them (or even, surpassed them), it’s just SO AMAZING. Seriously, it’s just so nice and comforting to know that there are books that actually can live up to the awesomeness you build up in your head, especially when you think they won’t. Most of the time,Β having such high expectations leads to disappointment, which brings us to the next possibility (which isn’t so amazing):

2. Having super high expectations… that AREN’T met.

While the above one is absolutely amazing, this one is terrible, really! After having such an awesome idea of the book in your head, having to find that the book doesn’t meet this expectations at all really sucks. Believe me, I know. Even though you know it was a possibility, seeing how having such high expectations definitely makes it hard for books to meet them, you’re still super disappointed, you know? Or at least I am. *SIGH* (Reawakened, I’m looking at you. You could’ve been so much better, gah.)

Eeep, I’m rambling again. Basically my point is: reading a positive review on a book we haven’t read can be both great and dangerous! I guess it all comes down to hype, and expectations, really. Wicked things, our expectations. (Why does that sound like it should be said with a British accent??)

Reading a negative review on a book we haven’t read

This kind of goes the opposite of the above, really! Especially if we read several negative reviews on one book. It creates expectations, for sure… though, let’s just say they’re not that high. For me, personally, I have to say I tend to add many books-with-bad-reviews on my TBR, though oftentimes I don’t actually prioritize them? Well, I don’t prioritize them at all, really. Which isn’t actually a good thing, because, hey. Maybe it’ll end up being a book I like a lot more than the person who didn’t like it, right? But if I don’t really prioritize it, chances are I won’t be getting to it soon. Obviously. Though maybe it’ll be someday?

However, sometimes what happens is that I forego putting the book on my TBR at all, which, although basically leads to the same result as the first, just shows I don’t even really consider the thought of reading it. This doesn’t happen to me often, but I’m sure it happens a lot more for other people, perhaps? Again, it’s not a good thing either way—but what to do? Just like reading a positive review created high expectations, reading a negative review might lead to low expectations—or foregoing the book completely. :/

‘After’ Scenarios

Reading a negative review on a book we loved

Soo the other day I was eating chocolate—of course—and reading a review of Made You Up by Francesca Zappia, which happened to be a book I loved. The review, however didn’t share my sentiments—in fact it was the complete opposite. Let me get this clear: I, LOVE reading negative reviews. They’re always so interesting to read! And I’m not saying it wasn’t the case for this book, believe me, it was. Interesting to read, that is. But as I read it, (what later became the inspiration of this post, actually) it made me re-think of all the things I previously praised.. that this person is suddenly pointing out as a flaw.

And I’m not trying to say this was a bad thing. I mean, it’s great to see a new perspective on something, especially a book we’ve read. But at the same time… this wasn’t necessarily a good thing? At the back of my head, yes, of course I was intrigued on finding a perspective so different from mine, but first and foremost I was subconsciously picking out all the flaws in a book I previously loved. So. Kind of awkward. I guess it’s kind of similar to falling out of love with a book, or at least close, because really, if it’s possible for us to start concentrating on flaws of a book that we previously ignored, then what’s stopping us from changing our minds completely based on these newly found flaws? Right? It’s something to keep in mind, at least.

Reading a positive review on a book we hated

In theory, it makes sense why this scenario would result in us falling in love with said book. Seeing how it seems possible to fall out of love with a book based on a review, the opposite would be true, right? But to be honest, I kind of feel like in practice, this wouldn’t actually work out? I mean, if you go searching for reviews hoping to suddenly fall in love with a book (that you disliked before), it’s almost 100% assured that it won’t work. But even if you read a glowing review on a book you disliked, just, you know, by chance, I feel like it would be much harder for it to sway your opinion? (Sorry for all the question marks, I’m really just going by ear on this. I’m kind of totally rambling here, soo. Please bear with me!)

I don’t know. I’ve never actually fallen in love with a book I hated by reading a review, so maybe it’s that which is affecting my opinion on this. But correct me if I’m wrong; I feel like it might be easier to fall out of love with a book based on a review rather than falling back into love? Maybe it’s because for the former, we’re already aware, when we’re in love with a book, that it DOES have flaws, no matter how much we end up sugarcoating them, so when we read a review pointing out these flaws, well.. it’s more easier to be swayed, you know? For the latter, we’ve picked out all the flaws already so we’re less likely to be swayed by a glowing review when we already hated all or most of the things praised in the review, I guess. Lol.

Last minute babbling…

I think I’m going to have to say a yes for this one! You know me, I usually make no sense whatsoever throughout the whole post, and can’t always come to a firm conclusion, but for this, definitely yes. It may be a positive sway, or it might be negative, but I definitely think it’s possible for a review to sway and influence our opinions, before or after we read a book! Whether this is a good thing or not is almost always determined by the situation. It’s too bad though if reading a review before or after we read the book turns out to be not in our favour! :/


Alright, so I think I’ve ran out of steam for now! Obviously I must re-energize on chocolate, yes yes. So I’m going to be heading this over to you guys! Tell me some of your thoughts on this, I’d love to chat. Have you ever fallen into a situation where you fell out of love with a book based on a review? Or, have you fallen BACK into love with a book, based on a review? What do you think of reading reviews before you read a book? Good or bad? Do you forego books with negative reviews? What are some books that met your super high expectations? What are some that disappointed you? Whoo, that’s a lot of questions. But I’d love to know your thoughts, so feel free to ramble! Heaven knows I did, in this post. (I hope it all made sense, lol.)
Hope you’re all enjoying your weekend! ❀

Until the Next Meal, Analee

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19 thoughts on “Do Reviews Sway Your Opinion Before or After You Read a Book? | Book Snacks Babbles

  1. For me reviews really only sway my opinion before I read the book. Afterwards, I have already formed my personal opinion and I am only reading reviews out of curiosity to see how people I respect felt about it. πŸ˜€

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yes, for sure, reviews are quite influential when we haven’t read the book! And I can definitely empathize with that. A lot of the times reviews don’t sway much of my opinion after I read the book, though sometimes it might make me re-think a few things. πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I definitely fall prey to hype a lot! With books I’ve finished – I tend to avoid any negative reviews because, like you, I tend to suddenly notice all the flaws and sometimes I just want to keep my positive opinion!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Great question. Running across scathing reviews AFTER I’ve loved a book might let a tiny bit of steam out of my bubble, but not too much. But a low Goodreads ranking or lots of negative reviews will definitely sway me from trying out a book–unless the concept is just too intriguing to ignore.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Not letting a negative review on a book you loved affect your opinion is really good! For me, it doesn’t always turn out that way, haha. Yes! I can totally empathize with that, negative review on a book before I read it can definitely dissuade me from wanting to try out a book! Though at times I end up adding the book to my TBR anyway because I can’t help but wonder if the premise ends up being something I like or if it’s an intriguing idea, like you mentioned. πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The main reason I try to avoid reviews of books I haven’t read yet (unless I’m really on the fence about whether or not I want to read it, in which case I’ll skim the top reviews on Goodreads just to see what the GENERAL consensus is) is because I’m TERRIBLE about being swayed by reviews, particularly the negative ones. If I go into a book already expecting to hate it because everybody else did…it doesn’t bode well for the book.

    So… Yeah, I try not to read reviews until AFTER I’ve read the book and come to my own conclusions. That way, no harm, no foul!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, reviews can be incredibly powerful influences! It can definitely be hard to enjoy a book with so many negative flaws to it having been already pointed out previously. It’s quite difficult to keep that opinion separate, no? πŸ˜‰ And yep that’s true, reading reviews of a book after you read the story means it’ll be much more fair and easier to make up your own idea of the book.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, exactly! πŸ˜€ I’d rather be fair to the book–after all, not all books are right for everyone, and I’ve discovered recently some of my absolute favorite reads have been ones with a LOT of negative reviews from others. πŸ˜„

        Liked by 1 person

  5. You are right about this, Analee! I often base my next read on positive reviews. But, if I really like the author and the books he/she wrote before, I easily jump into reading the book regardless of the type of review it got.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Trisha Ann! Glad you think so. ❀️ Haha yes same here! I tend to pick up a book with positive reviews much more often than a book with negative ones.
      Oh yes, that’s true, when it comes to a favourite author, I don’t tend to care either way over what types of reviews it got. Positive or negative, since it’s a familiar author I’m not that uncertain when it comes to reading the book or not!

      Like

  6. I don’t think a differing review changes my opinion about the book, but they can help see other perspectives, which I like. I do find if I read a great review and then read the book and don’t like it I am a bit more disappointed. Great discussion!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I’m definitely influenced by reviews before reading, especially if they’re negative. If I read too many bad reviews about a book, I usually become weary of even picking up the book. If I do, I’m usually on the alert for all the things they people hated.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Right?? It’s so hard to remain neutral over a book when you’ve read so many people claim they hated and disliked said book. πŸ˜• And yeah, same here. Which really sucks because maybe if I hadn’t been on the lookout for these flaws, I might’ve enjoyed reading the book a lot.

      Like

  8. I seldom read reviews of books I’m hoping to read (unless it’s those on Goodreads that are extremely snarky and utterly sublime to enjoy reading). If I do, it’s when I’ve already finished it and would like to see what other people thought of it. It’s already bad enough with being part of the community that you just *know* what’s being hyped and so that already sets an invisible benchmark haha.

    On the other hand, if it’s a book I have limited interest in (so basically zero), I’ll most likely skim-read a review if the book’s cover is appeasing — I know, I’m extremely shallow LOL. But what’s true is that I’ll be easily swayed by this limited sample size of an opinion for a book that I don’t really have much will to read to begin with.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aha those snarky reviews are always so entertaining. πŸ˜„ I do end up reading reviews of books I’m hoping to read a lot of the time because I like to see what others have thought (despite knowing, in the back of my mind that it might end badly when I actually read the book). LOL yep, being a part of such a large book blogging community almost guarantees that you will be swept into the masses of people squealing over a book! Just the fact that everyone is loving it so much sets up such an expectation. πŸ˜„

      You’re not alone there!! Covers totally play a factor, lolllll.

      Like

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