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Let’s Talk Bookish Week of 2.3.23: Reviews And Spoilers!

Hi how are you, yes, good, I am glad to hear it, what’s that, why yes, I did have to start my 30-hour playthrough of Fire Emblem: Engage over because I THOUGHT that skirmishes were Classic Mode character-death safe-zones, AND I WAS WRONG, and I am so angry that a team of scientists from Norway hooked me up to their grid and I kept the lights on in Oslo for about half an hour. I am a renewable resource. I am the future of clean, furious energy. I am why little Clarf Clarfsson can read his sustainably-printed copy of Asterix & Obelix, a socialism-funded insulin martini swirling in one pale hand.

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February 3:
Do You Read Reviews and Spoilers Before or After? 
(Jillian @ Jillian the Bookish Butterfly)

Prompts: Do you like looking at reviews for books before you read them? Is reading reviews important to you when choosing what books to read next? Or do you prefer to wait until after you’ve read a book to look at reviews? Do you ever look at spoilers before you read a book?

REGARDING SPOILERS, I will say this much: generally, I find that they do not diminish my enjoyment of a work, because I enjoy being able to see the pieces and pointers that eventually lead to A Thing Happening. That said, I don’t actively spoil things for myself on purpose; for example, while reading the Star Trek: Discovery page on TVTropes, trying to figure out whether there was actually ever an Ash Tyler or whether it was All Voq All The Time, I accidentally spoiled the Big What of Season 2 for myself, and while I definitely did go “Tch, maaaaaaaan“, it’s also not something I would ever have predicted or pieced together on my own, and I’m excited to see if I can pick up the signposts along the way before the reveal.

Actually, now that I think about it, one of the things I devote a great deal of my time to, the Mangasplaining podcast, is really a whole-body spoiler if I end up reading the book they talk about in the episode, but similarly to the above I feel like the expertise and inside that the crew bring to the discussion of every title make it so much more enjoyable when I go into the book armed with that knowledge. Although now that I think of it, I actually read very few of the titles they devote entire episodes to, much more frequently combing the conversation for offhand “Oh yeah this is like that other series” recs to look up on my own; I’m much more likely to either listen to the episode with no intention of ever reading the book (I will not, for example, be reading Franken Fran, Saint Young Men, or Paradise Kiss) or listen to it after I’ve read the book, as I did with Dai Dark, Spy X Family, Chainsaw Man, The Way Of The Househusband, or My Hero Academia, because a discussion-show is great but doesn’t really give you a sense of the work as a whole, especially if you actually want the educational benefit of listening to extremely smart industry creatives talk about what makes them good and why.

Reviews are great! It was usually my custom to read them mainly for comics, which have more…axes of expression than prose, and to just kinda trust my gut or at most skim a Goodreads review for everything else, but especially since starting this site I’ve begun reading a lot of in-depth reviews from other book-bloggers here on WordPress and it’s been a game-changer! Your reviews are amazing! The most refreshing thing is that when you cats don’t like something, you have actual reasons, and allow for differences in personal taste, instead of just yelling “woke” and “SJW” over and over again! And admittedly those kinds of reviews are still useful in a way because after reading one I’ll sometimes buy the book to spite them whether I’m actually interested in it or not, but there’s actual reasoned discourse here about starship-dragons and soldiers with rascally wind-spirits riding their shoulders and space necromancers who should CLEARLY JUST KISS ALREADY, GOD, and it’s incredible.
And more importantly, it’s led to me putting some experience points into the idea of review qua review, less as a way to figure out whether to buy a given book and as a work unto itself, and fortunately for me my cup runneth over with examples to learn, borrow, and outright steal from.

Now if you’ll excuse me, Clarf Clarfsson wants to start reading a Scrooge McDuck collection, so I have to go think about Michael Bublé or any number of innocent but terrible words or the existence of the credit score system.

–The Bageler

Since I’ve seen you last
I’ve waited for some things that you would not believe
To come true

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