Do You Check Reviews Before or After Reading A Book?

Tuesday Talks was created by Janie and Janelle.

They say, “Curiosity killed the cat.”

What most people forget is that cat’s are said to have nine lives. Also that the rest of the saying goes, “but satisfaction brought it back”.

Now you might be wondering why the hell I’m talking about cats (other than that they are adorable liquid beings deserving of praise). The more astute of you (which if you are reading this, I assume you fall into this category), will realize that I’m talking more about curiosity than anything.

When it comes to reviews of any sort book or not it’s easy to let it influence you. While a great review might drive you to read a book, a terrible review couldn’t potentially do the opposite. I know this is certainly the case for me. A review can easily sway what my thoughts are on a book or any piece of art. So my rules are not really determined by whether I read a review before or after, but by my excitement level.

If I’m excited for something to come out, like Nevernight by Jay Kristoff or Captain America: Civil War, I tend to avoid reviews like the plague until after I finish a story. That is mainly because I know that I’m going to review said piece. I don’t want any outside influence tainting my thoughts before they can even settle into the most basic form. I like to have my own opinions and see how I pick up on various elements first. Then I solidify my opinion. Once I’ve got my own ideas, i start to explore other people’s reviews. From there my opinions are either hardened or re-evaluated. It’s a fluid process, but it doesn’t work unless I’ve got my own opinion slated.

Creating my own opinion isn’t impossible if I’ve read a review. However, it taints the way I walk into the piece. I’m already looking for certain elements to either wow me or disappointment. No matter how I look at it, my focus is different and thus the way I come to my final opinion is shaped. For this reason when I’ve read a review prior to consuming something I tend to sit on my opinion longer than if I go in fresh. This is largely because I need to figure out if I’m judging something based on my own framework or someone else’s.

All of that said there are times when getting a review prior to diving in can help dictate if it is something that is worth my time. Especially with books which can take hours upon hours spread over days or weeks before completing, that investment can be shaky. Many times I want to know if I want to invest that time particularly when I’m not already 100% sold on the book.

So if I am completely sold on something, I like to avoid reviews until after I’ve consumed it. However, if I’m really uncertain then the reviews are important for me to get to ahead of time.

What about you?

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10 thoughts on “Do You Check Reviews Before or After Reading A Book?

  1. I like checking the reviews, true, I mostly skim them when they’re on GR, but I like to know what other’s thought about my future read 🙂
    As for the after reading – sure! I love to see if my opinion has anything in common with my fellow bloggers and GR friends. Pure curiosity 😀

  2. Unless I trust the reviewer to not have spoilers I avoid no matter what. I love reading them afterwards to see what others thought and share my opinions.

    If I happen to read a (spoiler free) bad review on a book I’m super excited to read , I’ll still read it anyway and form my own opinion, but if it was a book I was unsure of then I could be decide to or not to read it.

    Great post!

  3. It all depends. If it’s a books I REAALLYYY want to read or one I’m REAALLYY not interested in, then it’s likely that I’ll skip the reviews on them at the moment I’m skipping reviews on Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes. Also, if I’ve read a book but haven’t reviewed it yet, I might skip reviews on it because I want to make sure my opinions are my own. Otherwise, I’ll read and listen to reviews. Most times, they’ll drum up my interest in a book. There are a few times when they’ve turned me off from a book though.

  4. If really want to read a book or see a movie anyway, even horrible reviews won’t stop me. It rather depends. With books, I tend to read reviews afterwards to see what everyone else thought. I’ll only read reviews before if I’m on the fence about it, or I can’t figure out what to expect even after reading the blurb – it happens. Lol! On movies, I mostly just look at ratings, but I read reviews on Netflix all the time, mostly because they are hilarious.

  5. If it’s an author or producer(movie/tv) that I trust then I don’t care for reviews but if I’m exploring something or someone new I like to read several blurbs from several different reviews to gain a concensus of its potential.

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