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Goodreads

2013/09/14

Why do many GoodReads users spend so much time regurgitating a lengthy summary instead of describing how they liked or disliked the books? It may be easier to write like that but I don’t know who these people are and I’m not interested in how they may personalise the synopsis with their favorite turn of phrase. I want to know if I might like the book or not. If there are dozens of posted reviews, each one starting out with “In __, this happens to Main Character, and then Main Character does that,” ON TOP OF the posted description, I think all site visitors have a good enough idea of what the story is about without anybody adding even more of that, plus I still don’t know if I want to read the book or not.

A summary doesn’t tell me whether or not a book is worth reading. There are millions of ways to write love triangles, rivalries, magical adventures, et cetera, and not all of them are good. What does the author’s voice sound like and did you find it to your liking? Are the unexplained bits and potential inconsistencies insignificant or are they ripping giant holes in the plot? A good review picks these sorts of questions to answer. A crap review is what happens when someone figuratively passes a book through a digestive tract without any mastication or digestion whatsoever: nothing of value is extracted and what comes out is a soiled version of the original plus a lot of hot air.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. anonymous permalink
    2013/09/18 16:36

    Perhaps you should just read the books. Even if a book doesn’t receive good reviews doesn’t mean you won’t like it, and vice versa.

    • ʃ.ɑ.k permalink*
      2013/09/18 17:08

      You’re absolutely right. Many times, though, I’ve read the book and it annoys me to see that my fellow readers don’t have anything more significant to say. If I don’t, I won’t and that’s how I do things. Otherwise, I just don’t always have the time to get a copy and read it.

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