Discussion: On Going in Blind

 

discussion

Very recently, I’ve started a few books — namely ARMADA and THE ACCIDENT SEASON — having totally forgotten what they’re about before I started them so the idea came to me to share a little piece of my reading habits: going into books (mostly) blind. 

I’m sort of a “read a synopsis once and done” kind of girl. Usually when I’m adding books to Goodreads or my TBR or my bookshelves, I read the synopsis (of course) to see if I’m interested and then don’t really read it again… maybe ever. It seems like a silly thing to do, right? I bet you’re wondering how I can possibly know what I want to read if I don’t know what a book is about, but that’s the beauty of being both a mood reader and an obsessive Goodreads shelver — I don’t really have to!

By the time a book lands on my Goodreads shelves, I already know that I’m interested in reading it. If I obtain a copy of it, I mark it accordingly so I know it’s available for me to read and each book that I add to my shelves, I put on a different shelf according to genre. Sometimes I’m a liiiittle bit off if the description is vague but mostly I can place what sort of feel it might have. This is where my mood reading comes into play: by the time I’m ready to pick up a new book, I’m picking based on what I feel like reading so I usually choose based on genre, whether that’s browsing my Goodreads shelves or staring at the ones in my home. However I decide to pick a book, one thing is for sure — I don’t pick it based on synopsis.

I usually don’t read the blurb again until after I finish a book (or during if I’m starting to feel like the book is taking a weird turn) or when I start writing my review. It may seem crazy to some but I love going into books blind. Why, you ask? Because I love discovering every little surprise and secret the way the author intended. I know that sometimes blurbs or synopses have to include some minor plot points in order to get that hook out to readers to get them interested so I like to totally forget the specifics of a blurb by the time I pick up a book to read!

It may not seem like much but I’ve discovered big surprises within the first quarter of a book which can often times be given away because that’s the first big twist in a story to get the reader invested in the book… But if I’m familiar with the blurb and then go to pick up the book, that’s no longer a surprise for me. It may not seem like a big deal but I find a book so much more enjoyable when I’m able to discover those things for myself. Big twists and surprises really enhance my reading experience and I often bump up ratings because of a good twist at the end of a book or a surprising moment that I just really didn’t see coming.

Of course, going in blind does have its drawbacks sometimes. I can think of a couple books where I forgot exactly what the synopsis said (like I usually do) but then missed clues to the actual feel/genre (I thought the book was sci-fi, for example, and it was much more dystopian) or hints about a genre-changing twist (from mystery to straight-up paranormal). Those sorts of surprises aren’t the greatest because then I have to totally reassess the book that I’m reading and I feel disappointed because the book wasn’t what I thought it was. The happy news is that A) that doesn’t happen to me often and B) if the book really was going well for me, those surprises would have flowed naturally and I would have been okay with the change instead of them feeling totally out of place.

Thankfully, I haven’t had many bad or frustrating experiences but not fully knowing every detail about a book’s plot before I start it. Going in blind almost always enhances my reading experience because I’m a TOTAL spoiler-avoider and even those little twists make a big difference!


How about you? Do you ever go into books blind or do you like to be fully prepared before you pick up a book? Does mood reading help you decide or do you usually pick based by a book’s description?

31 thoughts on “Discussion: On Going in Blind

  1. Jessica @ The Psychotic Nerd

    I’m actually the same way! I usually skim the synopsis when I add it, but I don’t get to read it until months or even years later, yet by then I still don’t like rereading the synopsis. I love to be surprised, it’s when of my favorite things when I’m reading, and going in blind will have the book fully surprise me! Also, like you said, sometimes they giveaway major points plots in the synopsis. I had one synopsis give away a death that didn’t even happen until halfway through the book! I don’t particularly like spoilers.

  2. Maren @ The Worn Bookmark

    I really like going blind into books. There have been so many times when I’ve been disappointed in a book because of the hype surrounding it. I usually just skim through the synopsis, take a quick look at the ratings it’s been getting from people who have similar reading tastes but try not to read any reviews. I love discovering things on my own, without expecting it.

  3. Alexa S.

    We’re so alike in this, B! I usually jump straight into a read without really knowing anything about it because I’ve either not read the synopsis at all or I read it so long ago that I’ve forgotten specifics. It certainly serves me well, I’d say, because I often wind up engaged and surprised by the twists I encounter.

  4. Cassi @ My Thoughts Literally

    There have definitely been some books that I wish I had gone into blind. Being really familiar with the synopsis has made the beginning so much less mysterious. I also went into Armada without know much about the blurb and I’m glad that I did because I’m not sure I would have read it if I knew more what it would be about. That makes me realize that I must miss out on really great books because I read the synopsis and think I won’t like it. And at the same time if I know the synopsis I will get so excited about the book that I’m disappointed because it just sounds so epic and then it ends up being a let down. So long story short, I do wish I went into more books blind. But I probably won’t because I hate surprises.

  5. Zoey @ Uncreatively Zoey

    I definitely DON’T go in blind. I love to read reviews first, provided they don’t spoil too much. That way I can find out if there’s something I absolutely HATE and usually avoid reading that isn’t indicated in the synopsis, and then I can decide whether I still want to risk it or not or if I want to move on to something else! There are always more books willing to occupy my time 😉

  6. Sarah K

    Yep! Is always prefer going in blind. I hardly EVER read blurbs. I like being totally surprised. Some blurbs give the whole story alway.

  7. Dee

    i mostly go in blind as well – because normally if its a book for a reading challenge – i’m picking it off my shelf because it meets a certain element (something on the cover; authors initials; words in the title); but my library does a blind picking thing as well – where they wrap some books in brown paper and you randomly pick one and borrow it – its been kind of fun – all you normally know going in is the genre

  8. Amber Elise

    I KIND OF go in blind. I usually read the synopsis once and then add it to GR if it sounds entertaining. I usually don’t read the synposis again, but buzz has a tendancy of shoving it in my face anyway.

    I read a book recently for a book that I bought a year ago. I had the general gist and was pleasantly surprised by how little I knew.

    I’m a bit too controlling to do that all the time though, although I am doing it now. Haha. I’m reading The Raven Cycle for the first time ever and I don’t think I’ve EVER read the synopsis! I don’t even know who I’m supposed to ship!

    1. Wendy

      I’m reading it for the first time too, and that’s a perfect description of how clueless I am–no idea who to ship.

  9. Wendy

    I wrote a post last week about how my book reviews tend to assume people have already read the book, because that’s the order I do things–read or watch first, THEN check the reviews. That’s how much I love going in blind! Like you, if I’ve put a book on my to-read list, I assume I’ve gotten enough information or recommendations to have found it interesting, and when I get around to reading it, I can figure out the genre from the cover/author, so I’m good to go.

    http://falconerslibrary.blogspot.com/2015/07/on-book-reviews-in-general.html

  10. Kristyna @ Note To Selph Book Reviews

    I wish I went into books blind more often. I’ve usually read multiple reviews before picking up a book. This keeps me from reading books I won’t enjoy but it loses the mystery. And like you said the synopsis (and some reviews) contain spoilers.

  11. Cecelia

    I don’t have a robust “filing system” like you seem to on Goodreads, but I too like to go in somewhat blind to books I’m looking forward to. If I know I want to read a book, I will skim the synopsis and avoid reviews like the plague. That said, if I’m not interested in a book at all, sometimes I’ll read the synopsis and reviews closely and those will change my mind for me. But yeah, books by authors I trust? I like flying blind. 🙂

  12. Brittany T

    I am the EXACT same way girl! I totally ignore the blurb. Well that’s not true. I will most likely read it before I add it to my goodreads TBR but once it’s on there I totally overlook it. I often find myself disappointed by what the blurb promises, like it builds my expectations up to much. Also those catchy words like for fans of…. And s mix of ___________ & ____________. I also find these to be mostly false advertising. What you pointed out about missing certain genre vibes is def a bit of a downfall at time your are 1,000% correct. Imagine my surprise when I thought I was reading YA (this one was mislabeled in goodreads) and then in the very begin I got a pretty graphic ummmm… Encounter of the sexy version. I like this method and will defiently stick with it! Glad to know I am not alone.
    ❤️Britt @ please feed the bookworm

  13. Elizabeth

    I’ve recently gone into several book blind and I’m glad it worked out that way. Sometimes they put too much ian the synopsis, or they focus on 1 aspect that jumped at the blurb writer and then I get confused while reading. Since I started reading so many eARCs I can’t just flip to the back and refresh myself.
    I also just started using the UBB plug-in and when I think the GR synopsis gives too much away I revise it, so people can’t accuse me of spoilers, which I am always careful with in my reviews.
    Great post idea. Really made me think about what makes me enjoy a book.

  14. Kathy @ Kathy Reads Fiction

    I’m the same way when it comes to reading a synopsis once. It will usually grab me enough to make me add it to my TBR shelf or buy it, but by the time I get around to reading the book, I’ve forgotten what it’s about and go into it blindly. I really like going in blind because I’m always surprised. Sometimes, synopses will give too much away, so going in blind is a good thing but other times, I’ll get into a book and have to refer back to the synopsis to figure out what it is I’m reading because I’m lost in figuring out where the story is taking me. I guess it can be a doubled edged sword.

  15. Charlie @ Girl of 1000 Wonders

    Lately I skim the synopsis and then forget about it until I come back to write the review. I do like to get a brief idea of what I’m reading. I might find something that lets me know it might not be a read for me.

  16. SERIESous Book Reviews

    NOPE! I cannot go in blind to books when it comes to the synopsis! I have to reread the synopsis before I start a book. I like to know what I am getting in to. Even when I don’t have access to the synopsis (which is often the case with eBooks), I will read the synopsis ASAP once I have internet access.

    I do go in blind in terms of reviews. I don’t like reading reviews on a book I’ve already decided to read just in case they have spoilers. The only time I read reviews is if I’m undecided about adding a book to my TBR or after I’ve read the book and written my review.

  17. Cynthia @ Bingeing On Books

    Ha, it’s funny you should have this post now. Recently, there were a couple of books that I loved when I bought them for my Kindle. But then when I finally go to read them, I have no clue what the book is about. Occasionally, I may go to Goodreads or Amazon as a refresher for the synopsis. But lately I am finding that I kind of like going in blind a bit more. Sometimes the synopsis can give a little too much away. Like you said, I love discovering new surprises about everything that happens. I kind of like the going in blond thing.

  18. Bree

    Total mood reader. I go into books semi-informed. I don’t like to know too much about book but want to know a little. I rarely if ever read descriptions on people’s reviews. They give too much away. I like to know only their thoughts on book.

  19. Rebecca @ The Library Canary

    I’m the exact same way. I read the synopsis, add the book to my GR and then don’t read it again until I’m writing my review. Most of the time I’ve completely forgotten what the book is about. I don’t organize them by genre on my GR until after I read them, but I’m not really a mood reader so I just kind of pick and choose as I go. Occasionally if I have no clue what the book is about I’ll skim the synopsis, but that doesn’t happen too often. If I added it to my GR I know I want to read it so I do. And going in blind has so many benefits. I love not being influenced by anything and even the synopsis can do that. I hate when the twist is sort of revealed in the synopsis. It totally ruins the book for me. Which is why I tend to just avoid it once I decide whether or not I want to read the book.

  20. Kate @ Mom's Radius

    I am the same way! I put book on my TBR list and then pull from there without always reading the synopsis again. I don’t separate by genre (great idea BTW), so I do sometimes skim the synopsis once more. I often reserve books from the library a month in advance, so by the time I get the book, I’ll have forgotten the details again. I never read the jacket cover or back cover. I read the Goodreads summary when I write my reviews, and then I’m often surprised by how much of the plot is given away.

  21. MIchelle @ Book Briefs

    I do EXACTLY THE SAME THING! I read the summary the first time I see the book on goodreads or the first time I am pitched a book for review, and then if I accept it I shelve it and schedule it on my calendar and then when the title comes to read it, it could be months later and I just see the next book in line and grab it and go, even if I am mood reading, I only go very broad on the genres. fantasy, or paranormal or contemp. and then I am blind from there. It works for me though.

    Great post! I am happy to see I am not alone.

  22. Hannah @ So Obsessed With

    I’m feel like I’m typically going into a book somewhat blind because I rarely pay very much attention to the summary. I’ll usually glance at it before adding it to my shelves (like you do), but it’s really just to see if anything jumps out a me. A few key phrases (or even just the cover) can have me adding a book to my shelves without fully reading the jacket copy! And then I typically forget what I know about it by the time I pick it up, and voila! Like you, I generally enjoy doing it because I don’t approach a book with many expectations. It can definitely backfire, but it works out more often than not!

  23. Alicia

    I’m the same way! I do this mostly with eARCs because the synopsis isn’t right there on the book. And being a mood reader helps. Honestly though I can just pick up any book at any time and if it’s good I’ll probably end up liking it, whether I was in the mood for it or not.

  24. Lindsey

    I’m the same! I 90% of the time go into a book blind! Definitely curious to see if any others do that 😉 It varies but usually if I see the cover, typically fits the contemporary genre I tend to read, depends on whether I’ll read up on the summary but a lot of the time I’ll mark it and read it. And I especially will do this if I get ARCs, I’ll briefly hear about them being good but I don’t have much else to go on and then have to see for myself. Sometimes this has backfired, but most of the time I make it out okay 🙂 Great post!

  25. Terri @ Reading By Starlight

    I do that most often with books that have been recommended to me by others, or popular books that I’ve seen good reviews for. Sometimes I’ll read the blurb, and sometimes I’ll just have a general idea of the basic premise and nothing else. That’s usually only for books that my really close blogger friends have been bugging me and bugging me to read, and I get it and realize “I have no idea what this is about and it’s so-an-so’s fault.” Of course then half the time I absolutely love it and they’re all like MWAHAHAHA I TOLD YOU.

  26. Emily

    OMG yes!! I’m so glad that I’m not alone in this. I do the same thing, I read the synopsis and add the book to my TBR list. Usually if I get my hands on a book, I will choose to read based on the covers. A few times I have been surprised in a good way and very rarely surprised in a bad way. So glad someone else dives in blind too.

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