Blogger Bites: The Reviewer’s Dilemma

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Let’s face the facts, people. A blogger here and there is predisposed to brooding over the fruits of one’s labor (or lack thereof) in terms of writing a review. I myself have given the issue some thought, and have asked myself: Is it worth writing a review? Does a blogger even need to?

In my opinion, the answer is yes and no. And I mean that separately. Let’s try to break it down.

 

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Sometimes the effort we exert is not commensurate to the attention we receive. I myself don’t mind in the least that my reviews seem to receive the least thought and scrutiny, though I give my reviews much retrospect and no lack of revisions—I examine the plot, the originality, the pacing, the characters, the romance, and a tidy sum of other elements that may have bothered me to no end, or given me cause to put the book on a temporary pedestal and sing it seemingly endless praise. I myself am able to appreciate reviews better when they are detailed, comprehensive, blow-by-blow accounts of the reader’s experience, which break down the content whilst avoiding potential spoilers. This is, as opposed to those that simply tell me to

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‘READ IT NOW I SWEAR’

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or that ‘OMG THIS BOOK. THE FEELS! *FANGIRLING*’

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or ‘STAY AWAY. NOW EXCUSE ME AS I BURN THIS BOOK TO A GOOD CRISP’

… or something. I mean, it’s good that remarks like these expressly tell me how one feels for a particular title, but it isn’t convincing enough without solid proof, a finicky explanation of the pros and cons, substantiated by examples (albeit amorphous or superficial, so as to avoid botching the entire thing with an incompetent spoiler). Because of the fact, however, that the books we read aren’t usually known to many unless you’re too mainstream for your own good, only interest few, and are consequently read by little, the circumstances blaze a trail towards the million dollar question of whether or not our efforts are in vain.

Earlier reviews hold less ground for discussions. Oh, admit it! When you’re a blogger, you are simply bacchanal over recently released titles, especially ones instantaneously at your hands the moment they hit the precious shelves. I myself get ten times more excited to read such books, especially series finales I’ve been unwillingly patiently waiting for. However, the problem with these new books is that only a select few have done reading it. If most people who haven’t read a certain book (or don’t plan to), skip through your reviews when they pop up on feed-readers, for fear of spoilers or any number of other reasons, your post won’t get the attention you may have seen in the cards, which of course is somewhat pitiful and heartbreaking. Of course, we must take into account readers and bloggers alike who read reviews for what they’re worth—that is, for a general overview of a relevant book, one that could help them decide to commit oneself to a book or otherwise, ultimately drop it. The question remains, however.

People tend to skim through more detailed reviews. Color me guilty. If it isn’t my own review, and it’s exorbitantly verbose, I won’t have the time nor the patience to read them, especially in size 10 font and in 10 different paragraphs. While I love a meticulous review, I tend to skim through them once I’ve gotten the general idea. When I try to think about it, I’m not sure if people out there even read my own reviews in full, which are of course, are the simple, yet variegated by-products of my habitual prattle. I know that I have a lot of readers who take the time to read them as they are, but then again, one can never ensure the fact that they come in majority.

 

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So what’s the point? The point is that there is one. Yes, you don’t have to write reviews to be a book blog, and yes you retain your essence even without a glorious archive. I myself review only 1-2 books a week, and usually that leaves me quite satisfied. I don’t believe that reviews have to be the posts that generate the most traffic or the best discussions, at least for them to be worthwhile—they help other readers, and are avenues for one’s own assessment and speculation, preeminently rewarding for the intransigent and opinionated. Whether or not you’re directly aware of it, people do read them, and the mere fact that there is an audience and an opportunity for unrecompensed expression tells me that perhaps there’s no dilemma after all.

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Let’s just agree to agree, shall we? 

But what do you think? Do you think there’s a reviewer dilemma? Do you think reviews are worthwhile? Tell me in the comments below!

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27 thoughts on “Blogger Bites: The Reviewer’s Dilemma

  1. I think you summed it up pretty well 🙂 I often come across book blogs that have reviews between 3 to 7 sentences in which they just say if they liked it or not and that is really not a desirable review because it is not technically even a review. It’s just the person’s opinion and nothing more to add to it. I really appreciate reviews, the rare jewels, that tell me what I can expect from the book in a bit more detail so that I can be more sure about spending my money on it. And I don’t really mind spoilers hehe. I’m gonna find out everything sooner or later so I don’t see spoilers as that big of a deal. I just want to really be able to know if the book is worth checking out because I get a yearly allowance and it is in my best interest to spend it wisely.

    • Thank you 🙂 And yeah, I think if it doesn’t include the deets, you can’t really call it a review– thankfully enough, I don’t come across many bloggers that are like that! And I envy you for not minding spoilers, because I really don’t like them myself D: I mean, if I were to find out about something important, I’d rather find about it on my own. I am just such a huge fan of the element of surprise you know? So yeah! And you should definitely spend your allowance wisely. I’m glad that you are 😉 Thanks again for stopping by~

  2. You’re right, reviews are a quite a personal thing and as such, can be hit or miss depending. It’s difficult when you come across reviews that, as you so wonderfully put it, are exorbitantly verbose or too short. I write reviews in a style I would enjoy reading; about 3 paragraphs, touching on the story and characters, and what I thought.

    • HAHA yes, I think that’s it! We have to be able to write reviews in the length and style that we’d like to read them on someone else’s page 🙂 Too short or too lengthy doesn’t really appeal to me, but I’m still all for being thorough about it 😀

  3. I definitely do a look over long posts, or reviews that are to goody goody and in essay form. I write reviews because… I dont even know anymore, but sometimes it feels like a job rather than a hobby.

    • HAHA I’m guilty of that too, especially when they’re really long. And aww reviewing shouldn’t feel like a job! I hope you get over that, because there is much fun in reviewing a good book 🙂 I hope you get that experience back 😀

  4. I think book reviews are awesome but I agree with what you said. If a review is too long I may only skim the review and not really read through all of it. I think reviews are important for book blogs because they give readers a chance to learn more about books they might be interested in but I don’t expect bloggers to review a lot of books per week. 1-2 is just fine in my opinion! Great post (and I can’t believe I actually read all of it, I’m a skimmer!) Awesome gifs by the way 🙂

    • HAHA hey I’m glad to hear that you read all of this post ❤ And thanks, I love the gifs from tumblr 😄 I definitely like reading book reviews, but I myself only read them if they're interesting or if they're books I've read. Otherwise I skip them altogether D: But yeah, reviews are helpful to a lot of other people, so that's definitely one reason to like them! Let's not forget how we get to express ourselves though– that to me is the best part 😉

  5. To be honest, I write my reviews for me. Of course, I want people to read them and like them (because who doesn’t, really?). But I write them because I like to. After I finish a book I sit down at my laptop, and write whatever feelings come to mind about the book. I don’t separate it into sections, like some people do; I just write a flowing essay of my thoughts and feelings immediately after I finished the book.
    To be honest, when I see reviews that are over about 1,000, I will skim them. I just don’t have time to read those huge reviews, even if I do want to. But I have to allocate my time. If I have a few hours to read posts from my blogs that I follow, I can’t thoroughly read every 1,000 word review that comes up, you know?
    I suppose my favourite types of reviews are similar to the ones I write. Just a kind of essay that touches on certain aspects of the novel that the reviewer liked or disliked. Not to say I don’t like other reviews, such as those with headings etc. because I give props to the writer for being able to process their thoughts on a novel really coherently, and produce a structured review.
    But I have read some reviews that have absolutely no review actually in them, and I kind of think: what’s the point in writing that? But each to their own, I guess.
    I MISSED YOU SO MUCH, AND YOUR FANCY WORDS, AND EVERYTHING ❤

    • Aww I think your mindset on writing is one to embrace! 🙂 I definitely think that one should also write reviews for themselves as much as for others, when they want to and the way they want to, because reviews are things that we’d want to look forward to and not dread. I’m quite glad that I’m still enjoying them, and that you are too– I definitely like reviews in essays more than I do them in bullet points, but as long as there is a smooth flow of ideas, I am potentially engrossed 😀 I love reading your reviews you know! Also ones with funny gifs– I don’t put them on my own, because I like to talk serious, but on other blogs it makes it all the more entertaining, and the book itself more interesting. But yeah, each to his own!

      I MISSED YOU TOO! SO SO SO SO SO MUCH(to the hundredth power). And everyone else! I cannot stay away from the blogosphere for too long it seems 😄 I missed having an excuse to type fancy words down as well. HAHA!

      • Yay for embracing! Haha 😀
        Exactly! As much as I want people to enjoy and read my blog, the primary point of it was for me to enjoy it. And I do. I love writing reviews, and other posts. And it makes me happy that people read them and enjoy them, as well!
        Me, too! 😀 I hope that neither of us ever tire of writing reviews, and that they remain fun-filled jobs!
        Hmm, I have never seen a review in bullet points, but I imagine that essays would still remain my favourite.
        YOU DO? Thank you ^.^ Your reviews are so detailed and through, and awesome.
        I like reviews with gifs, as well, but I would never use them. I think it would detract from what I was trying to say. But I use them in Books For Though, and that’s enough for me 😀

        ME, TOO. THE THOUSANDTH POWER. TO THE NTH DEGREE. 😦 ❤ I know, right! it feels weird without your blog, haha.
        Your fancy words are amazing. Where do you even find them?! Haha.

      • Of course! I think it will be decades and decades before I grow tired of writing reviews– I’ve always been THIS opinionated after all 😄 If only we could get jobs as professional reviewers…. :/ The bullet point reviews are a bit weird, but I love how some of them manage to give me a general overview of the pros and cons. They’re pretty straight to the point, yet effective! 🙂 Essays still rule though 😀 Yeah it feels weird without yours too 😦 MORE HUGS! >:D< HAHAHA I don't know, but sometimes when I write, all these words I encounter from various books tend to go off the top of my head and manifest themselves onto my posts. I also used to read the thesaurus for fun way back when, so… DOES THAT MAKE ME WEIRD?! It helped me loads though 😄

      • Of course! I think it will be decades and decades before I grow tired of writing reviews– I’ve always been THIS opinionated after all 😄 If only we could get jobs as professional reviewers…. :/ The bullet point reviews are a bit weird, but I love how some of them manage to give me a general overview of the pros and cons. They’re pretty straight to the point, yet effective! 🙂 Essays still rule though 😀 Yeah it feels weird without yours too 😦 MORE HUGS! >:D< HAHAHA I don't know, but sometimes when I write, all these words I encounter from various books tend to go off the top of my head and manifest themselves onto my posts. I also used to read the thesaurus for fun way back when, so… DOES THAT MAKE ME WEIRD?! It helps me loads though 😄

      • Woohoo for decades of review writing fun 😀
        UGH, seriously. It would be so amazing if we could get paid for this. Dream job right there!
        True, true. I shall have to try and find one!
        HUGS ALL ‘ROUND ❤
        That's so epic. I usually only think of fancy words when I am writing about fancy things, haha. Like lab reports -.-
        No, that's so cute! I love the thesaurus. 😀

  6. I actually like reviews with all caps and over-melodramatic feels (probably because I write that way myself), but I also need some serious details! If I don’t have a reason for a negative review, it frustrates me, because maybe I could have put aside that negative and enjoyed a truly good book??

    And I would much rather have to skim to get the good bits of a review rather than having three sentences. I’ve read blogs where the majority of their post is all in the synopsis, and then they give one or two sentences, mainly saying, “I liked this book,” or “I hated this book.” It bothers me to no end!

    • Oh, reviews like those are just pure entertainment! 😄 But I write mine more seriously. HAHA! Now that you’ve mentioned it though, I’d much rather skim through the good parts of a book than have to read through 7-10 sentences, and then realize that it’s the entire thing. I don’t really like it either when people keep referring to the synopsis, because it’s nothing we don’t already know, and nothing that isn’t already written on the covers. There just HAS to be a detailed account of a reading experience for me to truly appreciate it 🙂

  7. For me, the more vague the review is, the better. To be honest, I DO skip reviews or skim through reviews that are soooo looooong. I got no time for that! I like reviews that are to the point but short. I really don’t want to read the reviewer’s explanation of he/she buying the book, reading other reviews, etc. I’m just like ‘just get to the point please!’. I also do not read ARC reviews because I am very afraid of spoilers.

    • HAHA I definitely like them vague, because I HATE getting spoiled, but I don’t really like mine too short either. I’d much rather read something lengthy, but not TOO lengthy, because it gives me both a good idea of the book, and enough time to read the review itself in full 🙂 I used to read ARCs and their reviews, but now that I’ve given up on ARCs, I think I’m giving up on ARC reviews as well D: Idk, ‘uncorrected proof’ just doesn’t seem 100% reliable, no matter how little they actually have to edit afterwards. So yeah! Thanks for the visit 😀

  8. I’ll admit that I skip a lot of reviews because I’m either afraid of spoilers or how long it is. I always feel hypocritical for this because when I write my own reviews, I have a tendency to go on and on and on…
    I try to prove my point though. Especially when it’s something I feel like it’s a book no one has read. And I totally stay away from spoilers, although I do mention a few basic details that ruin nothing by me telling you.
    Vague, but detailed enough to convince people to read it (or not read). That’s my goal.
    Check out my blog?
    http://writer-person.blogspot.com

    • HAHAHA yeah this applies to me too! 😀 I like reviews better when they’re straight to the point, yet give detailed opinions, but I myself tend to just blabber on and on about a certain book and post the review as it is. And yep, we pretty much share the same goals here! NICE! And sure I’ll check it out 😉 Thank you for stopping by!

  9. I really like the gifs and feels filled reviews haha. They’re just fun and easy to read.
    I usually will read through long reviews as well, but I find that if I’m really tired or something then I tend to skim them because my eyes get tired too 😛

    Reviews are definitely worthwhile! Even if I don’t get any views, it’s still fun just to write the review and get your feelings out in words 🙂

    • Me too! I mean, I don’t do my reviews like that (because gifs are for Blogger Bites only! XD), but when I do see them on other blogs, it just makes me happy. HAHA! And yeah, I think reviews are worthwhile. Even with the little views, I still love how I get to express myself and help others with it. That definitely makes it count 😉

  10. I have to admit I don’t pay much attention to the attention my reviews get. Probably because they usually get none. And they’re not the most reliable thing since I like to exaggerate a bit and throw some fangirling although I do like to try to write something deeper. Sometimes it just comes out to be a little nonsensical. And I don’t pay much attention to my reviews probably because I don’t pay it to other people’s reviews. I only ever read reviews of the books that I have read myself. If I haven’t read a book, other people’s opinions tend to influence mine and make me a bit bias. Usually I just look at the rating :p

    But then again if my reviews get some pageviews or comments I am about 3x happier with it then on my other posts because of my attitude towards reviews. But yes, I think reviews are worthwhile. Where would the blogging community be without some reviews and how would Goodreads even function? So yay to reviews.

    PS. I think I jumped out of my train of thoughts (my internal Tris trying to get out) and I’m not sure if I jumped back in but I hope you will understand something out of it.

    • HAHA yeah I understand what you’re saying! And I honestly don’t mind reviews that ramble and fangirl– they’re very entertaining 😀 And I’m much like in terms of what I read as well, because I rarely read reviews of books I haven’t read. I’m afraid of getting influenced!! But I do think that despite the fact that reviews receive minimal attention, they’re still worth it, because they help authors and readers alike 😀

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