Why I Try Not to Read Reviews

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I don’t like reading book reviews before I read the book.  That might sound totally crazy as someone who created a blog in order to write reviews, but it’s become kind of an issue for me recently.

Why don’t I like to read reviews, you ask?  Well, thank you so much for asking, so I can now try to organize my thoughts into a coherent discussion.

I’ve discovered I’m easily influenced.  If I read a bad review before I read the book I will go into the book with points already against it. I will pick up on the things the reviewer had against it, and it will color my own opinion.  Yeah, I should probably learn not to care what other people think, but if I haven’t learned it in 26 years of life, I don’t think I can start now.

And then if I read one 5 star review after another , I go into the book with high expectations that are usually dashed and I end up bitter and angry at the book for not living up to my expectations and myself for clearly not understanding why so many others love it.

It’s a bit different after if I read reviews after finishing the book, but before writing my own review.  This happened to me most recently with This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp. I already didn’t really enjoy the book, but after reading a few reviews, I just couldn’t ignore something that had barely bothered me while reading. It didn’t necessarily change my outlook on that particular book, but it did affect my review.

So in 2016, I’ve decided that I’m going to try and be a lot more careful about reading the review until AFTER I have read the book and written my own review.

What about you?  Do reviews affect how you read, rate and review books? How do you stop other people’s opinions from coloring your own?

13 thoughts on “Why I Try Not to Read Reviews

  1. I worry that if I read a review before I have written mine, a phrase or paragraph will stick in my head and I will plagiarize without realizing! So I try to write the review, and then go back and read others. Then I kick myself when someone else made a great observation and I totally missed it in the book! 🙂

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  2. I completely agree re: reading reviews prior to reading and reviewing a book — they will influence me a lot either too positively or too negatively. I didn’t think about the entire aspect you bring up in this post but that’s a seriously necessary and great point!

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  3. THIS I’m exactly the same! I wrote a post on this a whiiile ago saying the exact same thing! I felt bad about being so easily influenced, but I realized that reading reviews after having formed my own opinion on the book worked better for me. Only then I was in a position to agree or disagree with what the reviewer thought.

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    • Yeah, I’ve realized that’s what I have to do now. If I’ve just finished reading a book and then go read reviews, those reviews will definitely shape my own opinions. So now it’s just going to be hard to stop reading the reviews until I have worked through my own thoughts.

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  4. Just posted about this on my blog (seriously, like 5 minutes ago lol), and I discuss why I’m not going to include any reviews on my new blog, and also why I don’t read reviews on other blogs unless it’s for a book I’ve already read. I think reviews can definitely influence people before they’ve had a chance to read the books, and I don’t think that’s fair to the book, the author or the reader 🙂

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  5. Pingback: Snowed In for the Weekend–A Charmed Week |

  6. It is hard not to be influenced by others’ opinions – I definitely agree with that. I don’t necessarily avoid reviews, but I do sometimes try to just skim them if I know I’ll be reading the book soon and I also generally try to avoid reading them before writing my review! (I had that happen once too where I read something in a review that hadn’t even occurred to me while I was reading the book – I couldn’t unthink the thoughts once I’d had them, so I just mentioned them in my review and admitted that I’d been influenced by that other review.)

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  7. It doesn’t bother me to read reviews before I read a book. Then again I don’t mind hearing about a movie or a show before I see it either. Say someone see a character as sweet and love the book. I may see that same characters and dumb and naive. My life experience shape how I see certain characters so when I read reviews it just one person opinion to me. I know mine maybe different.
    Bunnita @ Worth Reading It?

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  8. I like to read reviews (well, skim) to get a sense of what people think about a book before putting it on my TBR, or at least moving it very high up on my TBR (let’s be real, I add all kinds of things to my GR TBR haha). I try to stay away from them close to when I actually pick pick up the book because I don’t want the reviews to be fresh on my mind when I read it, but I like having a vague idea of if other people like it or not. I think reading reviews before picking up the book is actually in the minority though!

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