Ratings, Reviews, and How They Affect You


I'm sure other bloggers have written about this topic, but I wanted to contribute my two cents and join in on the conversation.

I've often noticed while reading, I have the unyielding desire to boot up my computer, log into my Goodreads account, and see what other members of the book community are saying about whatever it is I'm currently reading.  This doesn't seem bad or wrong, it doesn't seem unusual or unnatural, yet it sparked some internal conflict with myself.  I realized, (at some ghastly hour late last evening), I wanted to be . . . reassured, . . . comforted, that whatever thoughts, feelings, or opinions I had on a particular book were also shared by others.


I wanted to be reassured that I wasn't "the odd one out."  I wanted to be reassured that whatever it was that I was thinking wasn't out of the ordinary.

The ratings and reviews of others were unconsciously affecting me.

I joined the book blogging community back in April because, as the lot of you, I wanted to share my thoughts, opinions, and feelings on books.  I wanted to rate and review great (and not so great) reads and connect with others who did, too.  And it's been great so far.  But until now, I've never really pondered on how I'm affected -- how we're all affected -- by the opinions of others.

I love hearing what other book reviewers and bloggers think about an upcoming release, or being introduced and compelled to add another book to my shelf.  It's one of the best parts of being online and blogging.

However, it's always difficult to be the odd one out.  It sucks when you just can't join in on the raving and flailing and fun.  And on the flip side, it sucks when it seems no one else can join in on your raving, flailing, and fangirling.

Without a doubt, the opinions, ratings, and reviews of others influence your own.  We can't help but naturally compare and contrast ourselves to each other.  Whether it be how we dress, or how we talk, or even, how we . . . walk?  Humans have some sort of unexplainable desire to fit in.

As readers and reviewers, we want to stay impartial, but admit it: It's hard sometimes!  After reading a book and starting up a review, it takes effort to separate my true opinions from others.

There will always be that little pest inside the deepest crevice of your mind filling your thoughts with doubt and worry.  Is my opinion wrong? What will others think of me?  (Don't worry, we all have that little pest.)  The truth is, we're all completely different people with different outlooks and viewpoints on life.  We have varying likes and dislikes.  Yes, it's okay for someone to love the same book you hate.

It's definitely hard to "stick out," but don't lose your voice.  Don't lose your opinions.  The amassing of opinions and ideas online is what I feel makes this virtual space so great.

So share your thoughts.  Share your opinions.  Share your voice.

The world wants to hear what you think.


Julia's a dreamer. She often zones off periodically throughout the day thinking up plans for the future, pining over fictional characters, and concocting up possible plot lines for stories.

You can find Julia on her main blog, Peach Print, on Twitter @peachprint, on Instagram @yapeach, and of course, right here on the APCB blog.

17 comments:

  1. I also do the same. I check the GR ratings and reviews of the book I'm reading or planning to read. (I avoid spoilers, though.) Part of it is because I want to know if I share the same thoughts about the book with other readers. I don't mind being the odd one out, or being the only one with a different opinion. It doesn't make my opinion any less valid if other readers don't agree with mine. But yeah, sometimes it's hard when you don't have anyone to fangirl with, or you can't join in on the fangirling. Haha.. :D Any way, yes to this -->> "It's definitely hard to "stick out," but don't lose your voice. Don't lose your opinions."

    Julie @ Books and Insomnia

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  2. At first they didn't affect me, but now the more involved I am in the book community the more ratings and reviews affect me. Before being in the book community, if I book had a bad rating I would still read it because I thought my views might be different than everyone else's. But now I tend to stay away from poorly rated books on Goodreads, which I don't know if that is a good thing or a bad thing. Sometimes I end up liking the book, but more times than not I end up disliking it like everyone else.

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  3. I always check out what others rated my current read on Goodreads and I have no idea why!! I won't read the review but like to get general sense of what others thought. I don't think it affects how I feel about the book though. Great post!

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  4. This is such an amazing post Julia - I completely agree with everything you've said here. I think it's important to remember that every bookworm has been the odd one out at one point or another, so they're less likely to judge you because they know what it feels like. I think, as far as I've encountered, the book blogging world is pretty good at respecting everyone's opinions and how everyone has different tastes. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous discussion! ♥

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  5. Great post!
    When I read, I too check out the rating and what other people think about the book. I feel the odd one out when I do not like a book for which other people are going mad about. But, I think this is bound to happen once in a while and sometimes one does dislike a highly popular book. Everyone has different tastes, so I guess it's fine :)

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  6. It's definitely hard to be the odd one out -- absolutely!! Usually when I see that I am, I go looking for more reviews and find a friend who felt the same as I did and I feel much better haha!!
    I think what's the hardest for me is when I read a book that my best friends LOVED and I just didn't. It's happened quite a few times and I always feel so sad and almost hurt. It's silly but especially with close friends, it's REALLY hard not to feel bad about that!
    It's so important to be honest though. I think we do a great job of sharing our thoughts (respectfully of course) no matter what they are because even if we're the black sheep for a book, there is someone else out there who feels the same :)

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  7. I definitely agree that other reviews unconciously influence my thoughts; "oh, she loved it, there MUST be something good about it," "oh, she hated it, there MUST be something bad in here." That's why I try to shy away from reading books that I'm planning on reviewing so I stay true to my own thoughts.

    Claudia Victoria @ PenMarkings

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  8. This is SO true! I agree with you, I DO think "whoa, what is my malfunction here?" when I either loved or hated a book that everyone else hated or loved. And then I second guess my rating/review for sure- like "well maybe I just didn't get it", when the truth is, I probably just didn't like it! And you are SO right- that is absolutely FINE! I am glad that even though I HEAR that little voice, I have never given into it (though I have been tempted a time or two ;) ) Fabulous post, and super important to talk about!
    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight

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  9. I definitely think we all have moments of doubt. When I first started and I started hating on a book that everybody loved, I definitelyfelt like a bad sheep and even hesitated posting my opinion. But then you know what I thought right after? To hell with that! It's my blog, my opinions, my reading experience and I'll tell the world about it. I have a feeling that's how I got my first following in Goodreads - when I said my opinion in a frank and blunt manner even on books people adored but I hated. The things that happen when you settle on becoming yourself than comparing yourself to others :3 GO, UNIQUE VOICE! GO!

    Faye at The Social Potato

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  10. I've had thoughts like this when I'm trying to decide on a final rating. I remember a time I wanted to give a book a really low rating that most everyone else seemed to like and I thought, "am I being too harsh? Maybe the book wasn't that bad...?" It's hard not to compare yourself to other reviews and be the odd one out, especially when you're more on the negative side. I guess for me, I just remind myself that I'm not really the odd one out. While a lot of people may have a different opinion than me, I'm sure there are quite a few other readers that also share my opinion too, even if they aren't speaking up as much. A book can't be loved (or hated) by everyone who reads it. There will always be some difference of opinion :)

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  11. I personally have found it's best NOT to read reviews until after I've read a book. I'll read reviews on everything else I buy, but with anything fictional (TV shows, movies, and books), it ruins the experience. However, there have been instances when a book has me so puzzled, I'll read reviews just to figure out if other people found it as puzzling as I do!

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  12. Ah, I love this post so much, because I can totally relate to it. Sometimes when I'm reading a book, and I totally dislike something, I would read the reviews in Goodreads to see if others share the same sentiment. And there are times when I discover (to my horror) that I'm the only one who dislike/love the book. So yes, it totally affects me too.

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  13. Great post, super thoughtful, and I definitely feel the same way as you! :)

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  14. I agree that this can be tough. It's hard not to look at other reviews and allow them to affect how you feel about a book (even if it's just subconsciously). I even one time had to write in a review that I was affected by someone else's review because they brought up such a good point - and I couldn't unthink that opinion once I had it!!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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  15. This is one reason why I don't read reviews before I read a book. It's usually pretty clear if a book is getting good press or not already. I am kind of obsessive about reading movie reviews after I watch a movie, and I adore douxreviews.com for TV episode reviews, but I am just not that into book reviews, oddly enough. The exception is when I am conflicted about a book, and I'm looking for someone to articulate different points of view so I can figure out what I really think. Sometimes, like Nicole said, I'll find something I hadn't even thought about, but once it's pointed out, I realize I completely agree. Other times I don't agree. Then there are the really confusing ones. I loved Eleanor & Park, but I've read several reviews that criticize the implicit racism in the book. I see what they mean, but I also see what Rowell meant, and I still love the book. But now I feel guilty for loving it.

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