Books wind up on my TBR many different ways. Maybe I like the cover, maybe I like the cover, maybe I keep hearing about it, maybe a friend recommended it or maybe I keep seeing reviews for it all over the place. I pick up some books because they’re popular and others just because they’re my favorite genre.
Before reading a book sometimes I will read a lot of reviews for it, sometimes I will read the synopsis and other times I will read it just because it has a pretty cover. Sometimes I go in with super high expectations and other times I go in with really low expectations.
There are many different ways to go into a new book. I found myself wondering… does knowing about the book before hand wind up effecting my opinion of it? What gives me high or low expectations?
Different Ways to Start a New Book
Read the synopsis and reviews ahead of time. – I know a lot about this book before even opening it
I read A Court of Thorns and Roses right after A Court of Frost and Starlight came out. My whole Goodreads feed was full of reviews for the series, the book seemed to be everywhere and I needed to see what all the hype was about. I read so many reviews for the book and the series ahead of time, both positive and negative. I wound up going in with really high expectations for it. I love faeries and am a huge fantasy buff and this book looked like it was right up my alley. I was extremely disappointed in the book. But I also felt like every negative thing that everyone had said about it was suddenly glaring and in my face.
It got me thinking, would I have enjoyed it more if I hadn’t read all of those reviews? Did I let other opinions influence what I thought about this book that I may have otherwise loved? I think that I did.
So after that I started paying less attention to rant reviews on Goodreads. For a while I stopped reading reviews completely, convinced that they would sway my opinion one way or another. I didn’t automatically read Goodreads reviews before giving a book a chance like I used to.
It actually led to this experiment, which has been kind of fun for me.
Read the synopsis ahead of time. – I know what this book is supposed to be about and I think I will enjoy it.
I do this a lot, especially when requesting review copies. I did this with Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea and Nocturna, both are books that I would not have picked up based on reputation, recommendations or the cover, but the synopsis of these titles caught my interest. Sometimes the blurb does give away more of the book than I would like, but before blogging this was my trusted way of picking out a book. I absolutely hated the cover of Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea and Nocturna, but the synopsis was compelling enough to make me want to read it.
Read based on reputation. -I have heard that it is supposed to be good, but I haven’t read the synopsis or any reviews.
The Poppy War was a book that I picked up because I knew a few bloggers who have similar interests to me loved this book. I didn’t read the synopsis until after I read the book and I was so glad that I didn’t, because the blurb gave away the entire plot. The book unfolded naturally without me having any idea what was going to happen and I really wound up loving it. I love to go into epic fantasy books this way because most of the time the reputation is accurate. I also did this with The Final Empire and Strange the Dreamer.
Read because someone recommended it. -Someone personally recommended this book, but I haven’t read the synopsis or any reviews
Daughter of Smoke and Bone was a book that I picked up because someone personally recommended it to me. I knew nothing about it and I absolutely LOVED it. If a blogger takes the time to personally recommend a book for me, not just a review that says you should totally read this, I will read it without knowing anything else about it and let it unfold naturally. I trust the recommendations of my friends and this is probably my absolute favorite way to go into a book.
Going in blind. – All I know about the book is the cover and the genre. I have no idea what it’s about, but it looks appealing to me.
There are very few books that I pick up just because it looks pretty without knowing anything about it. The Diabolic was a book that I went into completely blind and I really enjoyed the book. I knew absolutely NOTHING about this book except that I thought the cover was cool. I hadn’t heard about it from friends of mine or even knew what genre it was. I had absolutely no expectations for this book and that was a unique experience in itself. It’s a lot of fun to go in completely blind like this, and honestly, I would like to do it more often. This is basically judging a book completely based on it’s cover.
What do I prefer?
After trying all of these methods I think my preference is to read based on reputation, but not to read the blurb.
Have I changed anything after doing this?
I have started to stay away from rant reviews, but I haven’t stopped reading reviews completely. Sometimes a great review will turn my attention to a book I would have never discovered and as a book blogger I love to hear others opinions.
Why don’t I stop reading the blurb?
As much as I do enjoy going in semi blind, I am not gong to give up reading blurbs, especially for review copies, but I do love allowing a story to unfold completely on it’s on merits. There are some books that look amazing, but I don’t want to commit to reviewing a book without knowing a bit more about it.
What do I recommend?
Starting a book based only on its cover is something I recommend that everyone tries at least once, because it is a truly unique experience. I love having low expectations and then being proved wrong, but sometimes I won’t give a book a chance because of a bad review. Going in blind is hard in the book world, but everyone should try it once.
What do you think? How do you like to start a new book? Have you ever read a book completely blind? Have you found yourself influenced by negative reviews in the past? When a book is getting a lot of buzz do you pick it up to see why? Tell me what you think in the comments and we can discuss your favorite way to start a new book!