Talk20-Something LibraryThingers

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Feb 20, 2008, 1:49pm

This might be under discussion in other groups, but I was just curious how many of you write reviews on LT for the books you read. I try to write a review for every book, and it's something I've really come to enjoy doing.

Also, do you read other people's reviews? And if you do, do you give thumbs-up for the reviews that help you? I have to confess, I only give thumbs-ups to reviews that contain no typos, even if it's a good review otherwise. I also flag reviews that aren't reviews (i.e. "TBR" or something).

So what's your review policy? :-)

Feb 20, 2008, 3:05pm

I try to review as much as I can as time allows. I sometimes look at other reviews. But I try not to worry about spelling or grammar. That's too picky for a social site on the internet. However, I also despise the "reviews" that are no better than tags. Or ones that go something like, "Another great book from (insert author)."

Feb 20, 2008, 3:07pm

I like to write reviews, but I've fallen behind a bit lately. I definitely read other people's reviews, especially for my TBR books, which is why I hate unmarked spoilers in reviews. I flag and thumbs up, too, although far more of the latter than the former.

Feb 20, 2008, 3:31pm

Madcow wrote: But I try not to worry about spelling or grammar. That's too picky for a social site on the internet.

True, but I happen to be a copy editor and rather particular about that sort of thing. My reasoning is, if you're going to write a review, at least try to look like someone who is competent to do so.

Watch, this post will be full of typos :-P

Edited: Feb 20, 2008, 5:03pm

I at least try to write reviews for fiction as I read it, but I frequently let it slide. At one point, I thought I'd try and go back to review all the fiction I've read previous to joining LT, but I think I've long since given up on that idea.

I'm more hesitant to write reviews about philosophy books, especially regarding the specific content/arguments made in them. I worry that doing so could come back to bite me in the ass in my career. The exception is textbooks, because I can say there if & why a text is helpful for teaching without commenting on the philosophy involved.

I definitely read reviews when considering a new book or whether or not something interests me. Typically, a review is more likely to turn me off from a book I'm interested in than to turn me on to a book I wasn't previously, but that's not always the case. I "thumbs up" good reviews that actually help me, I flag reviews that aren't reviews and reviews that are copyright violations. And while they're not thumb- or flag-worthy, I detest it when people include spoilers in their reviews!!! (Sometimes I'll leave a polite note on their profile asking them to edit the review to at least warn other users that a spoiler is included).

Hmmm... Anything else I do that's of interest? Umm... I also make a mean cumin-dusted chicken breast ;)

Feb 20, 2008, 5:14pm

Interesting topic.

I typically don't write reviews, but lately it's something I have reconsidered and have since made an effort to write more. Right now I have seven reviews on LT that more than likely have spelling or other grammatical errors! :)

I do read reviews for books I'm thinking about purchasing, or books I've just purchased. I also like to give people thumbs up on their reviews. I don't think I've ever flagged a review, as far as I can remember. Although it REALLY irritates me when I read a review that is one or two lines. I agree with #2 that saying, "another great one by author X" is worthless to me. IMO, if you are going to write a review, it should at least be a paragraph long. Why bother to write two sentences that probably won't be helpful to anyone reading them.

Many others will disagree with me on this, but it also irritates me to see a review that is simply a link to a review on their blog. I refuse to click on them! If you want me to check out your blog, post the URL on your profile page. Don't force me to go just to read your review. I would much prefer they cut and paste their review here. If anything, they could cut and paste and then say something like, "Review copied from my blog www....".

Feb 21, 2008, 10:38am

LOL blissful, I never click on links either. If they can't be bothered to copy and paste, I can't be bothered to click :-P

Cumin-dusted chicken? Yum!

Edited: Feb 21, 2008, 3:13pm

> 6 I refuse to click on those links, as well! There's a difference between a review and shameless blog-plugging, in my somewhat-humble opinion. Links actually bother me even more than one-liner reviews as those at least have SOME small degree of content, though plagiarized ones still reign supreme as the worst offense against reviewing.

Anyway, I only have two up so far but plan to write more as time goes by. I only just started writing them (never having reviewed a book before) and I wanted to make sure I had the time to sit and write a half-decent one before I posted it. No point in putting up a review not worth reading, I figured. To me a review should be helpful to other people, not some two-sentence summary opinion for your own record; that is what personal notes are for.

Do you guys write summaries of the plot in your reviews? I prefer to include a spoiler-free blurb about the book at the beginning so people who clicked without prior knowledge about the book can have a bit of info at their finger-tips apart from my opinions.

Feb 22, 2008, 12:21pm

I write summaries of the plots, but try to mention that there are spoilers if I give away anything crucial. Usually I just describe the main characters and the main issue of the story, and then leave it open-ended with a focus on the author's style and my personal reactions to the story.

Feb 24, 2008, 9:02pm

I'm writing reviews of my books as I read or reread them, although some just don't lend themselves to being reviewed. I tend to be a bit random about how much plot description is in them, though. It just depends on what strikes me about the particular book.

Feb 25, 2008, 5:58pm

I've only started writing reviews relatively recently, and haven't written very many. Often, I'll back to what I had posted while I was reading the book for some of the content. I don't usually have the time to write an elaborately drafted review.

I find myself looking to see how many other people have written reviews about the same book to see if my opinions even have a shot at counting for anything. Does anyone else do that? The way I figure it, if something has ~50 reviews, I doubt most people will read them all, and I probably won't be the last to review, mine will get lost soon enough anyway... so what's the point? On the other hand, I don't always like being the only one to write a review -- too much pressure!

Regardless, I would like to write more reviews in the future, and will probably write them as I finish books, rather than going back to review books I've read previously.

Feb 25, 2008, 10:22pm

I write reviews when the muse strikes me. The only time I really put more than an initial impression into one, though, was when I wrote a review for one of the Early Reviewers books.

I prefer to write reviews for the small press books I have - they're more likely to need a review and I feel that a review is more likely to make an impression on a potential reader that way. Who cares what I think about HP? I'd post that in the HP group if I really wanted to say something.

Feb 25, 2008, 10:54pm

I'm so glad to know that I'm not the only one skipping over every link I see! LT is too addictive as it is for me to start reading everyone's blogs. As for me, I decided when I joined LT that reviewing books would be a great way for me to keep track of what I've read--especially ten, twenty years from now when I'm looking back on books to try to figure out what I've read, and what's worth rereading. The ironic thing is, the books that need the least reviewing because the books are so well-known are the ones I absolutely have to. Not HP, but with authors like Laurell K. Hamilton, James Hall, and James Rollins, the titles are so similar that I've found myself rebuying the same book I've already read because the publisher decided it needed a new cover--growl at the people who make those decisions, no offense. It took a lot of time, but after entering my library, I went back through it one page a day and wrote at least brief reviews for everything I'd already read--I feel like it'll be worth it eventually. I do put a lot more time into books that not many people have, ER books, or small press books. And yep, I thumb up book reviews occasionally, and I wouldn't hesitate to fag if I saw a reason. When I read reviews, it's either because I'm curious what others have said about the book I just reviewed (I read after so it doesn't influence my thoughts) or when I'm trying to figure out what on my shelf to read next. Anyhow, there's my ramble on the subject.

Feb 26, 2008, 3:52pm

bfertig wrote: I find myself looking to see how many other people have written reviews about the same book to see if my opinions even have a shot at counting for anything. Does anyone else do that? The way I figure it, if something has ~50 reviews, I doubt most people will read them all, and I probably won't be the last to review, mine will get lost soon enough anyway... so what's the point? On the other hand, I don't always like being the only one to write a review -- too much pressure!

LOL! I used to read other people's reviews before writing mine, but decided to switch that and glance through other people's reviews AFTER writing mine. It's funny sometimes how opposite our impressions can be.

I actually like being the only one to write a review for a book. That means that my ideas have no competition, LOL! :-P

Feb 26, 2008, 6:55pm

>11 GoofyOcean110:: I also look at the number of reviews already posted and at what those reviews say. Sometimes, there are already four or five good reviews that say pretty much what I would say, so it seems pointless to chime in with the same opinions. But, sometimes there are that many reviews (or more), and they either don't say much at all or have a different perspective than I have. In that case, I'll still write one.

I'm trying to write reviews for most of the books I read, but I have a hard time with some books because I'm not sure what to say other than, "I liked it fine, but it didn't change my life," which is not helpful to other users, nor does it help me crystallize my thoughts about a book. I love getting a thumbs-up on a real review, though, and try to leave them for others who have obviously put thought into their reviews.

If you want to make yourself write more reviews, join the Go Review That Book! group here on LT.

Jul 5, 2008, 12:53pm

I try to write reviews for everything I read. I used to be content with a few sentences, but a few weeks ago I decided I really needed to have a book blog (I've been reading a lot of ARCs and need someplace to show publishers) so I started trying to write longer, in-depth, "real" reviews. It cracks me up sometimes to see how 'off' my reviews are from public opinion; at times it makes me wonder 'Did we read the same book?'

My book blog is at if anyone's interested.

Edited: Jul 5, 2008, 1:05pm

I started writing short book reviews for one of my many blog incarnations about four years ago. At that time it was mainly just to share what I was reading with my friends. They've slowly morphed into more substantial reviews. However, I sometimes review books in nontraditional ways.

You can look at my review here to see what I mean.

Jul 10, 2008, 10:59am

I usually only review books (on LT and my blog) if I have feelings about them one way or another. If the book was decent, but completely forgettable, or if I find I don't really have anything to say about it, I won't review it.

My book blog:

Jul 12, 2008, 11:35am

Since September last year, I've kept a personal tally of every book I read including a review for each. So if I also happen to own the book (that is, it's in my Librarything library), I add the review to Librarything.

I LOVE reading other people's reviews.

Actually, I started writing reviews because I didn't think I was very good at them. I never felt like I could vocalize why I liked or didn't like a book, so I thought writing reviews would be a good practice for me. And now it's almost an addiction. I'm much more likely to finish a book than before just so I can write a review for it.

Jul 15, 2008, 11:54pm

Jibrailis, I feel the same way--for some reason, it seems to be very hard for me to express why I like or don't like a book. I have finally written my first couple of reviews, so hopefully I will be disciplined enough to keep up with it!

I am more likely to read other people's reviews AFTER I have read a book. I don't like to know much about a story before I read it, but I find it interesting to hear other opinions after I've finished.

Aug 10, 2008, 3:29pm

I agree--I know it's not what the reviews are for traditionally, but I"m always afaid they'll give something away if I read them beforehand. I do occasionally though, especially when a totally unfamiliar title catches my eye. Otherwise, I love reading the posted reviews of a book after I've written my own and comparing notes.

Apr 30, 2009, 2:51pm

I typically review whatever I have read. While most of the books I have added to my LT account I have not read (yet), I do plan on writing up reviews as I finish them.

Most of my leisure reading time over the past 2 years has been dedicated to reviewing books for "Library Journal." I receive an ARC about every month or so. I don't post my reviews for those materials here, as I am unsure who owns the rights. I guess I could link to my reviews from LT to LJ.

As for reviews on LT, I do read other people's reviews. I honestly don't rate the reviews or flag, unless something is blaringly wrong.

An aside, I've been in school for so long that I haven't had much time to read on my own. I will be finishing up with my MLIS next week (ack!) so, hopefully from then on, I will be able to read what I want to read, rather than focusing on coursework.

Apr 30, 2009, 10:29pm

I'm currently trying to review books as I read them. Of course, it is the end of the semester at the moment, so there's a small stack of read books on my desk that will need attention as soon as finals are over.

I've reviewed some stuff that I've read previously, too. Mostly the very good and very bad.

My reviews, though, vary from a sentence or two, to very long. Madame Bovary got about 10 paragraphs from me recently. If something makes me think, or I notice somethings about a book (Lost in a Good Book talks about families a lot), I put it in. If it was the worst book on the topic that I've ever read, that might be all the notice it gets.

As for reading other people's reviews -- I mostly read them if a boo I have has only a handful of reviews and owners. I like reading about the more odd or obscure stuff.

May 1, 2009, 10:59am

I agree - I generally feel like my review will get lost in the shuffle if there are more than 15 or 20 reviews, unless I put a lot of thought and time into it. For something that has 100+ reviews likely only a very few will even see it before it gets buried.

But nevertheless, I am trying to review more of my library, partly to fill in some gaps on some obscure history and science stuff, and partly to help me remember what I thought about the books. My current (stop and go) task is to try to go back through what I've read previously and make a few notes as a review. Occasionally, I will go back and edit or expand on a review as well. Always room for improvement!

If there are reviews that I find really give me a sense of whether or not I will like the book, or if it's well written, funny, or interesting, I'll give a thumbs up. I appreciate it when people give me positive feedback, I assume the reverse is also true.

Sep 8, 2010, 10:39am

I usually look at reviews when I'm trying to find people with similar tastes to me. My main point for being on LT is to be social, network, and find people with similar tastes (since I knew very few in the non-digital world). Thus, I use nicely written reviews of books as a litmus for adding people as friends.

I've been trying to write more reviews lately, but I feel weird about reviewing books on politics since that is my work reading. I read very few books for pleasure these days--but when I do, I try to write clever reviews.

I sometimes try for a postmodern-type reflection review.

Sep 29, 2010, 8:24am

I love writing reviews, and I would love to write a review for every single book that I read. That's a goal - but it's pretty time consuming. I think hard over what to say in a review, and I prefer to write long ones, so it isn't a 2 minute affair.

I absolutely LOVE reading other people's reviews!
What started me on this was actually reading your reviews. :) I'm such a fan! I am always checking to see if you've written more. They are great!

I only flag reviews if I really enjoy reading them, even if sometimes I don't exactly agree with the reviewer on that particular book. Well written, long or at least detailed, insightful reviews get my vote.

I flag reviews that aren't reviews too, and I hate when people write things like "Good book." or "4.5 stars out of 5." Okay.... so that isn't really a review.... Sigh.

Sep 29, 2010, 8:32am

I can ditto almost everything in your post, jori!

Sep 30, 2010, 12:04pm

I really like writing reviews. I’ve practically reviewed every book I’ve read since I joined LT. I give a lot of thought to my reviews and try to express honest opinions about them. I sometimes feel that my reviews tend to get a little longwinded. I’ve been called ‘articulate’ by my fellow LT’ers but I certainly don’t consider myself to be that.

I thumb reviews I really like. I regularly check out reviews written by my friends here at LT. Not only because they are my friends but because most of them are very good reviewers. I rarely flag reviews. I flag them only if they are really not reviews at all. Like ‘Started’ or ‘Borrowed’, etc, etc.

Apr 16, 2011, 2:09pm

I sometimes write reviews, when I feel strongly about a book or someone asked for a review.

I read other people's reviews when I am interested in getting a book (beforehand) or after I finish reading a book and am curious what other people think about it.

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