How Objective Are Your Reviews?

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Roars & Echoes.

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43 thoughts on “How Objective Are Your Reviews?

  1. Love this post Lashaan! And it is very well said. I do think one place where subjectivity comes into play is when you are maybe “a fan” of a certain series or author.

    I do this with most of my favorites, and I often have to wonder in retrospect if I was being too generous, or if I’d read it without already being a fan would I have loved it as much?

    I mean- I love to unapologetically shove Uhtred into everyone’s arms (no really, I do) but are those books as good as I think they are? Maybe not.

    And because I’m aware of it in myself, I look for it in other reviews. Is this person a fan or are they coming to it with fresh eyes? Not saying it isn’t okay to be a fan- just something to consider as one of those biases we all bring to every book!

    I also noticed it works especially hard in reverse. If someone gives me something because I’m a fan of XYZ, well then that book better live up to the standards set by XYZ, because I’m going to tear it down on the standards it didn’t meet. Which is totally unfair of course… but also an example of why we maybe shouldn’t sell books by comparing them to other books without being specific about why the first book is like the second.

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    1. Thank you so much for your insightful thoughts, Sarah! I think fans are a perfect example of extreme cases that allow us to understand why reviews are meant to be subjective! I personally try and dose it when I know I’m already a fan of the author or character. It’s why you’ll still see me destroy a bad story even if it features Batman in it, for example! 😂 I also don’t enjoy comparing books/movies between each other because I really believe that each of them should be judges for what they are. 😮

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha- I compare books and movies all the time, although you’re right, it’s not really a fair comparison. Shrugs. I like both formats. Sometimes one works better than the other for me.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Agree! I figure if I am looking for reviews to find a new story I find a reviewer who has a similar tone with how I interpret stuff. That way I can have a springboard for finding books to read that, maybe, I have something in common with. But your mileage may vary.

    Reviews are completely subjective and shouldn’t be considered as anything else. A rich and varied community of reviewers is perfect. Each reviewer comes with their own personal story and that is important.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Indeed, Beth! I do believe that many of us connect better with some reviewers more than others by simply looking at their tastes and their interpretations of what they like and dislike. I personally also like checking out how reviewers of books I’d never read share their thoughts. If’s always nice to see the passion of readers through their reviews hahaha

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  3. What is truth? Is there something like objectivity? Is the world even real? 😂😂😂
    But seriously, to me (firmly believing that the achievement of objectivity in social sciences and humanities is impossible – though it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive to do it) the best reviews are those which clearly present one’s subjective opinion, solidly buttressed by the explanation of where it’s coming from and what it’s based on, and humble in the acknowledgment of their own subjectivity. Easy-peasy! 😂

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  4. Love this post so much Lashaan… As someone who can’t write an objective review for the life of me, and whom books affect very personally, I resonated with this a lot. I try to always bring something of myself into every review I write, so all of them maybe too subjective but I firmly believe in writing them for myself and hoping that others resonate with them too 😊😊😊
    Thank you for this !!! Makes me believe I’m not doing it the wrong way and it’s nice hearing that from a wonderful reviewer like you…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am incredibly happy that you shared this with me. Thank you so much, Sahi! You are way too kind and I hope that this will help you share your emotions without ever thinking that it won’t resonate with anyone! I’m sure people will love you even more for being 200% with your feelings and thoughts! 😀

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  5. Fantastic post! Who wants facts from a review? I want want feelings! I want to know what the reviewer felt about about the book not what the story is, I can find that on Amazon or Goodreads. I have noticed quite a few book bloggers who just write fact based reviews and to be honest I don’t really enjoy them like I used to. I’d much rather read a review full of feelings about the characters, the setting and the story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Nicki! And I am completely with you. I love when reviewers take the time to share how deeply connected or not they were with the stories they read. It’s when they’re able to go to 2nd and 3rd degree in their understanding that things get really interesting!

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  6. Well I began writing reviews “for me” as something was reying to explode fomr my mind, something I just HAD to write. If I still write reviews for me I write them for the readers first and foremost. I know mine are “subjective” as I let emotions guide me when I write but as I have recently read on another blog, Angela Carter said “Reading a book is like re-writing it for yourself. You bring to a novel, anything you read, all your experience of the world. You bring your history and you read it in your own terms”– no two people will read a book the same way. So indeed this is subjective!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Absolutely! It’s to allow your review to serve as that outlet for your mind and let other readers decide if they resonate with what you have to say or not. It’s by being completely subjective that we give the book the necesarry reasons for others to pick it up! 😀

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  7. Great post Lashaan! I too find the idea of an objective review utterly boring and very difficult to achieve.
    When I read reviews, I’m interested in knowing what the human writing it thought. Subjectivity and emotional attachments are a part of he human experience of reading, in my opinion.

    Books, like artworks are difficult for us to form a consensus on because our bias and backgrounds can all colour our experience and expectations. Why strive for a totally objective review of a book, when the subjectivity is what allows me to compare myself with the reviewers tastes. Do I generally like the same books as them? Do I trust them to give a rounded review and acknowledge other opinions?

    All fascinating! Thanks again for the thought provoking post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad that it turned out to be a thought provoking article for you, Steph! I definitely agree with you. It’s through their subjectivity that we learn both about the reader and the book. It’s how we find out who has similar tastes or not, who thinks like you or not. Subjectivity should always, however, come with reasoning. I mean… I wouldn’t exactly thumbs up a review that just screams “I LOOOOOVE IT OMGGG PLEASE READ IT IT’S SO GOOD”. Their arguments are just as important as their emotions and whatnot hahaha 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Let them decide if it’s for them or not.

    PREACH IT MY BRUTHAH!!!!!!!!!!! Seriously though, people need to stop worry so much what others think. Read the book and write what you thought of it. Sometimes I wonder if people these days aren’t as confidant in themselves or what they believe so they can’t just write out something bold and brassy? And once again, if more people wrote their reviews for themselves that they would be in 10 years, a lot of the fustercluck social media’ness of book reviewing would simply disappear. Trying to please other people online is no way to live one’s life. At what point will people realize that? I’m guessing about 3 more generations for the inevitable swingback…

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  9. A very thought-provoking post, thank you for sharing it!
    One of the elements I most enjoy in the reviews I read – be they about books, movies or whatever – is finding opinions that differ from mine, because they help me look at the matter at hand (a story, a tv show, and so on) from a different angle, and maybe to examine my own reactions from another point of view. This does not mean, of course, that those different opinions can make me change mine, but they might help me better understand MY reasons for liking or disliking any given work: considering other people’s opinions is not unlike looking at oneself through a mirror of sorts and that can bring deeper insights. If I’m making any sense… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank YOU for reading it, Maddalena! I really appreciate it. I do love what you’re bringing to the table here. I usually find it really fascinating too to read reviews that are completely different to mine. It’s how they back their cases that has me most curious but I often find myself unconvinced and move on hahahha

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  10. i totally relate to this discussion so much! When I first started blogging back when there were only crickets visiting my blog I really wanted it to be about writing and the good and poor things I saw in stories. Then when you get into ARC land you realize more and more this is someone’s work, blood and tears went into it. I honestly did try to be more objective for a while. But I think in our hearts book bloggers want to share what we feel when reading a book. I do like it thought when a reviewer objectively shares why they felt the way they did. I dislike when they say I loved it so it was well written. You can love trash for how it makes you feel. 😉 Loved this!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We learned so much through out blogging experience huh? This is why I wanted to remind everyone, even the newbies, that it’s not about pleasing anyone but about sharing what you thought. And yes! You can say whatever you want but you need solid arguments to make your point pass. Thanks for reading, Dani! 😀

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  11. Brilliant post, Lashaan! The beauty of books is that we all have such different ways of interpreting the plot, characters, pace etc. and I always find it so amazing how different my thoughts of many books are to those of other bloggers’ despite having read the same book! I try to stay neutral and discuss what I liked and disliked in my reviews but it’s a struggle at times.

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    1. Thank you, Darina! I completely agree. It’s how it’s near impossible to alll say the same thing about the same book that makes reviews so interesting and pertinent! We need to understand that and say what goes through our minds without telling ourselves that it’s too subjective and what not! 😀

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  12. This post was super interesting Lashaan! When reading the title I was wondering where you were heading at, as I don’t think objectivity is always the way to go, so I can only say that I agree with you! Some objectivity is always good as I, for instance, like to know what a book (or movie or whatever) is about in a more “practical”/objective way, but when reading a review I am mostly interested in the subjective part of it, and truly enjoy when the subjective feelings are somewhat explained, because obviously people like different things! Anyway, I don’t know if this makes much sense, but let me say another time that I truly enjoy reading your reviews where you always manage to find the right balance between these 2 aspects 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re too kind, Juliette. I appreciate the kind words; it definitely motivates me to keep on sharing my thoughts with everyone! 😛

      It’s indeed the subjective elements, and how we convey it, that intrigues me the most too. It’s just sad that some people might think that less of it is better for the reader when it’s not the case. On top of telling us what the book or whatever you’re reviewing is about/used for, it needs to be coated with all the appreciation/depreciation that the person has for it. It’s the only way for anyone to really know if it’s for them or nah! 😛

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  13. I loved this post so much, how it’s written, the subject and all your ideas 😍 I totally agree with everything you said! When it comes to chare thoughts about books I truly can’t see how objectivity is something we should aim at. Though, when it comes to movies or other products (beauty, clothes, etc.) I feel like an objective review is more important: the photography, the colours, the material, the formula… But I don’t know why, for books, I can’t think about a single aspect that is worth to be objective ! 🤔 Oh yes! Maybe the cover or the quality of the paper? 😂

    Anyway, what I mean is that when looking for a review about something, the most important choice is the one concerning the writer of the review: if we can relate with his tastes then we can trust him (or her, obviously) on the review 😊 In other words, I feel like we decide which subjectivity we want to listen to. We all have different tastes but some of us have similar ones and the whole point of subjectivity in book reviews is to select a particular audience that will relate with the thoughts or with the way to convey them! 😄
    That being said, too much subjectivity isn’t for me: as a reviewer you have to be able to deliver your thoughts without imposing them. I would say that what I personally look after when reading review is some sort of “objective subjectivity” 🤔

    Baaah I already wrote a lot 😂 this was a fantastic post, thanks for sharing your thoughts Lashaan 😍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahahaha I’m glad that we’re on the same page about this subject. But even for the cover or the quality of the paper, you’ll ultimately end up saying something subjective about it.

      I’m completely with you there and I think it’s what really makes some reviewers more popular than others. It’s when the audience connects with the subjectivity of the reviewer, their popularity grows tremendously.

      Hahahah it’s that concept of objective subjectivity that I feel too many people focus on and end up repressing their real thoughts on the story.

      Don’t worry about writing too much or multiple times, there’s no such issue on my posts. 😉 Thank YOU for reading, Caroline ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Great post and I like that it provides a different take on the topic of writing book reviews. I totally agree with your end statements and also believe a review that’s entirely objective would be quite boring. I try to go for a balance, but it often feels impossible to do, so I just talk about what comes natural, which is how I felt and what I thought about what the books and other media I consumed.

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    1. Thank you so much! I too believe that everyone should follow your example and write what comes to them naturally and not go back on their words thinking that society (everyone in the blogosphere) expects some kind of formatting from you. What comes from the heart is what I personally like seeing in reviews.

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  15. I think so many things don’t have much consensus between them, which is why it’s so hard to be objective and personally I think the goal should be to be more reasoned in our approaches- especially when it comes to book reviews. That’s why if you say you didn’t like a particular thing, it doesn’t have to be right or wrong, it should just be explained so other people can make up their own minds. I definitely agree with you that people should state their bias/explain where they’re coming from. Really great discussion to have!

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    1. Exactly. It’s how you justify yourself that ultimately gives you any credibility. I can’t imagine the amount of face-palming I’d be doing if all the person says is it’s bad and there’s no “because” afterwards! Thank you for reading! I appreciate the kind words! 😀

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