I’m guessing just by the fact that you have opened this blog post, that you, like me, enjoy a good review. There’s something very satisfying about knowing what someone else thought about a book whether you want to yell at that person for having a VERY WRONG OPINION or LOVING that reviewer for being totally on your side about how dumb that character was. Of course there are the shades in between: of trying to find out if a book is worth picking up before you even start it, or wanting to make sure that you’re not the only one that thinks whatever is topping the New York Times Bestseller List this week is just…not good at all. Reviews are important.
While I’ve been known to consult reviews for a range of different products before buying them, I am way more invested and more likely to look up reviews of books that I am any other item that I will be consuming. I don’t know what part of me HAS to know what someone else thought, but I’m hoping if you’ve stuck with me this far that I’m not the only one. Reviews have a strange sort of power. I can start a book knowing nothing about it, get 50 pages in, wonder where this is headed, then spend 20 minutes on Goodreads having a very different opinion after sifting through the countless reviews posted by different readers.
At the heart of reviewing is the idea that someone out there could benefit from your thoughts. Whether the purpose of the review is to warn you away from the book entirely or to get you 100% in the fandom until death do you part, reviews act as a community sounding board where you can interact with other readers and see who you agree with and who you don’t. Reviews can have a huge impact on the way you interact with whatever piece of literature you’re about to consume. But the reviews themselves are also perfect pockets of time that encapsulate a person’s opinion, opening a tiny window into who they are as well.
This summer I was tasked with a fairly innocuous job: approve reviews on Beanstack to make sure nothing spam-y, inappropriate, or totally strange gets posted on our Summer Reading site. Easy enough. Surprisingly, it has quickly become one of the tiny joys of my work day. I get to see a cross section of what titles Lawrencians are reading this summer AND I get to see what you guys think of every book you review. Want to share my joy? Everyone has access to peer reviews on Beanstack, you can easily check out what everyone is reading when you log your hours. So if you’re wondering: what is everyone reading this summer? What did they think? You can find out!
First, log in to your Beanstack profile. Then you’ll click Reviews from the top menu bar. After that, you click Peer Reviews, and you too can read and find out what other Lawrencians are reading and reviewing this summer.
The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson #1)
-Lauren Taylor is a Children's Librarian at Lawrence Public Library.