Do you think there are readers who post reviews for books they did not finish? Like, they just did not like it, so they didn't read the entire book and then just posted a negative review on that portion. Do you feel that it is ethical to only read half a book and then post a review? I'm just curious. I mean, some books don't completely unfold until halfway through, right?
LOL! I just posted a review on goodreads today for a book I only read half of!
Absolutely, positively, 100% believe it is ethical AS LONG AS you say in your review that you didn't finish. When I review a book I didn't finish, I explain WHEN I dropped it and WHY.
Frankly, if a book isn't really going until halfway through, it was poorly written. Books have a finite amount of time to hook a reader's interest.
But actually, most of my negative dropped-book reviews aren't negative because I was bored....I tend to not review books I simply wasn't getting into, figuring it might just not have been the right fit for me. I call that not sort of thing not actively good, or passively bad. What I leave reviews of is the ones that I drop because the are actively bad. The one I mentioned this morning was confusing and had inconsistent characters. I figure a potential reader might want to know about that, and I don't need to read the rest of the book to know it's true! :)
I tend to ignore these reviews because, as you say, many books don't really get started until the middle. How can you review a book without actually having read the entire thing? It's sort of like judging a person without really knowing everything about them. If they state in their review that they only read half of it and they really didn't feel like they could finish it then I suppose that's okay, but personally, I hate reviews which just say, 'I hated it so I stopped reading, it was crap', because they clearly don't know whether the entire book was crap!
Sorry.. rant over! :)
How funny, Christine! I just thought about it, mainly because of the plethora of reviews that lack detail, I guess.
I agree, Laura. Sometimes what seems to be confusing in the beginning is not clarified until the climax of the book, which could be halfway through it. I've read several books written that way. and I've pushed myself to finish them because I knew there had to be more to them, and usually I was right. Interesting thoughts...
Well, reviews that just say they hated the book, it was crap, without going into details are bad reviews whether the reviewer finished the book or not! :)
I'm afraid I don't understand your position at all. You can dislike both people and books without knowing everything about them (and you'll never know everything about a person). Someone holds a gun on me, and I gotta tell you, I don't care where he grew up or even if he has hungry children to feed. I hate him. Why? Because he's holding a gun on me!
Likewise, if the first few chapters of a book are badly written, poorly characterized, completely unbelievable, or any of a couple of dozen other issues, I don't need to know what the ending's about.
In some ways you are right, but honestly, if it takes half the book for a story to get started, then that book is in badly need of restructuring. Although I will say there are some exceptions. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo really didn't get started for me until page 150. Although I saw the movie before reading the book, so that may be to blame. Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice was a slow read as well. It took me six months to finish that book.
You normally don't need to read a whole book to say it's terrible. I can form an opinion on dialogue, voice, syntax, and content from the first chapter.
I agree with Christine. It's fine to 'review' books you don't finish as long as you're upfront that you didn't finish the book and explain why you couldn't. I always find it helpful to look over why other readers couldn't finish a book. There might be problems that I can overlook or there might be problems that I don't want to deal with. It's all very helpful to me as a reader.
That's very true! I wouldn't care too much for someone holding me at gunpoint!
Thanks, Alison. I'm not really arguing against the half read idea, I really just wondered if it happens. Interesting twist on reviews. I think they should let the reader know they only read part of it, definitely.
That goes a lot with my discussion that I published, Do you chose a book base on reviews? I tend to not reviews because of that. I think reviews that are given because they didn't get into the book or that they just rushed through the pages without taking the time to read it.
When I was a kid, I devoured books, but I skimmed them. I was always bored by long paragraphs of description (and still am), and wanted to get to the parts that mattered. Then, my sight went bad, and now I read a lot of audio versions of books...can't skim those. It's amazing how much of the books I was missing! (Even the good ones.)
On a couple of occasions, I've had reviewers offer an excellent review but, at the same time, misunderstand one or another fact or event in my book. It seems to me that they may well have completed reading the book, but they read it hurriedly. If so, I'm not really surprised. For quite a number of reviewers read an incredible number of books. Bill
As far as providing details within a review, I think a lot of reviewers struggle with providing the right amount of summary without posting spoilers. I think at some point we have to recognize that we have described as much as reasonably can and if the reader wants more info then they need to read the book. Personally, if I accept a book for the purpose of reviewing it, then I feel obligated to completely read it before forming my opinion.
I know what you mean about giving details without spoiling the book. And actually, the most frustrating reviews for me to write are the ones in which it was the ENDING that I didn't like. I try to say so, I make generalized statements about how I felt at the end -- lack of resolution, or it didn't make sense, or it was anti-climactic. But I can't provide examples, and even saying that much makes me feel like I'm spoiling things. Still, it's part of my job to describe my reading experience, so there it is.