Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Review Readers Anonymous

Welcome. Come sit in the circle. This is a safe place. No judgement here. It's time for some confessing. ;) Alright, alright, I'm not trying to scare you off. You don't have to nervously click away. I'm just rambling again. What about this time? Well, I'm glad you asked. Today I wanted to confess a little something about reading book reviews on other blogs.



Having a book blog is a way for all of us book lovers to share books we love. What ever the reason we started it, whatever the reason we keep going, whatever memes we participate in, whatever else we talk about, all of us book bloggers write reviews. We all read. Some a ridiculous amount and some as many as we can squeeze in, but read we do and when we're done, we plop ourselves down in front of the computer and begin to write up a review. Sometimes we rave, sometimes we rant. Sometimes we can't find the words and sometimes the words won't stop. But why? Why do we do this? Why do we pour a great deal of time and effort into these reviews? Well, I would guess we're actually assuming and hoping others will read our thoughts. Sure, there's the wonderfully humble souls out there who just want a place to jot down their thoughts on a book and really don't care if others read what they have to say. To those people I tip my hat. Well done for not being an attention whore. The door's right over there. Off you go. ;) I tease, I tease. I really am impressed with these people. But for me there's nothing quite so wonderful as sharing my thoughts on a book and knowing other people are reading those thoughts.

And that's where I finally get around to my real topic of the day. I don't put a whole lot of effort into writing my reviews. And, yes, I know it shows, but that's not the point. The point is, it still takes me a good 15-20 minutes (on a good day) to write a review. Just gathering my thoughts and condensing them into something understandable and hopefully entertaining is rather difficult. I imagine this is true for you too. Yet, we all do it anyway. Sit and write out these thoughtful and time consuming reviews and then...And here it FINALLY is...people come to our blog and skim our reviews. How dare they?! Where do they get off only sparing a cursory glance at our hard work?!

Um, what do you mean "how do I know they only skimmed my review?" Uh, no I don't skim reviews, I'm not talking from personal experience...Oh, fine, you're right! Happy? I sometime skim reviews!  *hangs head in shame*  Why do I do this? Well firstly there's the whole time thing. I may be a jobless loser with no life to speak of and rarely anything better to do but I do actually DO other things and don't always have the time to donate to countless reviews.

Which brings me to the different types of reviews. Please don't be angry with me. As I said, this is a safe place, right? Right?!


The college essay review
Oh, for the love of all that is purple, people! Unless you're actually writing up a book report that must have a required amount of words, please keep the reviews to a readable size. Whether you're raving or ranting does it really need to be THAT long?!  Really?!

The I just discovered the thesaurus review
Yes, adjectives and adverbs are glorious. I use them all the time. But if a book is good just tell me the book is good. You don't need use ten different words that mean "good" so that I get the point. I got it!

The first graders "what I did for my summer vacation" review
These ones, at least, are blessedly short. Unfortunately they sound exactly like a child wrote it. For example, (this book was so good. I really liked it. It was so exciting. I can't wait for the next one. The mystery was great. The characters were likable. I loved so and so the best. They made me laugh a lot.) See what I mean? I can only take so much of that before my eyes glaze over and I click away.

Now before you crush your mouse in outrage at my audacity, I'll quickly confess I'm guilty of every single one of these types of reviews. I've written ones that are painfully too long. I'm a horrible adverb junkie and I sometimes just can't form a sentence longer than six or seven words. I'm not condemning anyone for their review writing skills. I'm just confessing that, yes, sometimes I just can't take it and I skim reviews. Hey, at least I'm admitting it right?

Sometimes it has nothing to do with the reviewer's writing so much as what they're reviewing.

There are reviews of books we've never heard of. Sometimes this is a great thing. We're introduced to a new book. The Synopsis has intrigued us, the cover dazzled us, the reviewer has raved. Oh, how glorious are these moments. But for all the books that sound good, are the ones that don't. And then we have to read a review about a book we just don't care to know anything about. Ugh, the torture! The skimming that takes place. The guilty chin duck as we just click away from the site; not even courteously leaving a comment.


Then there are the books we hated. Geeze! It was bad enough reading the dang thing all 200-300 + pages of it and then we have to read what others think of it too?!  Hey, if they agree with us that the book was complete and utter crap it can be fun, but if they loved it...What can we do but sit and wonder what on earth is wrong with us?

The book we're eagerly awaiting. To be honest these are the ones I struggle with. Sometimes I'm not that bothered with spoilers or gushing or ranting. If I want to read the book I'm going to read it and your opinion, trusted as it is, will hardly dissuade me, but sometimes I don't want to read your review! I'm sorry but I don't want to hear a thing, good or bad, about the book. I don't want anything "ruining" it for me. You know?

And speaking of going on too long...

Please tell me I'm not alone. Tell me you skim once in awhile too. And if so, why? What types of reviews make you want to gouge your eyes out? Which ones do you just avoid? Come on, go ahead. This is a safe place. We're all friends here.  

40 comments:

  1. HAHAAAA Jenny this is a *fantastic* post!!! The reviews I tend to skim are the ones for the HUGE releases. I like to read them, after I've read the book, to see what other people thought of them, but by this point I've read SO many of the same review that I can't read it alllllll the way through...again...when really a lot of the time we're all saying the same thing. Also, the really gushy "OMMGGGG BEST BOOK EVER IN THE WORLD EVER AHHHTRHEJSHTKSURI3WFNFKI!!!" ...I tend to skim those a bit, too. Too much enthusiasm for me.

    Cait x

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    1. Yes, the overly gushy ones are too out there as well. I forgot about them. I always have a hard time believing they're that good.

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  2. OK I squashed my mouse! I read your blog to see about the phone calls I received yesterday as you were writing your blog.

    (For other commenters: I was Jenny's onliest English teacher since I home schooled her and MY lack of English skills are blatantly obvious in places in her blogs, even though she calls me for my opinions on some grammatical questions.)

    Hence my squashed mouse. PLEASE, Jenny. Will you please come replace my mouse? The cat wouldn't even touch it.

    I loved your blog!!!;) You are way more creative than I will ever be.

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    1. Yeah, yeah. I'll try to go fix stuff now.

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  3. I skim reviews all the time. Usually, it's because I'm not interested in the book, I haven't read it yet and I don't want it ruined, or I have nothing to say about it. It's hard because I want people to read my reviews, yet I don't read very many reviews myself. And I know I'm guilty of the college essay reviews, especially when I'm gushing. Sometimes I feel bad for not commenting on reviews. But, I can't comment on every post I read or follow. That would take years! There has to be a good balance, though. I just don't know what it is.

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    1. Phew! Glad I'm not the only one that skims. Your book reviews aren't college essay at all! Seriously. The ones I'm talking about are much longer and so boring! Yours are great!

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  4. AWESOME! Love this. And yes, I skim reviews all the time. Even short ones. Even ones I'm interested in. I just do. I guess I feel better having confessed that. Sometimes I don't even click on reviews to skim over it in my RSS. AHAHAHA! Don't feel alone, for sure.

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    1. Yay! See? Doesn't it feel better to just admit to skimming? ;) I know it did for me.

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  5. I tend to skim almost every review. There are only a few things that get me to slow down. A rave, a rant, a review by a trusted friend and book source, a review of a book I really loved or hated, or a really well-written review. Otherwise, I tend to skim. Sorry everyone! But I assume you do the same to me. :)

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    1. Aw confessing. Feels good doesn't it? ;) No, I'm just glad I'm not alone.

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  6. I think I'm the first grader one, yes? :)

    I skim reviews all the time... I just want to know this... DID YOU LIKE IT? That's why I started the "bottom line" thing in my reviews, for those readers that just want to know that... yes, I LOVED it, or liked it a lot, or only sort of liked it etc. I can tell right off if a review is giving me TMI and I will then for sure skim it... because I don't want to know the whole plot please. And I always ALWAYS skip the college essay reviews. Sheesh.

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    1. Yeah, when a review starts getting too detailed I freak out. Please, people, don't ruin it for me!

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  7. You're not alone! We all have to skim... I mean, if we have a life outside the internet anyway. Which I do. And the last couple weeks of my life have been no exception. I only have so much time to dedicate to read/comment on blogs in general, so some things don't get the attention I'd like to give them. But I try. And I know people have to skim my reviews, there are some days I go off on the ones I love too much. I have to skim it myself when I am previewing it before publishing! :P So, I understand.

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    1. Exactly! If we have any, ANY, sort of life it's so hard to give reviews the time they deserve.

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  8. I think we all skim reviews now and then...or everyday. Also there are certain reviews or writers that are not for everyone. Sometimes while I like how one person reviewed a book another person may have the same style and it just doesn't work for me. I also like to put emotion into my reviews. I know a technical review shouldn't involved the work I but I want my readers to know what I thought, what I liked, etc.

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    1. Yes, yes, YES! Reviews should have emotions. Not necessarily a ton of emotion but I need more than a cold, lifeless review!

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  9. I don't usually skim reviews, honestly. I don't read a whole of them, but when I do, I read the whole thing (unless the writing is atrocious, then I'll leave - and it surprises me how often than happens on book blogs.) But the thing is, I don't read reviews of books unless I've read the book all ready. I have been burned by spoilers way too many times, or burned by people raving about books that are garbage. So from now on I make my own decision about reading book.

    There are of course exceptions for certain reviewers who I absolutely trust - both their opinion, and their ability to not spoil anything.

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    1. Aw, you're a much better person than I am. I really do try to read every review but I wear myself out and start skimming far too often. :( It doesn't help when they're badly written or too spoilery, etc.

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  10. Well, I don't read a whole LOT of them. Clearly I can't type.

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  11. K, So I don't have a book blog. and the only real book blog I read is yours....I only skim the ones that don't catch my attention with wit and humour.....So I pretty much read everyone. ;)

    WHEW!!!! That felt good to get that off my chest. I'm kidding. I do often wonder what kind of a review I'd get from you if I were to ever actually finish a book. I probably wouldn't skim that one either =)

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    1. Well, we'll never know unless you write it. ;)

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  12. I don't book blog so take my opinion with....well I wouldn't listen to my opinion but I think maybe people who book blog love to read and aspire to someday write a book but are too lazy or busy so they write reviews on other peoples books to make them feel like they have potential. Oh, and to see what books to read and see what others thought of the books they read...but really they just like to read and write. Even if they never plan to actually write a book deep down they kind of wish they could. Does any of that make sense.

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  13. I have a list in google reader of bloggers I always read (and yes, you're on it), because they are consistently funny and entertaining, but also because they have similar tastes as me. Everyone else has to be interesting enough or else I skip. I am totally guilty of writing too long, but I do structured reviews now so that people can skim easily and leave comments even when I went on way longer than necessary.

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    1. Your reviews aren't too long! To be honest, none of the people who I religiously follow have these types of reviews. If they did I wouldn't follow them. ;)

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  14. I am similar to Steph. I have a short list of "must read" blogs (just like Steph yours is on my list) and I rarely skim those, then I have a group for ones that I like "pretty good" and "the rest". A lot of times I will skim those, especially if they are long, and I will skip a post completely if I know I have no interest in the book.

    The reviews I tend to skip the most are the book report type. If I wanted emotionless reviews I would check out the Times or wherever else you find those kind of reviews. If a blogger doesn't show emotion in their review it doesn't keep my attention (though there is no reason to overdue it with gushiness either.)

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    1. Exactly. Those emotionless ones come off as pretentious and are horribly boring. No thanks! PS. I LOVE your review style. I've told you that before, I think. I'm so tempted to steal it. ;)

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    2. Sometimes I want to steal it, too. And... I'm totally about to gush about Pushing the Limits. Whoa!

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    3. Thanks guys! I did it out of self preservation. I don't really like writing, but I LOVE making lists (it's kind of a hobby lol). You don't have to steal my lists - I love to share :)

      Gushing about Pushing the Limits is totally and completely acceptable as the book was Amazing!

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    4. Hmmm, maybe that's why I like them so much. I'm obsessed with lists too. Must get my hands on Pushing The Limits.

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  15. Is it bad to say that I originally started skimming this post, until I realized it was about skimming & felt guilty. :) (I actually did go back and read the whole thing, though. honest)

    I skim most of the time, but I expect that people will skim my posts, too. When I first started blogging I used to bold a few sentences of my reviews to make skimming easier. *facepalm* Then I tried to make them shorter. I think I need to make them even shorter, though. I feel like I'm kind of a combination of too long and like a little kid wrote it! :)

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    1. LOL! You're totally welcome to skim my blog. Skim away. This post was way too long. Your reviews are fine! I wouldn't read your blog if your reviews drove me crazy.

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  16. I am guilty of occasionally skimming reviews, though usually only on books I didn't like or books that are a sequel to a series I haven't started yet/got that far into. I'm also guilty of writing long reviews - had this problem my whole life :P. I've never been able to be concise - was the same way in school! So you are definitely not alone! And I know how you feel :P.

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    1. I love your long reviews, though, because it's like listening to you talk. They're not boring...at all!

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  17. I do. I skim. Not all the time, but especially when I'm feeling pressed for time. And, my reviews are usually way the heck too long!!! GUILTY!

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    1. Yeah, being pressed for time is my biggest problem.

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  18. Thank you for making me laugh outloud! Honestly, I also skim, but only when I'm short on time. :) The rest of the time I am pretty into the reviews, nice food for my brain. Thanks for making me laugh! Seriously, I was in need of a good one tonight.

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    1. Yay! I'm glad you had a good laugh. I was all worried I was going to come off too serious and offend someone. I hope I didn't.

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  19. I divided the list in google reader in two parts: "Read and Comment" and "Other". I mostly skim posts in "Other" unless the book sounds like something I would like to read. I would love to read everything, but I don't have the time. Specially if I didn't read any posts for two/three days and the number of unread posts is over 100.

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    1. Google Reader and I do NOT get along. I can't ever figure out how to organize it.

      But, yeah, if I don't get a chance to read blogs for a few days the number of posts is way too overwhelming.

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