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, I decided to change things up and bring out more of our bookwormishness (yes, that’s a word now) with this post. 😉
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 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! 😉 This, in turn usually ends up going at least one of these two 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, 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.
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! ❤