Friday, March 30, 2012

Blog Discussion: A Question for My Readers

Earlier this week my friend Laurel and I were talking about writing book reviews for our blogs and which parts are the most difficult.  For me, the hardest part isn't expressing my opinion, but summarizing the book.  When my blog first started, I skipped this all together and just wrote my opinion and linked to the Goodreads page.  But the more I read the blogs of others, the more I felt like I appreciated reviews that gave a short summary of the book on the page.  Clicking through gets old if you're reading several blogs in one sitting. 

It takes me FOREVER to write my summaries though.  Like, I struggle through each one.  I don't want to sound like a 5th grade book report, you know?  All of my reviews seem to start with "Title Of The Book is about..."  Or "Main character is a ____ dealing with ____."  It's like an episode of Reading Rainbow.  OR, and I just noticed this recently, like half of my posts start with some variation of "How cute/gorgeous/artsy/inspiring/etc is this cover?"

Some bloggers just C&P the publisher's copy from GoodReads or Barnes and Noble (with appropriate credit of course), but I've wondered how readers feel about that.  Do you think that's taking the easy way out?  Which do you, as readers, prefer: reading a short and sweet publisher's summary for the basic idea of the book and then reading detailed blogger opinion or a blogger taking the time to come up with his or her own summary, even if that part is tedious?

11 comments:

  1. I've debated with myself about this a lot. The problem is I'm not good at descriptions that won't spoil it for the reader. I've tried putting as much detail as I can to just saying "this is great, go get it!" type of post.

    As a reader, I like reading a short description by the blogger and am more interested if they think it's a book they recommend.

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  2. I actually just switched from writing my own to using the GR summary a couple of weeks ago. I, like you, was taking FOREVERRRRRR to write summaries and I asked about it on Twitter and most people admitted that they either skim that part or skip it all together.

    It was making me almost dread writing reviews so I gave it up for now.

    If I come across a GR summary that is crappy, I'll write my own, but I just didn't feel like it was worth it for me.

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  3. Writing good summaries that don't spoil the plot takes me a REALLY long time, so I've started using pre-written summaries. I almost always skip or skim summaries on other blogs.

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  4. I much prefer reading summaries the blogger has written themselves but it's something I struggle with too.

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  5. I absolutely do not love writing summaries of the books I read, but I do it. Sometimes that's the only thing keeping me from finishing a review, because I don't know how to summarize a book without giving a lot of stuff away. With that being said, I think it's worth the effort and I like it when I read a review where the writer wrote the summary. Sometimes book descriptions from B&N/Amazon/the back of the book just aren't that acurate. I also have no issues though with reviews that copy and paste from those sites. After all, the review itself often says a lot about a book's story :)

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  6. I stink at writing summaries without giving away major plot points or spoilers so I stick with GR. As a reader, it doesn't really matter either way to me.

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  7. I can get a summary from a few different places but what I really want to know is opinions about the book.

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  8. I almost always skip or skim the summary part, so I'd go with the goodreads summary unless it is not very good or gives spoilers or something.

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  9. Summaries are available at other sources. It's your opinion I care about so make it easier on yourself.

    Thanks for all your review work.

    Kim D from SC

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  10. I'm not sure that I appreciate a blogger written summary any more than a pre-written one. In fact I think I am slightly hesitant to read blogger summaries in fear that they will give away more than necessary. I'm new to this but I have decided, for now, to use a pre-written summary and to add any pertinent info I feel might have been left out in my review. I copy the summary on to my blog so you don't have to click through but I state were it came from with a link back if someone would like to check the source.

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  11. Thanks for the feedback everyone! I think I may do some kind of combination of both in the future. If I'm having a hard time writing my own summary, I'll borrow from GR (and credit them of course), but I'll keep trying to come up with my own sometimes too.

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