To Read or Not to Read (The Synopsis)

The age old question…. To Read or Not to Read…. well that is easy, I’m going to read, obviously. However, before we get to that stage of the bookworm experience, how do we go into the book – synopsis or no synopsis? I will be honest, it is extremely challenging for me to read a book without reading the back cover or goodreads synopsis. In Tinder for Books, my interest is piqued by the cover at first, but it is then supported by the summary.

At the last book club for All the Ugly and Wonderful Things, there was a conversation a bout expectations from the book –  one person’s viewpoint was swayed because the summary included pieces about a love story but another member mentioned that she picked up the book and started reading it, not knowing what the story was beyond the cover art and Book of the Month Club recommendation. With Valentine’s Day last month, this is how most readers get to pick their books as they are wrapped for Blind Date with a Book. The only clues you have to pick a certain book are genres and books similar.

I wonder how our experiences differ – meaning is it worth skipping out completely on the synopsis so we don’t have preconceived notions on what is to occur, or make comparisons in our head like, “This sounds like a Nicholas Sparks book”? So where does that leave us if the synopsis is rid – check the ratings (but lightly glance over reviews), rely on the cover art, trust the author since we might have read their previous work? That is A LOT of trust we are putting in the book with little to go on. However, I believe my friend is up to something, whether it was an intentional choice or not. Opinions differed over the book based on who read the synopsis and who didn’t. It’s kind of like seeing a movie trailer, they usually show the good parts to draw you in. Then, while watching the film, those elements were not that great in comparison, didn’t relate to the content at all, or were glazed over in the big picture. I can also relate this to conference session overviews and then when I sit in the room to hear the presenter, it couldn’t be further from what they said the session was supposed to be about. Argh, what is a reader to do?

Here is a challenge (and potential read-a-thon – dibbs!), let’s try reading one book a month where we do not look at the synopsis or summary. Trust our gut and see what we make of it. THEN, look over reviews and the summary to see how the outcome of our experience compares (or contrasts) with what materials have been given to readers to make an informed decision on whether to read or not to read…

What about you – read or not read the synopsis? 


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