Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What makes YOU read a book review?

When I was going through my blog reader this past week I started to notice that there were many different reasons for why I would or wouldn't read a book review. I know what most of you are probably thinking right now:

"What are you talking about Julia? People will read a book review to find out if the book is any good or not! THAT'S why they read reviews!"

Don't worry guys! I know that. But that isn't the only reason I read book reviews. In fact there are a TON of different reason I read book reviews! Here (in no particular order) are the ones that come to mind:

1. The book cover catches my eye.

                                         Thumbs Up!              Thumbs Down.

I have a confession to make: I judge books by their covers. If a book has a bad cover I will probably try to avoid it like the plague unless some really great book review comes along and convinces me otherwise. I know, I'm a terrible bookish person. This is probably why I overlooked Where Things Come Back by Corey Whaley which recently won the Printz award AND the William C. Morris Debut Award. The cover of that book just looked dead boring so I never read any reviews for it. Ever. In fact for some strange reason I thought it was about zombies. Probably because it mentions things coming back in the title and I thought it was referring to "back from the dead". Yep, this is embarrassing.... But on the other side of the spectrum is books like Entwined by Heather Dixon where the gorgeous (albiet overly romanticized) cover got me to read review after review. Even so I still haven't read the book nor do I think I ever will. The whole 12 dancing princesses thing just doesn't appeal to me... but at least I know what this book is about as compared to me throwing Where Things Come Back to the wayside just because of it's unfortunate woodpecker cover. :/

2. I really like the book reviewer

There are some book bloggers that write reviews that I always love to read. Even if it's a book I know I probably won't be interested in I will still read their review. Also, I've noticed that I tend to overlook reviews for books I've never heard of before (unless of course the cover is gorgeous :P) but I will click into these types of reviews if their from my favorite reviewers. I of course will read reviews from any blog I follow not just my favorites but I am more likely to read the ones from my favorite blogs.


This is probably the biggest reason of all. If a book has a lot of hype in the blogosphere you can bet I'll be reading a lot of reviews for it. Probably any review I can find. Like Shatter Me? I read at least a dozen reviews for that book. Same with The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. Another thing about book hype is I always like to read a good objective negative review before I actually read the book. This always helps me realize that the book isn't perfect and I shouldn't have unattainable ideals about it. But yeah, book hype will get me to read a review every time.

4. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the book!

If I really love a book I will read a ton of reviews for it just so I can gush in the comments about how amazing it was and how glad I am that the reviewer loved it too. Reading the reviews also reminds me of all the reasons I loved the book, and sometimes it will even open my eyes to new reasons to love the book even more! The most recent book to win my heart like this is The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Haven't read it yet? DO IT. NOW.

5. I didn't enjoy the book.

If there's a book I didn't really like oftentimes I will read other reviews of it so I can understand why people loved it. Like The Marbury Lens by Andrew Smith. I didn't care for that book but other people adored it so after I finished reading it I was sure to go around and look for people's reviews. I love to compare and contrast my views with other peoples views, especially when it comes to literature.

And last but certainly not least I read book reviews because:

6. I want to find out if I should read a book or not.

I'm one of those types of people who always likes to finish what they start. Because of that I never really give up on a book. That being said I don't like to read a book on a whim. If I'm on the fence about a book I will normally go search out some reviews by people who tend to have the same interests as me and that helps me decide on whether or not I should read the book. An example for this is The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith. A romance? Normally not my thing. But at the same time it looked and sounded intriguing. I've read a few reviews and I have now decided that I will definitely be reading this book! A few other books that I've decided to read because of reviews are Amy and Rogers Epic Detour by Morgan Matson and Babe in Boyland by Jody Gehrman. Notice how they're all contemporary romance types? Yeah, I definitely need some extra convincing in that department. :P

So those are my main reasons for why I will read a book review. Not so straight forward ehhh? There definitely isn't a simple cut and dry formula, at least not for me!

Now comes the fun part. You get to tell me why YOU read book reviews! Is it for some of the same reasons as me? Or reasons that are entirely different? I'm super curious to read all your answers!

Julia :)


  1. Totally agree with all these points!!! And don't worry, I think MOST of us judge books by their covers. It's always so weird when I see people review a book with a bizarre cover...it makes me wonder how they picked it up in the first place lol.

    I often times read reviews for books I didn't like just to see if there was something I missed as well!!

    Great discussion!

    La Toya (La Toya, Literally)

  2. I'll almost always read a review -- no matter what it's for -- if the review is really short. And bonus points if it's written in some sort of list form.

  3. OH those are exactly our reasons! We subscribe to too many blogs to read every review they post, but those are our key reasons. You seriously didn't leave a single thing out!

    1. Oh okay, just thought of 1: We would read a review if we had a personal connection to the book (like it was written by a friend or something).

  4. I try not to judge a book by its cover but when Where Things Come Back got a new cover, I became more interested in it.

    Hype is the reason I review most of the books I do. I also follow the policy of looking at positive reviews for books I didn't like and vice-versa !

  5. You hit every single reason I can think of for why I read reviews! I also read reviews if they are done in a format that appeals to me. I love lists! I review in lists :)

  6. I love this post! What a great topic. It's SO true... following so many book blogs, I find myself skimming over a great deal of book reviews. Some of them catch my eye, some of them don't.

    In addition to the reasons you cited above, I think part of it, for me, is how the book review text is formatted.

    If it's just a big WALL O' TEXT, I'm skipping right over it. If there's plenty of white space, and especially if there are bullet points, headers, or lists, I will be more likely to read.

    I'm saying this, and yet I have NEVER used bullet points in a review! Hmmmmmm.

  7. I'm with you on all of these points *except* hype. I avoid reading hyped up books. Like, I've seen reviews for Everneath on about 30+ blogs. I read the reviews from the first two. But, as soon as I saw zounds of other reviews, I just stopped and decided I'd have to wait a year before I snagged myself a copy.

    I'd say I'm most interested in reading reviews for books I've not heard of. I always love being turned on to new books, and every now and then I find a unknown gem amongst the books that are hyped up.
    I also love reading reviews about books that I've already read, especially if I had a strong feeling toward that book (whether I loved or hated it). It's always interesting to see another reader's opinion on the book, and sometimes it opens up some interesting dialogue!

  8. I agree with all of these. Bloggers that I like play a huge roll along with reviews on goodreads. Great post!


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