I’m having a bookish problem. And the problem is that I feel like I rarely ever get to actually discuss specific books.
See, I read a book, I review the book, I get some comments (mostly from people who haven’t read the book), I read some other reviews on Goodreads, maybe I mention or recommend the book in other types of posts… and that’s it. There’s no actual discussion going on in there! And that makes me sad.
Is it just me that this happens to? Is this a widespread bookworm problem? Does anyone else actually want to discuss specific books? I don’t know. I need answers and advice and people to vent to, so let’s discuss 🙂
I think I summarized it pretty well in the intro, right? And I also mentioned this in my 2018 goals post. The problem is that writing and reading reviews is not the same as actually talking about or discussing a book.
Reviews Don’t Say Everything
For one thing, I don’t know about you all, but I leave a lot out of my reviews—and even now they’re already long. So if I put every single thought I had about a book into my review, it would be a ridiculous length. There’s what I liked, what I disliked, my thoughts on each character, my favorite scenes, things that affected me emotionally, things I related to, things I thought were cute or sweet, things that aggravated me, things that were just plain weird, my favorite quotes… there are so many things that I have thoughts about when I read books (although it obviously depends on the book to an extent). And I know that not all those things will truly be helpful in a review, especially if the review becomes too long for people to bother reading.
Reviews are Too Formal
For another thing, reviews are more formal than discussions and conversations. Granted my reviews are not exactly what I’d call professional—I curse and fangirl and do other weird things sometimes—but I’m still more guarded with what I say in reviews because I know it’s going to be something people read to try and decide whether they want to read a book or not or maybe even something an author or publisher reads (I don’t mean that influences me to write a positive review, just that it influences me to write the best review possible regardless of the rating).
Reviews are One-Sided
For yet another thing, reviews are mostly one-sided. Yeah, people comment, but even if the person has read the book, the comment is usually something along the lines of, “I loved the book too! I agree that the character development was fantastic!” I myself have made comments like that because reviews just aren’t always a format that’s very conducive to conversation. Don’t get me wrong, I love and appreciate every single comment I get on my review posts, whether the commenter has read the book or not, whether they’re interested in or are just happy for me that I liked it, etc.! But comments are usually not the same as a discussion when it comes to specific books. Without a back-and-forth exchange, you don’t get to delve deeper into anything.
I suppose one solution would be to have discussion posts about specific books, things that are separate from (or included with) the reviews. That would only work if the book were popular though, and I rarely read popular books. If I tried to have a discussion for an indie/self-pub book, it would just flop because, if none of my followers have read it, they wouldn’t be able to contribute. And the reality is that the post would mostly be seen by my followers, not other readers of the book, because how many people actually go searching on Google or social media for discussion posts about every book they read? And I have a feeling that even a discussion post for a popular book might be hard to pull off since it’d likely turn out like the review. But if you had something really specific in mind to discuss about a well-known book though, or just a topic in a book, I suppose a discussion post could work.
Book clubs have always seemed super fun to me because I feel like discussing books is literally the whole point, right? There are real life book clubs and online book clubs on Goodreads, so that means really anyone can find one. Except my first issue there is that I’m a mood reader and would never be in the right mood at the right time for the book being read. The other problem is that I just don’t know how to interact with people online. Ok, that sounds weird since I interact with you all every week by writing posts, responding to comments, visiting other blogs, etc., but this took me time to get the hang of. And I still feel socially awkward trying to insert myself into a group of strangers online in a forum/group sort of situation. I don’t understand the etiquette, I find it hard to know what to say or how to act without all those visual and verbal cues you get in real life, and I always feel like an awkward outsider.
There are also Goodreads and Facebook groups for specific authors/books/series. I know that at least a few of the books I’ve read have Facebook groups. But I run into the same problem with those—I don’t know how to interact. Also, from the little I’ve seen of these types of groups, the conversation seems to be kind of similar to the comments on reviews—skimming the surface with general (albeit maybe spoiler-filled) comments like, “This book was so amazing! I can’t believe the ending!” and then everyone agrees. (But I could be seriously generalizing there because I said, I’ve never actually immersed myself into any of these groups.)
Commenting on Goodreads
Something I have tried on a couple occasions, since I read mostly indie books and therefore don’t usually know anyone who’s read them, is commenting on random people’s reviews on Goodreads. I mean, hey, they’ve read the book, so maybe they’ll want to discuss! Who cares if we’re strangers since we have this book in common! That’s really hit or miss though. I’ve had some people respond, but I’ve had other comments get ignored. And from my post about using Goodreads, I now know that a lot of people really only use GR to post reviews or keep track of what they’ve read, and they aren’t social on it.
Chatting with Friends
Last but not least, chatting one-on-one (in person or online) with a friend who’s also read the book is definitely an option. Except, obviously, that requires having a friend who has also read the book and is willing to chat. And you have to read it close enough together that you both still remember it. It also requires that the book in common be one that you actually care enough to discuss (because let’s face it, some books you really don’t have anything to say about beyond whatever you wrote in the review). And here’s where the fact that I’m mostly an indie reader becomes a problem again. I have some popular books though, so what’s my excuse for those? I guess I don’t always know who would be interested in chatting and, in some, I just don’t know what to say or how to get the conversation started.
Talk Books with Me!
I don’t know if I’m alone here with this problem, but if anyone reads any of the same books as me and wants to chat about them or about anything specific that happened in them or about your favorite character, send me a message on Twitter or Goodreads or email or something! We don’t even have to agree, I like debating disagreements over things in books too 🙂
Yes! There are so many times where I want to discuss certain aspects of a book or go into detail of why I felt a certain way about parts, but have to leave it out of my reviews. Often times it isn’t that I want to have a back-and-forth conversation about it, I ust want to go into more depth with massive spoilers.
Yup. Same here 🙂
Maybe we should all just divide our reviews into non-spoiler and spoiler sections lol.
Not a bad idea lol.
That’s basically what I’m doing with my Vampire Chronicles reviews though, and Tbh, it’s not really creating much discussion lol. It is kinda satisfying though, to be able to freely say everything I want to say!
You know, you got me thinking now. I should try adding a spoilery section to some of my reviews- see what happens. Yeah probably won’t generate much, but if enough of us do it maybe it’ll catch on. 🙂 And TBH I sometimes look at my old reviews to remember stuff- but if I don’t put spoilers in I’m not remembering the crucial stuff anyway?!?
At least you’re generating discussoin about discussion lol!
Go for it! If nothing else, like you said, it helps YOU remember when you reread your review in the future! And you never know. I mean, my VC reviews haven’t got much discussion going, but apparently they’ve got a lot of people wanting to read or reread the books lol.
I see this in reviews on the popular BookTubers’ channels, but I’m not sure how much discussion actually happens from it since I don’t check comments on videos that often.
I’ve been doing this on my reviews for the Vampire Chronicles, but it hasn’t seemed to create any more discussion than regular reviews for me :-/ But maybe it would work better for certain books.
That too. Sometimes there are more things I want to say, but I can’t because spoilers, and because it will make my review ridiculously long.
I totally feel you on this one. I was debating for a while on writing reviews AND then writing another post about the same book that was spoilery and basically me talking about more specific things in the book– and I still might do that for some books in the future, but you’re so right that it probably still wouldn’t produce the discussions that I want to have. The thing I do when I read a book that I’m dying to get emotions out about is: I go to Goodreads and see if any of my bookish friends have marked the book as read and then I DM them on Twitter and like force them to talk to me about it.
Also, I joined a YA book club in my city a few years back and it’s been awesome. I’m a total mood reader too, so I don’t always read the book, but most of the girls in the club read other books and are YA librarians, so even if they haven’t read the book I want to talk about, they want to hear about it for their jobs. I don’t know what area you live in, but I totally recommend Forever Young Adult Book Clubs (they have a database of all the book clubs and their contact information).
I don’t even bother because I know that the books I read aren’t popular enough to get a discussion going. That’s a good idea, forcing your bookish friends who’ve read the book to discuss it with you, hahaha.
Oh that sounds cool! I’ll have to look that up 🙂
I run into this exact problem too. There are books I really, really want to talk about and discuss because they have seriously affected me (The Gray House by Mariam Petrosyan! The Dollmaker by Harriet Arnow!) but because I do tend to read niche books, there’s no one else around at the time I’m raving to join in. Occasionally my OH and I can organise to read the same book within a month of each other, but usually even that doesn’t work out.
Group Reads are probably the answer but, like you say, getting enough of us in the mood to read the same book at the same time – it would be like herding cats!
Ugh, it’s such a problem finding people to talk w/ when the books you love aren’t super popular! And yeah, even reading the same book within a month of another person can be hard because of mood reading or life getting in the way. So yeah, I imagine group reads would be even harder!
For me it’s spoilers. Sometimes I do want to wirite all the spoilers and go ‘WHHHYYYYY did the author do that?’ and have someone talk to me about it. but also, we’re a bunch of diverse readers, so we don’t always have crossovers. Maybe I should try a spoiler filled review next week and see if that creates discussion?
I mean, I think spoiler filled reviews are fine as long as they’re marked as such! But as to whether it will create discussion, I guess it depends on the book? Or maybe depends on exactly what you’re discussing, if it’s something people who haven’t read the book can chime in on too?
I belonged to a book club for about 6 years with a bunch of friends, and we’d take turns choosing a book each month and then we’d meet at a restaurant to discuss it. It was so much fun, but you do run the risk of having to read books you just don’t like. I’ve also tried leaving comments on Goodreads, and it is hit or miss. Sometimes people leave negative comments on MY reviews and it really bugs me. Like they’re trying to start a fight?
Oh that does sound fun! But yeah, my issue would be that I’m picky and would prob end up not liking most of the books lol. GR comments are def hit or miss. But that’s just rude for people to leave argumentative comments! If I’m gonna comment on a stranger’s review, it’s because I agree and we feel the same way about something! The only exception would be if it were a blogger I talk to often and I know they don’t mind respectfully discussing things we disagree about.
I really, really, REALLY want to figure out a more conversational way to review and talk about books but I just don’t know how.
I mean if you say too much – does anyone care to read it all if they have’t read the book? But too little and that may get someone to read the book but do they come back to discuss??
I have several friends to discuss books with and we mostly do it through DM’s, or texting. We either happen to have read the same book or love the same author and do buddy reads. That’s always a lot of fun.
I guess (& it’s something I’m going to be trying) you could do general discussion posts but using books as the spring board. Talk about something like tropes, or genres but base it on a book you just read/or have read.
I did write a super spoilery discussion post about a favorite series that ended – I marked it as such and even the author was involved to talk about it and answer questions. It was a smaller series so it wasn’t a huge group of commentors but that was kind of fun.
And this comes at the prefect moment because I just finished The Glamour Thieves (your rec) & would be willing to discuss! lol
For What It’s Worth
Exactly, if you say too much, anyone who hasn’t read the book prob doesn’t care. Too little, and anyone who has read the book doesn’t have much to say.
I have one friend who reads some of the same books as me, and on occasion we’ve read them at the same time (usually when a new one in a series comes out), and we’ve gotten to discuss. It’s great when that happens!
I’ve considered doing general discussions w/ a book as a springboard, but that still doesn’t seem quite the same as talking about the book? That’s really cool you had a discussion that the author got involved in though!
Ahhhhh I saw you just read it, you should DM me XD I think I still remember the book well enough to discuss, haha.
I often want to discuss things too, but know that if I did it would be a spoiler, and so I just have tip toe around it. I am part of a few book clubs though, and that does help. Only it does mean that I end up reading some books that I might not necessarily choose myself. On the upside, I often end up liking them anyway, and I don’t mind experimenting.
I do sometimes include spoilers, just hidden and marked, but even that doesn’t usually get discussion going. I’m sure book clubs would have great discussion, but yeah, I think I’d end up not liking a lot of the books lol. I’m glad you ended up liking the books you wouldn’t have otherwise chose though!
I’ve actually been thinking about doing more discussion posts centered around specific books to invite more conversation about specific books because I totally agree: it seems like I never talk about specific plot points or anything with anybody because I don’t want to go too into depth in my reviews for spoiler purposes and everything.. I used to be really involved with Goodreads but lately I haven’t had much time for it but that was always the place for me to fangirl about a specific character or something. I used to be a part of a book club but when I went off to university, I couldn’t do it anymore and I haven’t been able to find another book club since then.
That would be great if the posts centered around a specific book actually get some discussion going! That sucks about not being able to find another good book club though :-/
This. I totally feel this way. I write a review and have to watch for spoilers when in reality I WANT to discuss spoilers, lol. And yes the formality of reviews *nods*
As for solutions- I think discussion posts are great, albeit with the limitations you list. An example that comes to mind is Nicole’s discussion posts on the Three Dark Crowns series over at Feed Your Fiction Addiction. Those books are rife with discussion material, and I think she got tons of comments- but again, those are popular books and you’re right about indies/ self-pub. You might not get the level of discussion. But then again who knows?
I’ve thought for a while tha a RL book club would be fun- but again, just like some online clubs, would I like the books being chosen? I’m a mood reader too, so… yeah. One thing though about some GR clubs is you just participate when they’re reading something you like, and if they’re not- skip that month. Not ideal, granted…
I’m not social on Goodreads, so I’m one of those, although I’d like to be- I mean everyone’s there lol- but it’s just a time thing. And the sad part I joined some groups that look awesome- regular discussions, challenges, buddy reads- if I had time I could spend hours there! Ha ha is that good or bad?? In fact that’s one area I’d like to take advantage of- if I can find time, I barely make it onto Twitter sometimes!
What if you started your own club? A group for indie/ self-pub should (?) attract people who want to discuss the same kinda books? On Goodreads you’d attract a lot of people who already know you, plus the indie crowd?
For me I guess the solution is just to do a discussion post if it’s a book I REALLY want to discuss, and I’d like to do more. But yeah it’s not ideal and would be tougher with indies, for sure. IDK, but great discussion post! 🙂
I mean, I feel like it’s ok to mention spoilers as long as they’re marked? But still, if the people reading your review haven’t read the book, doesn’t do much good!
I do love the idea of a book club and imagine they must have great discussions, I just feel like they wouldn’t work for me. Although that’s a good point that an online club would be less strict and I could just skip any books I’m not into…
Gah, it would be amazing if everyone were more social on GR! But even I have my limits there because I feel like no one else will be social and then I’ll just be alone talking about a book or something lol.
Maybe I should start some sort of indie SFF group or something.
I think you should! See what happens. Maybe it’ll work. I think Goodreads has SO much potential to generate bookish (and yes spoilery) discussion, even though I’m like the worst on GR lol. But hey it’s a new year- I’ll try. 🙂 There’s one group on there I joined recently- it’s YA though- but they are SO active it’s like, shit, I could do these buddy reads or chats or whatever but I barely have time now. But the interaction would be awesome, I’m sure.
And yeah while I like the idea of meeting a RL club at a coffee shop or whatever, I think an online one would work better for me too.
Maybe in the future I will. Right now I’m kind of struggling just to blog lol. Or I can look and see if there any already out there. GR really does have so much potential! There are even ways you can start up a convo about a specific book, and you can see a list of convos going on about books you’ve shelved as read, but again, these kinds of things don’t work if the book isn’t popular enough and if no one is social over there. So I’ve never tried that. Maybe I ought to give that a try though for some books, see what happens.
Great post! Even though I love the book blogging community and all of the discussions we have, I definitely agree that we don’t really talk about specific books. The rare exceptions are the super-hyped and popular books that already have a massive following of readers. One of the main reasons I started a book blog was to discuss books since a lot of the people in my real life aren’t really into reading. While I still have a ton of great conversations with bloggers and readers, the conversations are more about books in general (like tropes, genres, and over-arching concepts) instead of specific books.
I love doing more general discussions and I strongly believe that those are just as necessary as talking about specific books. However, I do think that we have strayed from diving into the depths of books for fear of spoilers, lower views, and less engagement. There have been times when I considered writing one general review of a book and then writing another review/discussion with more specificity, detail, and spoilers. However, I don’t really have the motivation to write two separate posts when I already know that there would not be as much engagement.
One of my goals for 2018 is to use social media more, especially through twitter chats. There are quite a few bookish Twitter chats and book clubs that are trying to encourage discussions about particular books too, but they can be a little hard to find. I feel like social media is a good medium for discussing specific books without the commitment of writing an entire blog post.
Same, I love all the discussions, but they’re more about books in general, and I’d like to discuss specific books in addition to that. Writing two reviews is way too much work lol, but you could divide your review into a non-spoiler and spoiler section? That’s basically what I’ve been doing with my Vampire Chronicles reviews, actually, but even that hasn’t gotten much discussion going, despite those being really well-known books. So idk what the solution is.
Twitter chats confuse me??! Lol. But that’s a good point about using social media to chat about a book instead of a whole post!
I think a discussion post about a book is a great idea as long as you’ve got a wide enough reach to catch enough people.
I read a lot of indie and self-published books so there will be less people who may have read them too.
Exactly, it might work, but only if you read popular enough books and/or have a lot of followers in order to reach people who’ve read the book.
I definitely have this problem as well. I just read the book and review it and that’s it. I talked with my sister a few times over books when we had read the same books, which is fun. And even tough the chats might not be long, we often talk about details or specific scenes in a way I rarely discus books.
I think a big part of this is also because I read a lot of indie books and many people haven’t read the books I read, but even with the more popular books or when some people have read it, it rarely goes into a discussion.
I do think review aren’t the best format for discussing books indeed. I love reviewing and reading review,s but they rarely do seem to go over in discussions. But I also wouldn’t know how to invite more discussion on reviews. I often try and ask a question and that helps a bit, but even then it stays limited.
I remember when I just joined Goodreads I participated in some buddy reads or group discussions and with the use of spoiler tags you could discuss things in more detail then. So I do think groups like that lend themselves better for it. I’ve also seen some author specific groups or spoiler threads. But then you still have the issue of timing and wanting to discuss the same book at the same time.
I do like the idea of book clubs, but never really joined one either. I’ve only done a few buddy reads. And just like you i am a moodreader and often am not in the mood anymore when it’s time to read the book. And for a book club I feel like you do have to find a group of similar minded people or people you click with for it to be really fun. I also can be a bit socially awkward and actually would prefer an online book club over one in real life.
I like the idea of discussion posts, but at the same time those posts would only be interesting for people who have read the book and probably would work best for popular books. Chatting with friends is also a good option, but like you it can be hard to get the conversation started and you both have to read the same book and want to chat about it. I actually never tried the whole comment on Goodreads thing, but that does seem like a good idea to try.
I guess it just seems really difficult to have a good in depth discussion about a book. And even tough there are options, those aren’t always ideal either. Maybe now that I bought a few books you have read we can discuss one of those once I’ve read them :).
Yeah, this is esp a prob for us indie readers. And like you said, even when I do read the same book as someone, I rarely discuss it anyway.
I ask a question after my review too, but that only does so much :-/
I think I’ll have to look a little more into GR groups or book clubs or something. But mood reading is such an issue with those!
None of the options are ideal -_- But hey, if you wanna chat about any of those books I rec’d when you finish them, I’m in!
Love this -and you’re so right. We never really get to discuss a book or series when we’re reviewing, especially because you don’t want to give away too much in a review. I know I read people’s reviews and it’s pretty rare that they are talking about a book I’ve read – maybe I want to read it, but I might not have read it already. Nicole from Feed Your Fiction Addiction has done a couple “Spoiler Book Reviews” – I haven’t read them as I haven’t read the book yet, but I know they were really popular because it’s for people that have already read the books and don’t have to worry about giving things away. I can see how this would be harder for indie books but it’s a thought!
Same, most of the reviews I read on blogs are for books I haven’t read. Nicole mentioned her spoiler ones and how they did well. Apparently she chose good books to write them about! I feel like it wouldn’t work for every book though, especially indie.
This is a REALLY good point! I find that basically the ONLY place I can discuss books in depth is just on a one-on-one or small group format. Because even on Twitter, Goodreads, etc, I feel like you have to be soooo careful of spoilers. So unless it’s a DM or something, I pretty much never flat out TALK about books. But I totally agree that it would be better if there were more options. Sadly, unless it’s a super popular book, I think our options will always be pretty limited.
And you’re right about chatting about books, because even though I bet a LOT of people would be game, it’s hard to know who has read what! I guess you could always just tweet “hey, anyone want to chat about X book?” and I bet people will answer! I have that happen on Twitter- I’ll see someone tweet about a book and then end up talking to them privately about it. Worth a shot, I suppose! Great post 😀
I mean, I’m happy just with DMing lol, but in order to do that you need to have someone else who has read the book, and read it recently enough they remember it, and also wants to discuss it. So it’d be nice if there were a better way for people to find each other in order to discuss. But yeah, when it’s not a popular book, definitely limited.
I guess tweeting might be worth a shot sometimes! But again, I’m over here reading the books no one has heard of lol. Maybe I’ll try it for the more pop books 😉
I definitely have that problem! I also have the problem where I read a review, like your review of the Verania books, and I want to discuss but I don’t want to leave spoilers all over the reviews comment section! It is hard to find someone, and then discuss a book freely.
Sometimes I get around that by posting a discussion piece with a friend on my blog, warning that there are spoilers, but it would even be nice if there was a private chat option or something, lol. I definitely feel your pain with this one. Discussing everything is why I decided to blog in the first place.
Ah, well, you can always DM me if you wanna talk spoilers!
The discussion thing on the blog sounds fun. I was just talking to someone about possibly doing something like that. But it’s just hard to find someone to talk with in the first place. Seriously, you’d think having a blog would be the solution, but it’s not!
Grr, for some reason all my comment notifications for your blog were going to my spam!
I’ll definitely DM you next time! You can count on it for the last Verania book! Thanks
Ugh, yeah, that happens sometimes. Yay, can’t wait to chat about the next Verania book! (Don’t think I realized it would be the last!)
He said it would be the last from Sam’s point of view, but there’s some talk about going further and doing something for Justin. Which, I would totally love that!
I would totally read some books from Justin’s POV! I always kind of liked him and felt for him, even in the first book.
Yay, we’ll be able to fangirl over his together XD
Good point. Commenting on reviews is definitely the main way. You could also give examples from books in posts – like if you’re talking about character motives or what makes a good anti-hero or something. That might get a discussion going?
I mean, I have tried giving examples sometimes? But it still just gets the same type of comments and no real discussion. I suppose you could do a whole discussion post based around something in a book, but then it’s still not really about the book, you know? It’s just so hard to find a solution!
I agree! I even joined an in-person book club with some friends last year, but most members were more interested in drinking coffee or cocktails rather than talking about the book 😐 Maybe monthly read-alongs are another way to spark discussion? Especially if the wrap-up post had more questions than a summary, or you had a hashtag for participants to use when they talked about their progress on Twitter? 🙂
Aww, that would be disappointing :-/ Monthly read-alongs might work to create discussion, except idk if it’s work for me because of mood reading lol. But ooh, including questions would be a great idea! I was actually just talking to someone who suggested starting a monthly thing like that, so maybe I will be giving that a shot at some point 🙂
My coblogger and I sometimes post discussions for specific books. However, it is difficult to get comments because people need to have read that specific book (and maybe fairly recently). Even when we’ve done posts on popular books, such as Meyer’s Heartless, the interaction wasn’t that high. I’m not sure why.
I love the idea of posting discussions for specific books, but yeah, I feel like that wouldn’t get that much interaction. It has to be a book your followers have read, and then, I don’t know, maybe blog posts are just not the best avenue for discussion when it comes to specific books.
Part of the problem may be that most bloggers seem not to read other comments on a post. (At least, I tend to get a bunch of comments all observing the same thing, so I must assume they didn’t read anyone else’s input.) So there’s not really a discussion happening like there might in a discussion forum. I think, too, that maybe it’s difficult for bloggers to come back to posts. My feed only shows me other WordPress blogs so I have to remember to check back other places. And if someone waits a long time to reply to my comment and then it shows up in my feed, I might not remember what they were talking about. In other words, the conversation isn’t happening all in one easy-to-follow place, so I guess that makes conversation more unlikely to happen.
To be fair, I do sometimes read comments, but I still repeat the same thing since those are my thoughts too lol. It’s definitely also a problem if blogs don’t have a way to notify you of replies. I forget to check usually. But yeah, blog posts are just not as conducive to discussion as a forum.
My guess is that this is what book clubs are really for. And you could probably do discussion posts that are book club like on your blog to make up for this gap!
I agree, I think book clubs are generally the solution, except they would never work for me cuz of my pickiness and mood reading. Discussion posts about books sounds fun, except I think no one would comment lol.
I actually ran a book group for several months because of this – several people that I know wanted to discuss books more, but didn’t know how.
However, attendance was spotty and I was stressing trying to keep everything together, so I said forget about i.
Yeah, sometimes there are bookish things I want to do, but I know I don’t have the time/energy. That’s too bad your book group didn’t work out :-/
Writing reviews is so hard. I feel like I am so vague, but it’s because being too specific would maybe result in revealing a spoiler. I have seen spoiler discussion posts, which are so much fun. It’s marked properly, so read at your own risk, and the discussion are usually great, because nothing is off limits from the book. My dream is to have an IRL book club, but I have not found one yet. My friends don’t really read, but I am hoping when my daughter graduates, that she reads a little again (it could happen).
I think spoiler discussions are totally fair game as long as they’re marked, but it would still only work for super popular books :-/ An IRL book club would be amazing if you all had similar tastes. I imagine real life would be the best way to actually discuss! Well I hope you can at least have your daughter to chat books with soon!
The common thread I’m seeing is that we’re not sure how to go about starting discussions that will actually get people commenting. Popularity is clearly a factor, like you’ve said. I can only think that a discussion post might do something, but how do you reach out to people who are reading it at the same time as you? Some discussions about books make me want to read the book if I haven’t read it before, but I’m in the minority of people who don’t get upset about reading most spoilers.
That’s the thing. Popularity is a big factor, and each of our blogs only has so many followers. So maybe other people have read the book, but they’d have to find your discussion, which is unlikely. I can see how a discussion might make you interested in a book, but I’m one of those people who hates spoilers!
Most people don’t read the books I do either. There aren’t too many prepper apocalypse and self published zombie fans around me! It doesn’t bother me though-I talk to my dad about them, and I’m content just reviewing them in the hope others will enjoy it. Greg just did a recent review where the first half of his book was the review that us casual comment leavers can comment on and then he had a discussion half to the post that fans who have read it can comment further on. I see you were chatting a bit to him in the comments about this and I think it is the best solution for a blog. Not all fans of a book want to have time consuming discussions about it of course but some might. And you need to pick the books others have read. Not easy…
Yeah, it’s tough when you don’t read the same books as most other people. I mean, my Vampire Chronicles reviews are half normal review, half spoiler-filled, but that hasn’t really created any discussion. It’s got some people interested in the books, but that’s about it. And those are really well-known books. Maybe for some books it would work better though.
I feel the same way. Blogging is kind of weird, really, because you’re having a one sided conversation with yourself when you’re writing a post. And the thing about comments is so true. I love comments, but it’s a very limited form of interaction.
As for Goodreads and other online groups; I don’t know how to interact either. So I mostly lurk, and wonder how others make it seem so natural lol I’m a member of a few groups at the moment, and I’m just thinking about leaving, because what is the point if I’m not going to SAY anything.
I’ve thought about saying ‘hey I feel like reading this book, anyone want to read it and have a chat in a week or two?’ on twitter, but I haven’t. Because I feel like a bit of a black sheep with what I read haha (and it’s twitter, your tweet is live for 0.5 seconds and then buried *shrugs*)
Yeah, it is kind of like having a whole conversation w/ yourself, then posting it. But that’s why it doesn’t bring about a lot of convo in return, I guess, cuz we’re just saying everything at once. Comments are wonderful, but yes, def limited.
Seriously, I’m such a lurker and don’t know how everyone else does it so naturally! I feel like I never quite fit in.
I’m a black sheep with what I read too, so I feel like shouting on Twitter wouldn’t work for me either lol. And also, yeah, maybe someone out there also wants to read it but they won’t even see your tweet -_-
Honestly, unless it’s a book I”m super excited about or have already read and want to talk about with people – I never read or watch reviews. Even then, most of the time I just talk about it with a friend. Book clubs have worked for some people, but I rarely do them because I hate the feeling of “having” to read a book. So, I’m a bigger fan of buddy reading it. Either with a friend who hasn’t read it yet either and we read it together. Or, I’ve had people say “I can’t wait for you to read this PLEASE chat with me as you are so I can see your reactions!” Which has been super fun in the past.
I also hate the feeling of having to read a book, like I’m wasting my time forcing myself to read something I don’t want to read. Buddy reading is a good one. I end up buddy reading kind of by accident sometimes, like when the new book in a series comes out. That does end up leading to good discussion!
I definitely find this too! My reviews are definitely more formal in style than my discussion posts, and I miss out a lot for length (technically these days I’m supposed to be writing mini reviews, but they never turn out that way!), so they don’t really result in the kind of in-depth discussion of the book that it would be nice to have.
Your suggestions definitely make a lot of sense, but as you say, they are drawbacks. I’m quite shy both in real life and online, so I’d feel pretty awkward joining a book club or Facebook group too! I really like the discussion post thing, but as you say, that would probably only work for more popular and well-known books.
I think the only option really is for us bookworms to try forcing the people in our real life to be bookworms too, and then we get to have loads of book discussions! 🙂
I have one bookworm friend in real life, although we have quite different taste, so I always get so ridiculously excited when it turns out we’ve read the same book!
Great post! 🙂
Yeah, reviews just don’t get the same level of discussion because they are more formal usually.
It’s so awkward trying to insert yourself into a group like that! I never know what to do or say! But maybe we have to confront our fears and try it?? It seems like it might be the best solution since discussion posts for books def have limitations.
Lol I love that your solution is just to force people to be bookworms XD
Love this post! Yes, I agree!
I would like to really dissect a book sometime and not just write something that looks like a term paper 🙂
Maybe have spoiler discussions, where readers are warned going in that things will be given away? Maybe a separate blog just for this purpose with a group of like-minded bloggers? Thanks for writing this. Got me thinking. I just returned to blogging and don’t want to keep writing formal reviews and have commenters say “me too”.
Same! But I have no idea where to share these dissected thoughts because they would be kind of out of place in a review. If you wanna try separate spoiler discussions, go for it! Maybe they’ll end up getting some real discussion going 🙂
It is true that there is rarely any real interaction below a review posts. Often it is just a great review kind of comment. It is hard because I also like to keep my reviews spoiler free and therefor there might even be little to discuss even for those that have read the book as well.
Maybe you can try and find people on twitter who have also read the indie books through hashtags?
Exactly. Reviews just aren’t conducive to discussion. And sometimes there’s just not much to discuss anyway.
I will have to try that!
I also want to discuss books with others which is why I belong to a few book club groups on Facebook. It helps because I don’t have any friends that read the same books as I do. I also have convos with friends IRL and we talk about books, but I also read other books that they don’t normally read so….
I also read book reviews of books I read or haven’t read on blogs, but these are books that interest me. I also reply to people who discuss things on GR, but not a lot of people interact with me there… LOL I wish there were people who discuss reviews, tho.. I have seen a few comments on my review posts because I include a discussion question in the review itself… it has helped a little bit. 🙂
I am going to have to try the GR or FB group thing because I also don’t have any friends who’ve read a lot of the books I read.
Yeah, I’ve tried commenting on GR, hoping someone will want to discuss, but I don’t get much interaction either! It’s just hard to find people to discuss with lol.
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Thanks for sharing!
This isn’t just a you problem, I think this is a problem we all have. Some books I get to discuss with folks but those tend to be the big books everyone is talking about or books which I’ve read after seeing another blogger review and then they might discuss it with me. It’s a difficult one. I definitely think book clubs are the best place along with Goodreads to have discussions. It’s either that or you need to be a book pusher and force others to read and soon as you notice they’ve read it start chatting with folks. It’s not easy, and it’s not something easily solved but I think it’s a continual issue we all have. It sucks, doesn’t it? Because sometimes you just want to flail over a book with someone and there isn’t anyone there to do it with.
Yeah, when I read a book someone else has reviewed or they read one cuz of my review, that’s sometimes a good chance to discuss! Lol about being a book pusher. It’s def a problem though! But maybe writing this post will get people discussing more, or at least get people to DM when they’ve read a book I’ve read lol.
You bring up a great point. We don’t do enough actual discussion of books. I have read some spoilery reviews with some guessing and that was actually a discussion of the book. I guess you always risk spoiling it for someone, though. Maybe we should write and comment on more of those types of posts? I will keep this in mind with my next review.
I feel the same way about interacting online. It always feels forced and then if no one responds it is awkward as hell.
I mean, it’s not even that I’m worried about spoilers? Like, if a post is clearly marked, then spoilers are fair game. It’s just that those types of posts only work if the book is super popular and people actually want to discuss it. But ugh, yeah, I always feel so awkward trying to chat in groups online lol. I think I might try and make myself interact more in some groups though and see what happens. Maybe I’ll get the hang of it and feel less awkward. Thanks!
Commenting on Goodreads is where I usually get some discussion, but is hard because I don’t want to put any spoilers in the comments and the same is true on blog reviews, I am super careful about this because that was how I was spoiled for both Insurgent and Ruin and Rising. I usually Messenger PM bloggers who are my friends on Facebook. I do this a lot with Annemieke, and an three or four other bloggers. I suppose we could use Goodreads PMs more; maybe we should all start talking about doing that. It makes perfect sense.
I tried doing a spoilery discussion blog post about The Cursed Child. Jolene from Jo’s Book Blog and I buddy read it when it first came out, so we asked each other questions about it, and we both promoed it all over the place, asking everyone to come and leave their opinions and it ended up being one of the least viewed and commented on posts of that year. I didn’t try another one because I figured if a book everyone was ranting and raving about couldn’t draw in discussion, what book could? ?
Idk, I try commenting on GR sometimes, but it’s never really led to much discussion, and half the time I just get ignored lol. But yeah, it’s tough because I don’t like to leave spoilers in comments either. I sometimes DM on Twitter, but for me the prob is that that still requires knowing someone who’s read the same book within a close enough time frame and who wants to discuss.
That’s exactly what I fear would happen if I tried a discussion post for a book on my blog. Even popular books prob wouldn’t get much interaction :-/
Girl, I feel ya! It’s tough because I feel like I am never reading the same books as my bookish friends. So I can’t comment fully on their reviews and the same thing vice versa. Also, I think it’s still hard if you have someone that has read the book because you can’t comment on the posts with spoilers!! For example if I read the same book as someone else who posted a review on it I can’t comment everything I may want to say on their blog post because I don’t want people who haven’t read it to see spoilers. I’m not sure what would be a good way to help with more book discussion. Maybe more buddy reads and DM’s on Twitter? But sometimes (at least for me) it’s difficult for me to plan to read the same thing as someone at or around the same time. Ugh, it’s a mess really. Anyway, sorry for rambling. Excellent post and great points though! Let me know your thoughts if you come up with any kind of solution(s)!
Exactly! It’s tough when you don’t read the same books as other people. And yeah, I don’t like putting spoilers in comments either. I mean, you can DM if you’re friends with them, but that still requires knowing someone who’s read the book recently enough, so that’s still hard to find! Esp since it’s difficult for me to plan reading too and stresses me out. It is a mess trying to figure this out lol. No good solutions! But so far for me the best solution is just DMing whenever I do find someone who’s read the same book!
You’re absolutely right – this happens a lot!
What can we do?
Maybe we could chat about books we’ve specifically read in the comments of a review section? I’m definitely open to discussing things in more detail in books that I’ve read. And for your blog (not for everyone’s though) I get a notification that I’ve had a response and I pop back to read it.
Buddy reads are also a great way to discuss things in depth and I think that’s part of the reason I love them so much. We dissect everything as we read and discuss at length the chapters we’ve read. They’re kind of like a mini book club.
The biggest issue that I have is that I don’t have any real life clubs close to me and only a couple of my irl friends read similar books to me. So online is my best source of discussion and debate over the books that I’ve read.
If you ever want to chat in depth about books I’ve read I’m definitely in for that! In fact, I’m going back to your Shadow Weave review because I have a question about something you said. Do you know if it’s possible to spoiler tag your comments here? I’m on my phone and lazy to look it up! ?
Yeah I have a plugin to notify people when I’ve responded to a comment, but even that only does so much. Blog posts still aren’t that conducive to actual discussion.
Buddy reads would be great! But I just hate the idea of having to plan out my reading like that. But when I just happen to read the same as someone around the same time, it works out well if that other person wants to discuss too! Like we did on Twitter XD We’ll definitely do that more often in the future, at least for Annette Marie books since we both read those!
I would imagine that this would be a lot harder when you tend to read niche books by self-pubbed or indie authors. One of the reasons I tend to gravitate toward mainstream published books is because you can discuss them a bit more. I don’t really have any good advice to give, though—the Goodreads route seems good, but I get what you mean about a lot of people not paying attention to comments there. (I’ve been guilty of missing some myself!)
IT IS. That is my problem lol. But I’m not going to force myself to read books I’m not interested just because they’re popular so that I can discuss them, you know? Actually, I tried that once, just to understand the hype about some series, and I just got burnt out by the end of the month. So I’ll just have to find some other solutions!
My favourite thing when it comes to book blogs is when I see a book I’ve read too. Then I can talk all spoiler-y and actually discuss. It’s what happens with me and Goodreads too – if I know someone has also read the book and their review pops up I will comment over there and really discuss with them. It’s why I try (I fail at this but I WILL get better) at posting reviews for popular books too. Because then we can discuss!
But even so, I equally use book blogs for discovering new to me books that I might want to read. So I don’t necessarily mind reading and commenting when I haven’t tried the book before.
I also like to comment on reviews for books I haven’t read, but it’s nice to get to actually discuss books you’ve read too! I’ve also posted reviews for some popular books, but even those didn’t create any discussion, just the same kind of comments about how people also liked the book and whatnot. Which I still appreciate! But it’s not quite the same as a discussion.
OK – so many thoughts here, so bear with me:
1. I hope that I talk about books (when I’ve actually read the book) in your comment section! If I don’t just yell at me, it’s fine 😉
2. I think you need what I mentally refer to as ‘topic posts’ – slightly different to discussion posts (in my eyes, anyway,) it could be ‘why Anne Rice’s books made me love vampires’ or ‘X book vs X book – representation showdown!’ (my brain is a drama queen.) I guess it’s a type of discussion post, but it really narrows in on a topic, without it being all that necessary to have actually read the book (imho,) at least if you make it sassy enough 😉
3. We are all socially awkward. Or at least, I am, and everyone else keeps agreeing with me! XD
4. F**k it! If you really wanna write something, then write it! (Then promote the sh** outta it.) If something’s burning up your insides, then you gotta let it out! (You might even be able to submit it as an essay to magazines or anthologies, or as a guest post somewhere, who knows?!)
5. If it’s for indie books, why not let the authors know, so that they can promo to their readers? (As long as you aren’t being negative, cos then getting them involved would be kinda rude.) I’m sure they’d be more than happy to help your posts find an audience! XD
6. Write the thing, and then wait for a chance to post or publish. (If that indie book suddenly becomes a bestseller, you’ll already have done the work, and you can laugh at all of us!)
Sorry if that’s epically long, but I figured if any post warranted me being chatty in the comments section, it was this one! 🙂
1 – No, I don’t want to yell at you! It’s just hard to really get into a deep discussion via comments. It’s the format that’s the problem.
2 – Topic posts are a good idea! I feel like it still wouldn’t quite satisfy my need to talk about specific things in a book, those specific characters, etc., but it’s a good idea for a diff type of post nonetheless.
3 – Idk, I feel like other people are not as socially awkward *online* as I am? I just have no clue what I’m doing lol.
4 & 5 – Eh, I would just feel bummed if I wrote something all about a book and then no one commented. And I’d rather have an actual back-and-forth discussion because like I said, comments aren’t always that conducive to discussion. Plus it’s hard to get comments on indie books period. Even when I’ve done interviews and had giveaways for indie authors, and they promoted to their readers, those posts hardly got views, entries, comments, etc. :-/ It frustrates me so much that there’s still such a stigma against indie and self-pub books, not just cuz I would like more views (who wouldn’t?) but because it hurts the authors and the rep of diversity and everything.
6 – I have a feeling I should’ve done that for some self pub books that did get more popular since now my reviews for them are completely overlooked, sitting all lonely in my archives, while the people currently reviewing them are getting all sort of comments and whatnot -_- Lol so you might be onto something there XD
I never mind long comments!
OK, the numbering’s gonna go outta whack here, but it’ll correspond with the previous numbering! *nods sagely*
3 – I once tagged a graphic novelist in a tweet promo-ing her book, only to be told that I’d linked my review of her husband’s book! *face-palms* Luckily, she’s an awesome-sauce awkward hooman herself, and was uber-nice about it (to the point that we’re now casual friends!) Basically – I own awkward. *sashays away*
4 & 5 – I know, it can suck. But comments aren’t everything (I know, I know, it’s easy to say but not so easy to deal with!!!) Just keep swimming, m’k? 🙂
6 – Maybe freshen your old reviews up and then promote the sh** outta them once again!!!! (Archive postage win!) You can rule the world, you just gotta accept that it’s gonna kick you down constantly! (me? Speak from experience? Haha… LOOK A DISTRACTION!!!….)
3 – Ok, then maybe we’re just socially awkward in diff ways lol. I just feel like I never know how to talk to people or join in conversations.
4 & 5 – Yeah, but the whole point of a discussion post would be to get comments. And my blog doesn’t get that many views, so I gotta have something to look forward to and be happy about, so getting comments at least make me feel like my blog isn’t useless?
6 – I do repost reviews sometimes! But right now I have SO MANY new reviews that need to get posted, seriously I have some that are over a year old at this point, so I don’t have the free slots on my blog to be reposting a bunch lol. But oh, I just realized you might’ve simply meant promo them like on Twitter and stuff. That’s a good idea!
4 & 5 – Your blog rocks dammitttttt!!!!!!!!!!!! XD
6 – Yeah, I just meant give them a glance over to make sure they don’t have typos/embarrassing-ness, and then promo on social XD But hell, you can re-post if you wanna!
Ok Ima let you in on a little secret (right here in the comment on the internet where everyone can read it lol). I do think my blog rocks! What disappoints me is that so many people have a stigma against self-pub and indie book and so they won’t even bother to visit/follow/comment on my blog or to read reviews/posts about those books, at least not from a blogger that isn’t already popular. It also disappoints me that I often go blog hopping and find new blogs and I think maybe I’ve found someone I have a bit of taste in common with, I comment, maybe even a couple times… but they never bother to return the favor. And so yeah, when I post something and it gets hardly views or comments, I still love what I posted, but it’s disappointing all the same. So it does mean a lot to me when I get comments because it’s a way of seeing that I’m not just shouting into the void.
Well you can’t get rid of me 😉 (Trust me, people have tried!) I may be quite inconsistent with the amount I comment – but that’s maybe because I have zero organisation skills and a butt-ton of work to do 😉
Lol good, I don’t want to get rid of you!
This discussion post is so on-point! Yes reviews (especially mine, I feel) are too formal and doesn’t actually give anything for the reader to talk about or discuss, that’s if they have even read that book or are actually anticipating it. I also agree that indie books usually don’t lead up to discussion, sadly, since not many read those at the same time. I’m not very socially active on GR, either, and I do feel guilty about it sometimes because I think it’s an amazing place to talk about books, and even forget to log in my reading process on it, at times. Similarly, I’m not the best with online groups or book clubs because just like you, I most of the time have no idea what to speak and how. Though, discussion posts and chatting with friends are my way to get all the interactions about reading done XD
Thanks! Reviews usually are more formal than just a chat with someone would be, and yeah, we talk about the book, but we usually don’t go in depth about specific detailed thoughts we had on each little thing. It’s much harder to have discussions about indie books since not as many people read them. And yeah, the online groups just don’t seem to work for me :-/ But like I said in the other comment, if you end up reading the same book as one of your blogger friends, try DMing to start up a chat! I’ve had a few great chats that way recently!
found it! I can’t believe I missed this great post! I know what you mean! I feel the same way especially because I don’t have ONE SINGLE friend or relative in RL that likes books! [unbelievable!] so I often feel unsatisfied about how much a I talk about books. I tried all the options you mentioned but didn’t work for me because I just don’t have the time!, totally my fault. So glad you are getting to chat a lot about books after you posted this 🙂
Yeah, I often feel unsatisfied too, and most of those options just don’t work for me either. But thanks, it’s definitely made me happier getting to chat more lately since posting this!
Reviews also have to not contain spoilers (at least, preferably). Extensive discussion without spoilers is not really possible 🙂 that’s why I sometimes enjoy buddy reading with a group, especially one that I know has good discussions 🙂 in terms of the topics you read, you could find the Goodreads group “Apocalypse Whenever” a great place 🙂
A good discussion on a Goodreads group (which is a rare thing) is fostered – meaning, there is one person who leads the discussion and asks questions. I love one group that does this – 21st century literature – they’re really great at it. That way, it’s super easy to have discussion about the book even when you don’t know anyone else in the group. Which often happens to me 😀 the conversations are also usually broken up into threads for each part of the book, so you know which spoilers to include or exclude.
Another good way is buddy reads – like where two people read. Some people are better at discussing while reading, some are not. I had a really satisfying buddy read just now, we actually talked about stuff while we were reading. It was amazing. But essentially, that also depends on your reading buddy and how easy it is to have discussion with them 🙂
Well, I actually think it’s ok for reviews to have spoilers as long as they’re marked and/or hidden. And my reviews for The Vampire Chronicles for example, I have them separated into sections, one for the review part, one for my spoiler-filled thoughts about things. But it’s still just not a format that gets much discussion going. But I can see how buddy reading would be great, especially if they have good discussions! My mood reading is usually the problem there, but I’ll check out that group, thanks 🙂
I can def see how having someone to guide the discussion and ask questions would help. I’ll have to look for something like that.
I’ve done some coincidental buddy reads with someone I have some similar taste with (where we both happened to be reading the book at the same time cuz it just came out or we both got ARCs), and yeah, we did have great discussions!
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Thanks for sharing!
This post is spot on. I started my blog to talk about books even if it was just with myself. And unsurprisingly most of my posts used to be reviews for books that no one cared about, mainly because I don’t read many of the popular books and do not focus on YA. I also review indie books.
But of late I have started writing up discussions posts and seeing the difference in the number of comments and interaction I have come to the same conclusion as you did – we don’t talk about specific books (review posts). Though my review posts have a bit of personal touch (rambles) and not fully professional, they do not seem interaction friendly.
The reason is that we all have different reading choices and our review formats are not enthusing conversations. I am yet to find a perfect solution for that but I found asking questions at the end of the post and comparing the book with other books have helped a bit.
Thanks! I think most of us started our blogs to talk about books, and yet really talking about specific books is what we seem to do the least. For those of us who read indie and don’t read many popular YA books, it’s definitely even harder to get interaction.
Discussion posts do far better for most of us. It definitely has to do with our reading tastes and how everyone’s is different, vs. a discussion, which can be commented on by anyone who reads fiction for the most part (at least for my discussions since they’re usually about fiction). And reviews really just don’t get conversation going. I’ve started DMing people on Twitter when we happen to read the same book, so that’s been working great for me since having this discussion! But of course that requires having a bookish friend who has read the same book as you. I try asking a question at the end, but I haven’t noticed it making a difference. I haven’t tried comparing books though!
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