Tracking my TBR on Goodreads presents me with a dilemma: the book review.

It has nothing to do with spoilers; frankly, I love knowing the ending in advance. I always read the last few pages just to see how things turn out. Doctor Who airs in Britain before it airs in the United States, and I’m the guy looking up Wikipedia articles or fan pages to find out what happened. I want to know how things happen even on shows I don’t watch. For example, my wife enjoys Pretty Little Liars, and she wasn’t able to watch the season finale until after it had aired. I looked up fan reactions to find out who died. I still don’t know what her reaction was since I fell asleep.

For the record, science backs me up: people usually enjoy a spoiled book or show rather than an unspoiled one.

Although I don’t mind knowing what happens, I worry about being influenced by others’ perspectives. For example, I recently finished The Kite Runner and found it lacking. However, I had also read several reviews that were rather critical of the novel. Although my criticisms were not the same, I wonder if I began reading with an eye to find fault. I’d like to think I keep an open mind; for every book I agree with someone about there are others with which we disagree.

Furthermore, I hesitate to write my own reviews. I’ll give it a star rating based on my opinion, but that’s just it: it’s my opinion. Why should my opinion color someone’s experience?

Perhaps I’ll start doing things differently. I think I’ll read the book first and then read the reviews to see if others felt the same way. Not for validation or vindication, but just to see how others see what I see.

After all, if a book doesn’t cause discussion, is it worth reading in the first place?



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