Monday, February 25, 2013

Musing Mondays - Reading and Writing Reviews

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Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week…

  • Describe one of your reading habits.
  • Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
  • Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
  • Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
  • Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
  • Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books -- let's hear it, then! :D

My Musing...

This week I'm going to ramble about something and I'm hoping you guys will respond because I'm really curious about this and wondering what everyone else thinks.  It's about writing and reading reviews.  Some of us do both (I'm one of those), some only read reviews, others only write them...whichever category you fall into, here's what I'm wondering...

What do you prefer in your reviews?  A simple synopsis of the story, then the reviewers opinion?  Star you like those?  Do you think it's fine to use the official publisher's synopsis of the book (whether it's a book blurb or from one of the sites like Goodreads or Amazon) or do you prefer the reviewer to summarize the book in their own words?  Do you like in depth reviews?  Spoilers?  What's your preference?

Personally, I go for short and sweet because my attention tends to wander if the reviews are too long.  For me, the official synopsis is okay since that's what the book is about.  That doesn't change if I put it into my own words, although sometimes we might tend to see things differently, I guess.  I absolutely hate spoilers.  I don't want a story to be spoiled for me.  I want to read it for myself and be surprised.  I enjoy it more that way.

Do you review all the books you read, whether they've been requested or not?  I don't necessarily review everything (unless I'm reading something that was requested, of course), but there have been books I've read for my own enjoyment and I reviewed those - especially if I'm reading them for a reading challenge.  I always feel like I need to review them, even when a challenge specifically says you don't have to.

Do you read reviews before you start reading books?  For me, it's not a hard rule but sometimes I will.  More often than not, I'll read a review by a blogger who has similar reading tastes as I do.  Sometimes I'll just read a book without a review.  Like I said, it's not a hard rule for me one way or the other.

So, what's your take on reviews - reading and/or writing them?


  1. Lots of food for thought here...

    First, let me say that I review all the books I read these days. I started doing this in 2008 (on Amazon and Goodreads); then I started posting them on my blogs.

    I used to lead with the Amazon description, but now I summarize the story in the first paragraph or two and move on to my thoughts.

    I don't like spoilers, either, and I try not to read reviews before I tackle the book.

    Although I might read one or two before buying, if I'm uncertain of the book.

    I don't like reviews that are too long, but the ones that are only one or two paragraphs make me wonder.

    In 2010, I started keeping track of my reads on my Curl up and Read blog...and in 2011, I took it a step further and starting linking to my reviews on my "Read" page.

    Interesting topic...I could go on and on! lol


  2. I have just recently started my book blog and have only begun to write reviews so I am interested to hear other's thoughts on this topic. Personally I do not like reviews that contain spoilers. I rarely read reviews before reading a book for the following reasons I feel it may spoil the book for me. I also follow the philosophy of don't judge a book by it's review as I tend to believe in each readers right to form their own opinion of the book. Thus my reviews tend to be more personal in nature, what my thoughts were on the book and how the book moved me rather than a critial breakdown on the book merits. Lastly I am treasure hunter of books and tend to aquire my books the following ways, at used book or thrift stores or through gift or loan of a friend or family member.

  3. Well, I enjoy reading reviews, mostly from fellow bloggers but also review sites and The New York Times. It depends on the review but I don't like book reviews that are too short or too long. I also don't like spoilers. If a book interests me I'll read it, no matter what the review says. Personally I like snippets of writing from the book, so I can get a taste of the prose. I review every book I read and I like to use star ratings
    Great post!

  4. synopsis, yes. sometimes the publisher's, usually not.
    Stars..I like them when I read review but I don't use them.
    Spoilers? NO! At least I try never to give away too much.
    I do not review all he books I read, mostly because I do much like writing them.
    I like short and sweet...but I tend to ramble on..and on...

  5. I like star ratings. I rarely read the synopsis unless its been done by the reviewer as a summary/overview. I don't mind having the general gist of the story but I don't like major spoilers. I rarely read long reviews, at the most I will just skim them. I like the reviewers thoughts completely separate from the story summary/ overview. Here's my MM:


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