Monday, March 4, 2013

Correcting Reviews - Yay or Nay?

Something I've been thinking about lately is what to do about reviews/rereads when your reading tastes have changed. I know that on Goodreads, I've seen a lot of other reviewers update their reviews with the latest way they feel about a book, but do others do that for blogs? Do you edit the review and pretend that you never wrote that *yes, I (dis)liked this book?* Or do you leave your review be and stick with your recommendation even if your reread no longer inspires as fuzzy of feelings?

When considering time and your own life experiences and how they influence your enjoyment of / experience with a book, well, what do you do? How do you accommodate for that, for these changes in you, not the book itself?

Okay, so, here are my examples. There are some books on my Goodreads favorites shelf that I don't enjoy as much anymore. They probably are not my "favorites" in the sense that those are the books I would tout to almost everyone, but should I remove them? After all, I once recommended them. I mean, I already wrote about how when I first read Twilight, I enjoyed it immensely, and now I no longer feel as enthusiastic about that series, would probably not recommend it. Or, how about almost two years ago, when I also wrote a post with my top ten YA crushes? Some of the guys on there? Hell no, not there anymore, and a lot of other guys might even replace the ones who remained even after that first elimination. And lastly, what about my early reviews? The reviews where I wrote less than ten sentences? (Yes, my earliest reviews were terrible; I do believe that I wrote things like, "The characters were fantastic. I loved the protagonist! Go buy this book.") Am I to expand on those reviews, or hope to God that no one ever reads them? Even if I edited these posts, who will see these edited versions? There is no "updated feed" that everyone has access to... so what then?

Where do you draw the line? I'd love to read your thoughts on this.

30 comments:

  1. I recently had this with Eve from Carey. I just used another edition of the book for my new review on Goodreads, so I always can compare my first thoughts with my new thoughts :) For me, it's important to remember how I felt about a book. Perhaps you can shelve your favorites in different years?

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  2. True, but how do you deal with it on your blog? Once upon a time, you might have written a recommendation for said book, and now you no longer truly endorse it. What to do? Can't shelve it in a different year or use another edition here :/.

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  3. I update my GR anytime I feel like it. My ratings shift around and I'll change reviews even if I'm motivated enough.


    However, I leave my blog alone, because it's a "published" review. Though I did, in one case, go back and add an edit linking to my rewritten GR review because I disagreed with my past self so much.

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  4. I can see that. I suppose this should act as motivation for me to post my reviews on GR so that I could link back like that.... hrmph.

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  5. Hmm, that is true. You could always write a new review and link back to the older one :) I don't think you should erase the old review, because you just loved that book once. You can't change anything about that.

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  6. I've never significantly changed the text of a review I posted on my blog or on goodreads -- I've gone back and fixed typos, because there is no way I'm going to leave a mispelling or a grammar error up there if I become aware of it. But I'll admit I have been wishy-washy about how many stars to give a book, and have gone back and changed that. I've only ever gone up or down one star, but the feelings in my review are still generally reflective of how I feel about the book. It's just that sometimes I've given a book 4 stars, but then find it has stuck with me a year or more later and I feel it really should have been 5 stars, so I change it. Same thing for a 5 star book that loses its luster, I'll knock it down one, but again, I don't change the review since it still reflects how I felt at the time. Star ratings are so subjective anyway. If I were to re-read a book and find my views have significantly changed, I would just write a brand new review and talk about how my views have changed. Whatever I wrote originally is still going to be accurate for how I felt at the time I read that book. People change and tastes change, but if I don't actually re-read the book, I wouldn't re-review the book, but that's just me!


    Another thing I would consider is to maybe tack on your additional thoughts or your "new review" to your old review and then republish it with the current date as a new post. I've never actually done it, so I'm not sure it would work like I think it would. It would make for an interesting before and after study though!

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  7. I have reread some of these books though and they just don't inspire some of the same feelings as they once did... but I do think you're right in tacking on additional thoughts. Perhaps I will add them in another color, so people understand that it's me from a later time.

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  8. I've been blogging less than two years -- not long enough to have this problem! Yes, I do go in and fix blog reviews if I notice I misspelled a character's name, or even if I just forget to say something. Yesterday I did an ETA (edited to add) but sometimes I'll just go in and add stuff, especially if the review just posted and it's not a significant change. I haven't (yet) had a situation where I had a real change of heart about a book.


    I agree with Christine that it would be interesting to do a "Then and Now" review. Post your original thoughts, and then your current ones.

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  9. Haha, I've been blogging... almost two years :P so I don't know if it's a function of time spent blogging. I just think I've been exposed to a lot of different papers and theories that have changed my perspective on the world and in turn, the sort of things I'm looking for in books. I have definitely fixed blog reviews in terms of grammar, misspellings, or clarifying thoughts, but I guess I am more finnicky than you :(. Then and Now might be a nice feature!! Thank you for the idea :)

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  10. And something to remember is perhaps your feelings have changed because the same excitement and tension is not there as when you read the book the first time because you already know what is going to happen. Your review is supposed to be for people who have not yet read the book.

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  11. True, true. But I find that a lot of young adult novels, at least, don't have a huge level of excitement in terms of unpredictability. A lot of them are pretty predictable, because that's just a function of their form, the crux of the plot. (Unless they're awesome fantasies.) And isn't a test of a book's timelessness/potential to be a favorite or class whether you can reread it and derive a similar level of meaning or pleasure?

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  12. Too true. Erasing the old review is like deleting an old part of myself. No, I liked the book once upon a time, and there is no denying that. There is linking back, however, to accommodate for that growth :).

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  13. My early reviews are equally terrible Christina! But you know what? I don't care. Those were my feelings at the time, and I think everyone's likes and dislikes change as they go along, and with books, the more I read the more the way I read books changes. I read review books differently than a book I pick up just for fun. I don't know exactly how it's different, I just know it is, so books that I've read recently are held up against all the books I've read before it, and as a result my opinion of them is likely different than it would have been 3 years ago when I hadn't read as many books. Don't know if that makes sense. I fully plan on leaving past reviews and ratings as they are because they were true at the time they were posted, even if my love for them may have waned a bit since then:)

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  14. I went back and wrote a new review for Vampire Academy. My first review was poorly written - I was new to reviewing at the time. And it was a middling review. I came to love the series as it went on and some of the things that annoyed me the first time I read VA didn't bother me on a second read.


    I think a more interesting rewritten review for something like Twilight would be a post on how and why your views on the book has changed. This wouldn't necessarily be a new review, but more of an analysis of your relationship to the book.

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  15. So, so true. I know what you mean with review books vs. other books & also comparing against the rest you've read before. There are so many times, too, when I am thinking about a review book and how best to put it to readers - whose fans I think it appeals to, what it reminds of (does that make me dislike/like the book more etc. etc.). And the more I read, the less fresh a lot of different plot elements feel. Does that make us less ideal of reviewers? I do wonder that sometimes.

    If anything, I don't think I'd majorly change early reviews... maybe just expand on my thoughts. They were true. They are true. They're both, either way. But they're also not clearly written, and my appreciation not fully expressed :(. (But to also motivate myself enough to do that.... heh, we'll see if any of that actually happens!)


    With books that I'm not actually fond of anymore? Will not touch those.

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  16. Isn't it interesting to see what bothered us before but no longer bothers us as much? I read someone's re-review of Legend, in which she said that she was starting to wonder if she was a little harsh on dystopian novels and the world-building in the first novels. Many times, I wonder the same thing about myself and my critical judgments.... So I guess the more we read, even if some plot elements start to feel not as fresh/new/exciting, there's always that change in ourselves that accommodates for our familiarity, and having that balance can be really essential. I do think that I will be posting rewritten reviews or writing Then and Now posts. (I am curious to see your new review for VA. Expect my visit soon~!)

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  17. Here's a link if you're curious: http://www.alisoncanread.com/2012/11/vampire-academy-by-richelle-mead.html

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  18. Those are some good points, Christina. Even YA books that I've enjoyed and that have high acclaim are pretty predictable. I was just trying to lend you some thoughts to consider when making your decision. :)

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  20. Thanks, Brooke. I appreciate it, and everyone has really helped! :)

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  21. great topic! I'd have to say that if you think it's something that reflects on you and your reading, then whatever you do is right for you. I'm not a blogger, but I do post my own reviews on goodreads. I've made it clear in my bio that I write reviews immediately after I read in order to capture what I was thinking *at the time* I read it. Even if I were to go back and reread, those were my original thoughts. Even if my thoughts have completely reversed, I can't change how I originally thought. Sure, if I felt strongly enough, I might edit and add a post script or caveat on how I feel now, but I haven't found that to be the case. People change and I don't think anyone would fault you if your reading habits/preferences did too. Hope this isn't a parrot of what's already been said. Joining the party late... as usual :)

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  22. No worries. Every comment is awesome, and joining the party late -- psh, you're always welcome~!

    You're right - I can't change how I originally thought. I think a part of the reason why I object so strongly to what I wrote is that I don't want to believe that that was what I thought, you know? I think a good deal of this is not only making Then/Now posts or making it clear where I've edited the post but also learning to accept that YES, that was *me.* Those *were* my feelings.

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  23. I am nowhere near a reviewer because I mostly wrote my feelings about a book down on a journal of mine or a diary. However, it is definitely most interesting for me to look back on how I felt about that particular book at a certain period of time and how my views towards it have changed because of life. For example, I have this book I was so excited about and enjoyed it. I have even collected the whole trilogy and even wrote extremely short reviews ( bits and pieces about it) on goodreads. It was in 2010 when I did that, after that year I was totally busy with my examinations so I was away for quite a long time. I came back last year and was shocked on how I wrote the reviews and however much I want to delete the old reviews I kept it there. Probably, I want to be reminded of how I once loved the books so dearly instead of digging inside my brains and recall of how the book was once enjoyable to me. I was in a similar situation as you, my YA crushes have also changed. For example, Patch was also not in my list anymore. I guess that's how the word "memories" came along, so I don't really think it's necessary to remove them. ;)

    P.S : There was this book that I mentioned I enjoyed on goodreads in the past. The worst is I have absolutely no recollection about what the story is about any more, so I went back to read book one again. I love your blog posts, glad I found it recently. :)

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  24. Thanks :D. And yeah, I was actually really frightened when I wrote my post about Twilight because... well, it's to hard to admit to yourself when you're later shocked with how you had acted before. (Am I allowed to know what book you were referring to? Also, impressive that you keep a journal/diary. I have tried and fail at keeping up with that!)

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  25. Yeah! You're welcome :)! I was referring to Immortal by GIllian Shields. In my goodreads, I once rated it at a nice rating and even claimed in the reading progress that the book was enjoyable. I have read till half of the book up till now and sad to say I am not enjoying it as much as before any more. Maybe my preferences have changed after all. I have kept 5 journals since young, it would be mostly ramblings as well as thoughts about the characters sometimes. It was not updated recently though, was so busy with life. The interesting point is I have not given up on my journal for so many years was because I got inspired after reading The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot during my primary school days. Glad that you are impressed. :) I also used to think The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong was the best novels out of my collections, however it have been replaced now although the feelings I have for it is still remembered dearly.

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  26. That's the best! To have been inspired by a YA book, then journaling on occasion about YA books. I haven't read Immortal or The Summoning, so I can't comment on those, but yeah, I guess your journals too can highlight how your preferences have changed :). I hope you get a chance to relax and update it again soon~

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  27. Thanks! It is mostly on my life, so I can't say that it is all about YA novels. It's alright, and thank you once again. ;)

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  28. I think you have a right to change your mind. It's funny you mentioned Twilight because I recently changed my review on goodreads about it. If you want, you can even add to your old post saying that was my feelings back then, but now I have a new/different opinion. It's your blog, your freedom, your opinion, just saying!
    P.S. I am having fun slowing looking through your blog, so expect more comments :)

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  29. Thank you, Cali :). I hope my blog amuses.
    I don't know if anyone would say I don't have a right to change my mind so as much as the published review, simply because it's been published "officially." I seem to get the feeling that publishing it on a blog vs. a community site like Goodreads has a different vibe. But you're right, it is my blog so psh :).

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