Do you remember the good old school days when the English teachers emphasized book reviews and some even made us write them? For some, it was a joyful and creativity filled activity. And, for some, it was torture as they struggled to summarize the entire book story line into a few lines. But Should I Read a Book Review or not?
Well, either way, book reviews have remained a prominent part of everyone’s life. And, ever since the introduction of this concept, every child has encountered the dilemma of questioning the mere existence of it.
A single glance at lengthy book reviews gives rise to a whole new set of questions. Why should one read a book review anyway? What is the need for a book review when you can read the book directly?
At The Meraki Magazine, we have analyzed the situation for a long time and compiled a detailed answer to the common-asked query: Should I Read a Book Review before Reading a Book? Let’s evaluate in detail.
Concept of a Book Review
Would you read a book with a boring cover? Perhaps, one that states ANALYSIS OF A DOOR in bold black on a faded plain yellow background. Or, would you choose one that displays a gleaming golden door engraved in the center of a vibrant black background?
After evaluating the covers of the most popular books worldwide, 75% of the readers will certainly opt for the second one due to the visually-pleasing aesthetics. And, this is where the book cover judgment phenomena enter.
In theory, it refers to the use of logical and critical thinking abilities of a human mind, along with sensory organs, to evaluate the worth of a particular book. However, the theory has evolved with time and adopted a new definition, which is;
‘When we refuse to use our cognitive skills and rely on our visual sensory organs to conclude a particular book.’
It is quite similar to how we judge people. For example, people think more highly of attractive and well-dressed individuals, regardless of reality.
Similarly, when looking at different books, we categorize them either as bad or good, depending on how they appear and feel to us. However, we neglect the fact that this categorization is biased as we are not doing cognitive work.
Rather than using our thinking capabilities to logically evaluate the reality and judge a book fairly, we rely on our visual perceptions as well as feelings that form the instant we see a book.
Unfortunately, a large population of book readers is cognitively lazy. They would biased judge a book instead of being logical. Perhaps, this is the fundamental reason why the book cover judgment theory became unreliable and adopted a new definition.
And, the book cover judgment theory becoming unreliable meant that people need another method to judge; one based on the book’s content. And, this particular method became what we call book reviews.
Book reviews refer to the reader’s written opinions and conclusions after reading a book. Now, you can find two types of book reviews, which includes:
- A detailed analysis of the plot and storyline.
- Remarks regarding the overall feel and experience the book provided.
The types of book reviews originate from the book reviewer, which is why numerous types can exist. The above-stated two are the most common ones. Well, now that you know about the fundamentals of a book review, let’s have a detailed insight through the pros and cons.
If we look into the positive side of book reviews, then here are some of the top benefits of reading a book review before buying the book:
- Saves Resources
- Eliminates any chances of time wastage
- Guarantees positive reading experience
Since reading a book review, at least gives you an idea about the theme and plot, chances are you will not be utterly disappointed in it. The worst-case scenario is that it won’t be as satisfying as you imagined it to be. And technically, that means you won’t be rating it any lower than 6/10.
Consequently, it will keep your hard-earned resources from going to waste. Similarly, it will also save a whole lot of time. Reading a book requires focus, attention, and precious time.
And unfortunately, we’re all quite short on that resource. So, if you purchase a book after going through its reviews, you’re highly likely to make an informed decision. Thus, a good trade for invested time.
Also, some of us happen to be too calculated to invest time in anything merely out of interest and curiosity. We don’t take a step further unless positive results are guaranteed. For such individuals, book reviews can be very beneficial.
On the contrary, reading a book review before buying the book can also negatively influence your reading experience. If you are reading one after reading the book, then that’s another thing. It even assists an individual in further understanding the context of the book and assessing it.
Coming back to reading a review before purchase, it negatively impacts by disturbing the actual gist of reading. It is an act of exploration and learning where one needs to pay enough attention to derive concepts and messages from, let’s say, even a coal-black rock lying under the sun for ages.
Also, at times, the reviews you read are not genuine, which means the author or publishing house sponsors these reviews. Other times, the reviewers may mislead the potential buyer of the book by stating one of their own opinions as a fact or part of the book. Or some times, their arguments and praises may be baseless or invalid: you never know. Who will you hold accountable once you purchase the book on their say, and it turns out to be the exact opposite? See now, it’s risky trusting someone else with something you should decide for yourself.
At one place, a reviewer rated Wolf of the Wallstreet poorly, claiming that there were no wolves in the movie!
And lastly, each one of us has a different lens – a different perspective. What if you see something in the book that the other failed to?
So, should you or should you not?
Well. As mentioned earlier, there are no concrete rules about whether you should or not. Neither of the options definitively promise the selection of a good book. It all narrows down to your area of interest. As long as you’re confident of the genre, you’d end up with a good piece, whether you blindly pick it or after immense research.
For those of you, who spend cautiously on books, I would recommend reading book reviews. That’s because book reviews will at least give you an insight of what’s to come.
I repeat it may not give you the most accurate and correct idea. But then again, when uncertainty surrounds, even a blurry vision helps. Doesn’t it?
However, if you’re passionate about reading (even within a specific genre), I would suggest you leap! There’s nothing more thrilling than guessing until the end if it was all worth it or not.
Besides, if you’re passionate and we’re on the same page, you’d know; reading can never be, in any way, worthless. Even a simple statement can teach you wonders, only if you look close enough – only if you ponder enough. So what do you think about our question Should I Read a Book Review .