Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Wednesday Chatter #1: When to read reviews

Wednesday Chatter is a weekly feature at Ruby's Books where we'll be talking about anything and everything related to books and reading. Click here if you want to see what we talked about in the previous weeks

Since I'm a very chatty person (and yes, I ramble a lot. There, I said it) I thought it would be a good idea to start this feature. I was also curious if I'm the only one feeling a certain way about... well, bookish things.

This week's topic is about reviews and when to read them. 

A few days ago I was talking with a friend of mine about book blogging and book reviews and, knowing I enjoy writing reviews, she asked if I also read reviews. I have to admit I am a very weird person. Though I enjoy writing reviews about the books I read, I am very particular about the reviews I read. That doesn't mean I don't read them at all, I do read reviews. But I read them only after I've read the book in question.

I realized it was better for me not to read reviews ahead of time when I was very young. I was about 13 years old and me and a very good friend from school (let's call him D) were doing a The Three Musketeers read-along. D is a booklover since he was very very young, so by the age of 13 he was a really fast reader (I think even know, he reads a lot faster than me, if that's possible). So, of course, he was about 3-4 chapters ahead of me. Every day for about...two weeks, while we were taking the subway on our way home, we would talk about what we read the day before and change opinions and arguing about what would happen next. At some point, I realized D wasn't playing fair, because he already knew what was going to happen. So I, curious as ever, started begging him (more like nagging) to tell me what was going to happen and tell me his what he thought about it. That ruined the book for me and I could never finish it. 

I realize that what D was giving me was a huge pile of spoilers instead of a review, but for me, it's basically the same thing. As soon as I read someone else's opinion about a book, my feelings change even before I started reading it. I notice things I probably would've ignored otherwise, while other details are lost to me. 

The main reason I do like to read reviews is because I want to see if someone else spotted the little details that I did, or to see if I'm the only one hating/loving certain things about the book. 

If I stumble across a review for a book I've never heard of before, I will read a small part of it. So my brain gets something along the lines of

I loved this book because....(skip this part, skip it, skip it!); I didn't like the fact that (skip, skip, skip). Recommended to fans of (insert genres or similar books).

What about you? Do you read reviews before or after you've read the book?
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