Beth S.
Beth S. asked:

Can I just ask why do people give a !lengthy! synopsys of the book, why don't they just tell us what they thought of it? It gets time consuming weeding through it all.

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Librarian Laci I think people get "review" and "book report" mixed up. Reviews aren't meant to be like your book report from grade school. I'm with you, that irritates me too.
Laura Carter I completely agree. I read reviews to see what people thought before I read, or to see if people agree with my thoughts after I read it. In the first scenario, I don't want any plots points to be given away. In the second scenario, I already know what happened, so why do I need a run-over of the plot? Just tell us what you thought!
Peggy Amen. As soon as I realize it's a "book report," I move on to the next review.
Linda I've long wondered the same thing. Goodreads already summarizes the story; just write what you think of the book--period!
Adrienne I would prefer "it sucked" or "it rocked" over BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH any day!
Kate Merriman I love reading the longer reviews after I've read the book. It's fascinating to see what others got out of it.
Beth Anne I agree. I want to figure out if I should read the book myself, I don't need you to tell me the story. Just tell me if it's good.
Ellie Reviews are not just written for people looking for 10 second opinions. They are written for anyone out there, including the authors themselves, their agents and their publishers. They may be written for followers/friends of the reader, or a teacher, as an assignment.
If a lengthy review or critique is not for you, skip it and go to the 10 second opinions.
Jeanette Yes, I agree with Beth. I want a reaction and not a synopsis. But it seems that the most elaborate and inclusive to plot reviews and demonstrated with pictures and graphics are highly followed here. So I do, just as another poster answered, when I see plot or length of character study or the synopsis start, I skip that review.
Helen King Depends why you use goodbooks - I don't see it solely as a means to provide others with a review but also for me to store some memories of a book I've really enjoyed, or found challenging. In those cases, I will add a lot of writing (that's mainly for me to come back to). I try to make sure I don't give the key plot aspects away though - spoils it for others. You can easily scan through and avoid the lengthy ones anyway - and as others have said, sometimes they are entertaining to come back to (not always though).
The Reviewer Why would I read a book just because some stranger said, "It's great,"?
I want to hear more in depth, what they thought about it specifically. Some people find certain things to be off-putting and ruin a book, while others can enjoy those same books. I want the "book report" analysis when I read the book reviews.
Joann I was pondering the same thing. Many times they are just repeating the summaries we have already read. I would rather read something original, pithy and insightful.
Pamela Mclaren I wax and wane on this issue. Sometimes I just get into "I really like this book because …." but other times I feel like I have to sort of set up the book before saying I love the writing, hate the characters, etc. I don't tend to write much about each book unless I hate it and then I feel I have to detail why I dislike it. If I like it, I say why and then I'm out of there.

Also, I guess I look at my reviews as also showing up on my Facebook page, so a brief (operative word) description seems important to have. But some reviews do seem to go into much more detail than probably is necessary because it isn't a book report as you said, Laci.
Trudy I agree. Reviews should be written in such a way that they do not "spoil" the book. Some people reveal the entire book. Ugh! I've learned to avoid lengthy reviews until I've finished the book.
Jeannette Or maybe you can judge if a person liked it by their rating, and then in their review they explain their thoughts because this is a place about discussing books. You can't really have a discussion on the base of "I liked it" or "It was shit".
MaryJane Rings I agree. i don't want the story told to me. I want to know if it is a good read. I want to know if it is factual and interesting. This book is very good as it depicts the cultural times and the atmosphere of Amsterdam during the period of history after the renaissance. Trade has become very fashionable and money is very important as to status and position in the community. It also explains the prominence and sometimes hypocrisy of the church and the morals of the times. The women of influence are very inspired by the miniaturist and what they perceive as her way of predicting the future. These are the plots that are essential to the story.
Mary Ann I enjoy an in-depth review even if it is somewhat lengthy as long as it is not a synopsis of the plot. I like comparisons and contrasts with other authors and works, critique of language, style, or imagery, comment on a historical period, or even a relevant personal story of the reviewer. These are all things that may add to or detract from a reader's experience.
Julia For me, a lengthy "book review" is for my own purposes; I like to be able to look back and reflect upon how I interpreted the book at the time, as I tend to re-read often.

If you don't like reading the lengthy reviews, feel free to skip over them :) I think your reason for using GoodReads and mine are different. Beside the fact of using reviews for my own personal reflections, I like to know what other minds think about the book, not just the "this was great, I thought it was nice", simple-minded type of review.

Everyone processes in their own way. Thus is what makes these types of communities wonderful!
Jennifer I don't bother reading the synopsis reviews. Maybe an aspect or two of the book that the reviewer found particularly noteworthy helps give a reader a bit more of a handle on what the reviewer is getting at but really no need to give a summary of the story. Why the reviewer liked it or did not like it is the point of the review, in my view.
Lizzie I like the synopsis reviews; it helps me decide if I'm interested in reading the book. The Goodreads synopsis is from the publisher and it's marketing writing to make you want to read it - plenty of times it's misleading and not really what the story is about.
I like spoilers, too - if they're labelled I can decide whether to see them or not. Plenty of times I decide I don't want to read the book but am curious what the spoiler is, and I'm glad I can find out.
Hannah Cox I completely agree that weeding through the book reports are annoying! Yet I used to have to use Goodreads to post my graded book reviews/reports for school. It was compulsory to do so and was worth a large percentage of my yearly English grade. Mind you, I hated doing it! It is annoying to the avid Goodreads user (like myself) but keep in mind it is also a valuable tool for schools.
cameron I agree completely. The length and complete summaries and multiple paragraphs and photos can be daunting and annoying. Why read the book? I don't mind a sentence summary but really, one wonders how these people have time to read. I much more appreciate a personal opinion or reaction or even comparisons, in general, to other writers. Thanks for bringing this up.
Alex I blame digital modernism with short attention spans. All the time checking 150 character messages, texts, status feeds, etc. have groomed people to only want to read less (not more).
liza Thank you for posting this question, i have been asking the same since joining Good Reads. Take note people, quit the essays. Its boring.
Julie I agree. I prefer reviews that are short and simple that explain why you liked or didn't like the story. That is all that is needed.
Zebici Maybe some people just want to keep a sort of reading journal. I don't know who sets the limits between a book report and a review. Just as a writer is entitled to write to their own heart, a reader is entitled to write to their own heart.
If one only wants to know if they should bother buying/lending the book, they should just check the average score and the splitting by number of stars. If one chooses to read reviews, I think one is obligated to accept the opinion and choice of the writer, and is probably looking for something more than a score.
Kali I agree! That is so annoying! I always read the book summary before I read the book so I don't need everyone to repeat it!
Theresa Oh my goodness I so agree with you on this one and have told Goodreads. A review is not a synopsis of the whole book. If it is not a review it should state this. Perhaps people need to realise the difference.
Niffer I think some people post the reviews they write on their blogs. Their blog may not have the Goodreads summary on it, so they write a summary first to describe to their readers what the book is about and then they review it.They could simply link to the Goodreads page and not summarize the book again, but that would potentially drive people away from their blogs.

I don't care for those reviews, but I understand why they do it.
Linnae I almost always give a synopsis of the book, though I try to keep it to a paragraph, 2 at most. Mostly it's to jog my own memory when I go back, or when I'm looking for a book to recommend to a friend. I want to remember the points that stood out to me, which are not necessarily the same as the publisher's summary.

That being said, if it's a very popular book or a classic, I skip the synopsis.

Also, when reading the reviews, I generally enjoy the longer "book report" style over the straight-up reactions. I like to have some context for why people like or dislike the books. Tastes differ. Something you like I may hate and vice versa. If all you give is a reaction, I've got nothing to go on--unless I know you personally and trust your opinion. :)
Cindy I totally agree! Goodreads already provides a synopsys so I always just try to give my opinion on it.
Avanders Great question! My answer (as someone who tends to provide synopses of books along w/ my actual review) is simply because it's been requested/demanded enough times in the past that I've just made it part of my review process. Historically, I think people were criticized for not giving any context in their reviews.

That being said, if the times, they are a changin', it's time for the reviews to change too :)

I see from the answers that many people agree with you; perhaps in the future, I'll "review" FIRST and then provide a synopsis at the bottom for those who really do want it.
Tasha I feel the same. So many times part of the plot has been ruined for me because someone just shoved it in without a second thought. I also get bugged when someone rates a book one star with no explanation at all.
Notty I totally agree! Several times, I've decided NOT to read the book because they've almost told the story already. What about a quick 'I liked it because - it was interesting, suspenseful, romantic, etc. etc.' I didn't like it because it didn't hold my interest because? Don't retell the story:)
Belinda I'm glad someone else asked that question! I've been criticised before for not giving a lengthy summary about a book. Well, mate, I felt like writing, it's a review slash opinion piece, not a bloody essay.
Rebecca Agreed. I just like to hear the insight of the reviewer - why they liked or disliked the book. It's also helpful when people compare it to another novel.
Janzi haha I always wonder the same!
Mary I'm with you there! We can all copy and paste!
Jill Benson If readers are trying to write something for their own purposes - a synopsis is not necessary. A lengthy synopsis serves NO ONE. A lengthy review is certainly fine if it serves the purpose of explaining interesting characters, setting, themes, etc. Far too many simply explain the plot of the book for several paragraphs. And while the comments to simply bypass these reviews is logical - it doesn't stem our frustration with those who feel they need to expound at extraordinary length on the actual plot.
Oj-Oh I agree. We all know this information when we look up the book. To repeat this bumph , is not leaving review lol.. odd indeed
Suzka Yep. I don't understand this, either.
Barbara Lebouton west Sometimes a book simply makes no sense so I appreciate getting opinions of other readers..hopefully it has made sense to someone.
Phil Stenger I'm reading your review/book report but I'm mostly correcting your grammar.
Primero Fin Bingo. It is nice to see a few plot summaries - but no book needs dozens / hundreds of plot summaries. If there are going be numerous summaries, then I think there should be a way of indexing the postings as summaries vs. reviews to allow the readers to quickly focus on what they want to read.
Neil Challis I also agree with you,reviews do not need to be a plot of the book,but how you felt when you read it.
Jodie Gale I agree - I find recaps of the book so boring. I want to hear what others think and feel about the book - how it moved them or not!
Linda Very good book!
Donna Siebold I tend to write the summary type "review". I write them for myself because the way Goodreads writes the summary may or may not remind me of whether or not I read the book. I am happy that the reviews - of any sort - are available to help me decide whether or not I want to read a book, but they are personal to whomever wrote them, so if I don't like - what they say or the way they say it - I just close that review and move on to the next one. I can't just say I liked or did not like it without including what was relevant to me in the story that formed my opinion.
Sue Noticing that GoodReads is giving away free books to review, I assumed that in this case you are asked to write a full review of the book, including a short synopsis and adding your opinion. This is very helpful to recall a book after sometime elapsed.
Once you finished reading a book, the heading question is 'what did you think about the book' and that does not have to include a summary....
Laurie I also wonder why people 'like' my review when I didn't actually write one but I just gave a rating.
Sheila Great question. I figure people have already read the synopsis, or teaser, and want to know what other people think. Besides, I couldn't possibly retell the story as well as the author
Elise Agreed! Spoilers and excessive amounts of plot summary have no place in a book review.
Kim freeman It could be to do with ego or a person who never got to write that book. Scroll down. I do, all I want is a brief review.
Reborn Agreed. And I can't answer your question. I don't know why. I do use examples from the book to illustrate my opinions, but otherwise, you can read the book synopsis to find out what it's about! I might point out if the book synopsis differs greatly from what you'll actually find INSIDE the book, which was the case with The Help.
Kerin So totally agree
Jennifer I think a lot of them might be literature students, practicing a book report, maybe even a few schools might encourage them to use Goodreads for practice? They seem to have a formula, and often sound very much alike
Carol Agree! I wonder the same thing!
Marguerite Czajka I'm glad to see their are others who wonder this as well! I tend to skip over the ones that give a long synopsis of the book.
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