Do You Use Book Reviews to Pick Your Next Read?

February 23, 2023 Uncategorized 14

One of my favorite parts of blogging is reading other bloggers’ book reviews. However, I typically read reviews as they’re posted and not when looking for opinions on a particular book. They serve the purpose of discovery for me. If a book review appeals to me, I’ll add it to my to-read list (reason #1 my to-read list is so long!). I’m more likely to then read that book if I read several reviews from bloggers, so it sticks with me. There are also topics I love enough that I’ll seek out relevant books immediately.

I don’t use blogger reviews to decide what to read next. Nor do I actually consult my ever-growing to-read list (reason #2 my to-read list is so long!). Instead, I stop by goodreads to look at specific books. First, I check out the average rating a book gets. I’ve found that most books over 4 stars are ones I’m likely to enjoy. If books get a lower rating, I have to be more excited about the topic to pick them up.

My decisions about what to read aren’t just focused on the star rating though. I know some people might hate a book for things that would make me love it and vice versa. To see how other readers are reacting to a book, I often look at 5 star and 1 star reviews. That tends to lead me to people who were really passionate about a book. If I’m still feeling indecisive, I’ll check out some reviews in the middle, which often have more nuance.

So, for me, book reviews from bloggers serve as a valuable first screen – letting me identify books I’m excited about and others I want to pass on. Then goodreads reviews serve as a final filter. How do you pick what you read? Do reviews play a role in that process?Β 

14 Responses to “Do You Use Book Reviews to Pick Your Next Read?”

  1. Juliana

    Reviews are important, but I read more by genre first, and then seek reviews of books within that special category. I also use articles with book or author lists for the genres that most interest me.
    Could you share one or two book blogs that you enjoy? My own list needs some new energy!

    • DoingDewey

      Oh, that’s a good point! I definitely use genre as a filter as well. I’ll read most genres at least occasionally, but lately, I’ve been pretty focused on nonfiction.

      What genre are you looking for? Without knowing that, I might suggest Brianna and Krysta at, because they write engaging posts and read pretty eclectically. If you’re looking for another blog focused on nonfiction, Rennie at is definitely the blogger I get the most recommendations from πŸ™‚

  2. Janette

    I don’t really use book reviews to pick books but like you, if I see several interesting reviews for the same book then it will stick with me and I’ll add it to my TBR. I’m afraid I’m a sucker for a gorgeous or interesting cover so that is often the first thing that makes me pick up a book or look into it more. I love reading book reviews of books that I have read as it’s great to compare opinions.

    • DoingDewey

      I definitely use book covers to decide what to read too! I think one that publishers do very well is to give a certain kind of narrative nonfiction adventure books very identifiable covers, so I don’t even feel bad for using the covers to pick. I think they’re intended to give us clues to what’s inside πŸ™‚

  3. Harry Katz

    Like you, I find reviews from fellow bloggers are a great source of books to put on my list. Same for NYTimes Book Review and also podcast interviews with authors. But I don’t look at Goodreads or care much about the number of stars a book gets.

    After that I just go with my interests or mood. πŸ™‚

    • DoingDewey

      Oh, that’s interesting! I mostly go find author interviews on podcasts after I read a book I like, not the other way around. Are there any bookish podcasts you’d recommend?

      • Harry Katz

        I like The Ezra Klein Show podcast – he often interviews authors. Volts is another good one focused on climate change and electrification. Think Again hosted by Adam Grant on behavior and psychology. All are worth a listen.

        • DoingDewey

          Thanks for the recommendations! I’ll definitely checkout the Ezra Klein Show and Think Again while I’m listening to podcasts as I work this week πŸ™‚

  4. Lory @ Entering the Enchanted Castle

    The process you describe is similar to mine. I’ve started using StoryGraph instead of Goodreads, but I still look at GR as well. That’s a good point about the 5 and 1 star reviews being especially passionate – I sometimes find that the negative reviews give me important information, but don’t necessarily dissuade me from reading the book!

    As for actually deciding what to read next, I usually look at what’s available through my e-library, where I keep a large wishlist. I scroll through it and see if something grabs me as suiting my mood of the moment. I used to place lots of holds but I found when they came due, I didn’t feel like reading that particular book. So I try to put holds only on books I know I’ll want to read when they come around.

    • DoingDewey

      I think I’d like to be able to follow a process that’s more like yours! In theory, I love the idea of mood reading and really picking books up right when I’m excited about them. In reality, I find it a little overwhelming to be able to read whatever I want, so I tend to plan a bit in advance and go to get a bunch of physical books at the library πŸ™‚

  5. Helen Murdoch

    I also use blogger reviews to discover new (to me) books. I keep a TBR list on Google Keep and if I see a number of positive reviews, I put asterisks next to the book. I use that book when I book shop or go to the library.

    I also use Goodreads though and agree that over 4 usually means it will work for me though I do go for books under 4 if the summary or topic are particularly appealing.

    • DoingDewey

      Oh, I like that you actually keep track of the reviews you’ve seen! Possibly I should try to use a goodreads shelf to tag books that I’ve seen a bunch of other bloggers like. That’s helpful info to have πŸ™‚

  6. Brona

    I am a mood reader and will only read something I’m ready and willing to dive into. But I read a huge range of reviews (mostly blogger but some professional ones) so that I can ‘use’ them at work.
    I cannot read all the new releases that come out each month, so reading reviews for some of them helps me talk about them with customers. Occasionally I find a review about a book that isn’t what I thought it was, which tempts me to have a closer look next time I’m at work.

    • DoingDewey

      That’s another really interesting perspective! I hadn’t thought of reviews as a helpful professional tool for keeping up with books, but that makes a lot of sense.

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.