Monday Musings | In Defense of Spoilers

Book and Tea One More Page Book Blog Karen

Note: Don’t worry, this post will not have any book spoilers in them!

I sometimes wonder about my decision to post spoiler-free reviews.

Don’t get me wrong: I think that there are definitely reasons to keep things spoiler-free (in fact, that’s how I prefer it when reading reviews myself), but as a review writer, I do have times when I’m itching to discuss big events in books.

I think it all comes down to the fact that sometimes, when critically engaging with and discussing a book, big twists and revelations are a big turning point, whether it be regarding a character’s motives, or the “point” that an author is trying to make. When these big events happen in books that I’m planning on reviewing, it can be hard to explore certain things without referencing the spoiler. What ends up happening is a wishy-washy sort of review where I apologize over and over again for being so vague and for not being able to explain my thoughts properly.

At times like these, I wonder: is it worth it to post these sort of reviews?

I guess it depends on what my readers are getting out of my reviews. Do they just want to know whether a book is worth reading or not? (In that case, maybe a “you need to read this” sort of review is enough?) Or are they here for critical analysis (which requires quotes and events to back up my points)? I probably will never have a concrete answer for this, as there’s probably an audience for both types of posts, but sometimes I wonder if going spoiler-free is worth it.

What do you think? Do you appreciate when reviews are spoiler-free? Does reading spoilers affect your enjoyment of a book? If you’re a book blogger, do you grapple with posting spoiler-free vs. spoiler-filled reviews?

(Ps. Because of these thoughts, I’m SUPER glad that The Socratic Salon exists. Everybody’s free to  be spoiler-y! Seriously, check the site out. It’s run by a group of super intelligent readers, and the comment sections are fantastic.)

11 thoughts on “Monday Musings | In Defense of Spoilers

  1. Brown Books & Green tea says:

    I definitely grapple with spoiler free vs. spoiler laden reviews. Without spoilers, I almost feel as though the review is incomplete. I suppose it depends on your audience, as you said. Some people probably read the post to see if their feelings were seconded, but others may read in advance to see if the book is worth the investment. Personally, I read a review for the critical analysis, but that’s just me.

  2. The Paperback Princess says:

    Pretty sure all book bloggers struggle with this. I think you have to think about what kind of blog you want to have. Do you want one that is known for the thoughtful, engaging. critical reviews? Or are you content to be the kind of blog that wants to get people reading the books you talk about (or giving them a chance to skip them as the case may be)? It is sometimes hard to talk about a book properly when you don’t want to spoil key plot points!

  3. Naomi says:

    I know exactly what you mean. I think about why I started my blog, which was to talk about the books I read. And, I think, at first, I thought that meant (for me) including spoilers. But, once I got going, and started reading everyone else’s blogs I adapted to being more spoiler-free. That seems to be the norm. But, I think it’s fair to just warn people in advance if your review contains spoilers, if you really want to discuss something in your post – I’ve done that a couple of times.

    • Karen says:

      That’s a really great compromise! I think I’m going to allow myself the flexibility in some cases to discuss spoilers. But I’m also glad that I have friends like you who don’t mind chatting about books via email! 😀

  4. Milliebot says:

    I also find it hard to write a review of a book when I’m trying not to include spoilers. I think it depends, like you said, on your readers. To people just want an opinion, or have they read the book and want to discuss?

    I also think people are too touchy about spoilers. Someone is basically always going to have read or watched something before you. They can’t just sit quiet forever until everyone’s on the same page! I think being online, you’ve got to come to terms that you’ll be spoiled. People get so mad about it, but whatever. I prefer spoiler free reviews, but i don’t freak if I read some and I think that at times going into detail about a specific plot point can be helpful.

    • Karen says:

      Yes, it’s kind of a funny thing how big of a no-no spoilers can be. I’m still trying to figure out my personal stance on it. For me, especially if it’s a crime novel, I don’t want to be spoiled. But I also know people who don’t mind, and just want to see how the author handles the narrative regardless of what happens. So fascinating!

      • Milliebot says:

        I think it depends on the material too. People getting upset about spoilers for books that have been out for years….idk. I feel like they’ve had plenty of time to read it! If it’s a new release and you give away a big twist without warning…Maybe that’s another story. I feel though, that “spoilers” have become a bigger deal in the last decade or maybe even less. Maybe it’s because everyone is so involved with the internet? I feel like it’s become an overly sensitive topic or something. I’m not sure. Lol. Rambling…

  5. Becca and Books says:

    Personally, I like review short and sweet (which is why mine are way too short haha) I want to know whether to read it or not, for all the details I’ll actually read the book. BUT THEN if I’ve already read the book I enjoy and discussion spoilery section as well
    awesome post:)

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