Long or Short Reviews, What Do You Prefer?

Image from We Heart It.

Each book blogger has his or her own way of writing a review. Some write long reviews, discussing everything from the plot to the characters while others go straight to the point and opt for shorter reviews. I think mine are in between? I’m not really sure what classifies as a long or short review but I try to describe my thoughts and feelings without rambling whenever I put up a post. I’d like to think of my reviews as concise but I’m not sure if that’s how it comes across. There are times when I get excited about writing a review and those end up longer than the usual length of my posts. There are also times when I have a hard time thinking of what to write and I feel like I have to squeeze my brain to come up with a reasonable amount of content. It doesn’t have anything to with the books, it’s just that I run out of words, sometimes.

I don’t mind reading either short or long reviews as long as there are no spoilers and I get a feel of whether the blogger liked the book or not. In my opinion, the voice of the blogger matters more than the length of the review. Each blogger has a way of writing a review and I like how book blogs give us an idea of the personalities of the people behind the blogs. This way, I can get a better idea of a book blogger’s preferences and whether we have similar tastes in books or not. I follow a lot of blogs in my Google Reader so sometimes, I just read the ones about books that I’m interested in – like books in my wishlist or books that I’ve already read. When I finish writing a review for a book, I do a search for other reviews on book blogs so I can include links in my review. It’s always nice to know what other people thought of the book that I just finished and it’s a way to promote fellow book bloggers’ sites.

What about the rest of you, do you prefer short or long reviews? Do you feel like short reviews don’t give you enough information about the book or do you get tired of reading long posts? Who are some of your favorite book bloggers and why do you like their style of reviewing? Basically, I’m just thinking out loud here and wondering if the lengths of reviews matter to blog followers.

25 thoughts on “Long or Short Reviews, What Do You Prefer?

  1. I would rather read a review about their thoughts on the characters, writing style, etc. If I wanted a synopsis, I could just check Amazon or something.

    I’m always torn between writing reviews for an audience that has not read the novel and an audience that has – that way I can discuss issues and ideas that came up through reading.

    • Oh yes, I know what you mean. I keep all my reviews spoiler-free because I want to encourage other people to read the books that I review. Although sometimes, I’m tempted to put in information that only those who’ve read the book will understand. I try to be vague whenever I do that.

  2. Same here, as long as there is no spoilers then I’m good. When it comes to positive reviews, I do however favor the lengthy ones because I feel that if you can say a lot about a book without giving away its plot then it’s probably a good book.
    Though I really love reading spoiler-y reviews after I read the book.

    Sometimes when I review (on goodreads) I can’t help but write the reactions to certain events or when I’m really excited, I gush and gush about everything. Thank God for spoiler tags! 🙂

    • I have a feeling that it goes both ways – whenever you feel strongly about a book, whether you loved it or hated it, you tend to have a lot to say about it. I think I feel the same too, I like seeing detailed reviews after I’ve read the book because I can relate more.

  3. It really depends on who’s writing it. There are long reviews out there that contains only one-third opinion about the book and the rest are painful ramblings about themselves. I am so not impressed with reviewers that throws lots of big words just so people will take them seriously. Those stuffs bore me to death.

    Your two paragraphs long review are just fine. I love them. You can read it in just about two minutes or so. And with all the reviews popping on your reader every-frakkin-day, the short ones get reads more often than the long ones. I wish I can write short reviews. I always try but I end up most of the time with 500-700 word reviews. Just like this comment. I didn’t intend it to be this long but see what sentence I’m already in. *facepalm*

    I prefer long reviews if I’m interested in a certain book and see other’s opinion about it before buying it, and on books I have already read. I prefer short reviews on books I haven’t heard about yet cause it’s not my thing reading 7-8 paragraphs long review about books I haven’t heard about yet. It’s quite unpractical.

    • LOL so you noticed that I try to keep my reviews to just two paragraphs! Although the length of those paragraphs vary. Yep, with the number of new posts that come up in our Google Readers, we tend to skim the longer ones and just read short reviews.

      I agree with what you said, I like reading long reviews when I’ve already finished reading a book. I like checking out short reviews to get a feel of whether I should pick up a certain book.

  4. I like a review which covers all the major points – the basic premise of the book, character development, plot, writing etc. As long as the review contains all of these, both short or long reviews are alright with me. However, I have seen some reviews that are just one paragraph long and just contain the plot synopsis. That’s not a review at all! Further I don’t like reviews which go on and on and on forever. Reviews should be precise and to the point, I believe.
    This may sound weird, but I actually do like spoiler-y reviews, especially when it’s a book that I am super-excited about 😀

    • Wow, I think you’re one of the few people who like reading spoilers! Doesn’t that ruin your reading experience of the book? I like being surprised and finding out things on my own while reading so I try to stay away from spoilers.

      There really are some book reviews that are just one paragraph long. In general, I think most book bloggers cover all of the major points that you mentioned. In my case, I tend to talk more about characters and how I was able to relate to them.

  5. I tend to write long reviews but I think that’s because I’m very talkative, so it follows that I tend to ramble. I try not to ramble so much, though, because I know some people have a short attention span. I try to keep my reviews within a thousand words — and that’s including the blurb already so most of my reviews range from 600-800 words, I think.

    I’m really in between with the length of reviews I like to read. There are some short reviews that really have meat (ex. Adele of Persnickety Snark) and there are long reviews that I really love to read because it goes into detail (ex. The Book Smugglers) and I’m a sucker for details. I guess the length of the review really depends on how the reader saw the book. I would like to see why the book did or did not work for the reader with examples on why it didn’t. Reviews that contain only squeeing or bashing makes my head hurt — that isn’t a review at all, IMHO.

    • I’m also very talkative in real life! My co-workers actually want me to start drinking decaf because they say it get worse when I have caffeine in my system. I don’t usually do a count of the number of words in my reviews but I try to do that when I feel like it’s longer than usual and I make sure than the count is less than a thousand.

      Yep, same here. I follow both of the blogs that you mentioned and I’m a big fan of both. I agree with you, I don’t link mindless squeeing or bashing too. Too much love or hate can be a bad thing.

  6. I’m not too phased what people do. I know if mine start getting too long I try and edit them. I also hardly ever do a synopsis ~ I tend to want to talk about the vibe of the book and how I responded. I love Alpha Readers blog: http://alphareader.blogspot.com/2011/03/between-shades-of-gray-by-ruta-sepetys.html her reviews are always lengthy but broken up and I think they’re masterfully done. She used to be a paid professional reviewer and I think you can tell.

    Other people who write too long reviews ~ I often end up skimming to get the overall conclusion of it all 🙂 as Aaroin said, so many reviews come through the google reader a day!

    Also, on goodread lots of my non-blogging friends write a one paragraph review, just simply, and I love that ~ Its just straight up to the point. I guess blogger would call it a mini review 🙂

    However, i love your reviews, Chachic. they’re a perfect blend not only in length, but in personal response and objective discussion.

    xx Nomes

    • I love the way you review, Nomes. You’ve managed to convince me to read several Aussie YA novels. You’re very enthusiastic and persuasive. 🙂 I follow Alpha Reader and I had no idea that she used to be a professional reviewer. I agree with you, her reviews are very well-written.

      Yep, same here, I usually skim lengthy reviews just to get an idea of the blogger’s opinion. I think this is the result of following so many blogs. LOL.

      Aww thank you so much for the compliment! My reviews are mostly subjective because I talk about how I felt about the books but it’s good to know that you like reading my posts. 🙂

  7. I tend to prefer longer reviews – probably because that’s what I tend to write! While there’s something to be said for the discipline required to keep your reviews to a maximum length, for me some books have more points for discussion than others – the character development in every book isn’t always remarkable, or a book may hit upon one of my favorite subjects so I want to spend time discussing how it was addressed.

    • You have a point, Angela. There are so many things that you can discuss about a book that sometimes, it’s harder to write a short review than a long one. My reviews tend to be longer when there’s a personal experience that I can mention in relation to the book.

  8. I think I am a little bit of both. It depends on the book I’m reading and the authors I like reading. If it’s a book I really liked I try to make it somewhat of a long decent review and reflect on different aspects of the book. If I didn’t like the book or wasn’t really impressed with it. I don’t spend too much time on it. Also if I got something from the book or I noticed what I thought was a message through the book, I will write about it. It all depends.

    • I think that when you end up loving a book, it’s actually more of a challenge to write a short review because you’re more likely to gush on and on about all of the aspects that you liked. Well, that’s what happens to me sometimes. But yes, I agree with what you said that review length depends on a lot of factors.

  9. Generally, I tend to like short reviews if I’m still deciding whether or not to buy or read a book. But if the review is on a book I’ve already read, I enjoy the longer ones that discuss the book in detail.

    Just like Nomes, if a review is too long, I just skim and try to get the gist of it.:)

    • I think we feel the same way. I like reading short or medium-length reviews when I still haven’t read a book. I don’t want to know too much before I read a book because it might affect how I feel about it. Although I enjoy reading long reviews when I’m finished with a book.

  10. I have the same opinion as you do. It doesn’t matter whether it’s long or short as long as at the end of it, I get to know whether the blogger liked the book or not. At times though I look for a rating scale at the end of the reviews just to confirm whether I got the right idea. But it’s really not a requirement for me. Some book bloggers I like don’t have a rating scale, some do.

    • When I started the blog, I was wondering if I should put ratings on my reviews but I decided against it because it’s so hard to rate books! I’d rather go with descriptions than star ratings. I always have a difficult time rating the books that I read whenever I cross-post in Goodreads.

    • Hi Lindsya, I think it is a real laptop cover but I’m not sure where it’s available. I just saw the picture in We Heart It and thought it would be nice to use it as an accompanying image. 🙂

  11. I prefer long reviews if they are more conversational, but that’s because I tend to ramble and I don’t want to be the only one talking too much.

    If reviews are more technical (more of a synopsis of the story), I sometimes prefer for them to be short as I don’t want to read too much about what’s going to happen.

    I do sometimes prefer them longer, especially if I skip a book or give up on it. I like to know what would happen. Sort of like Cliffs Notes.

    • I guess I feel like the conversation will go on in the comments section of the review? I do try to mention some specific things that appealed to me in a certain book so that other people can respond to that if they’ve read the book also.

      LOL you mean you like to read spoilers if you don’t finish a book? I feel the same way although I don’t have a lot of DNFs.

  12. Pingback: Long or Short Reviews, What Do You Prefer? | From Page One

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