You see people rating books on Goodreads before they’ve been published — sometimes before they’ve even fully been announced! — all the time, right? I know I do, and most often these are ratings of five stars or one based on a myriad of reasons, either having to do with a prequel to the book in question, the author themselves, or the content (or supposed content) of the book.
My question is: is this okay? You’re judging the book and rating it before its even released (people who have ARC copies are obviously not a factor in this; they know what they’re feeling because they’ve likely read it), and you’re potentially affecting the opinions of other people looking in on the book, yet you haven’t read it yourself.
I know this can be a wild topic between people, but I’ve never had the chance to sit down and talk about it with someone before, so I’m taking it to my website. At what point, if any, is it okay to rate a book or judge it completely without reading it? Is it if you’re planning on reading it? Is it not at all, only after you’ve read it?
What about if the book is known to have racist aspects in it? Or content you don’t feel should be included in the book? Can you still rate it for this, and decide not to read it? Or should you state your opinion and then leave it be, or outright say nothing and simply refuse to read it in general?
I ask this because of a post my friend saw on Facebook regarding a book I won’t name. He doesn’t read, but he’s putting down a book (and also spreading misinformation about the book itself, but that’s another thing entirely) due to its content supposedly mimicking a movie that was released decades before the book had even come to fruition. He will never read this book, but he’s attempting to discourage others from reading the book and putting the book down without knowing if the book is as similar to the movie as he’s stating it to be. If he doesn’t know for sure, is it a good idea (or even fair of him) to be doing so?
(I say no, personally.)
What if the reason he were doing so was because the book had controversial topics, or blatant racism, in it? Would it be okay then?
(This time, I say yes. Opinion is difficult, isn’t it?)
But I want to know what other people think about this, and if their opinion would be enough to change my own (survey says yes — if it’s a good point, I take it into account and sometimes alter my own opinion with it) or if most people feel the same way I do.
I don’t personally rate books until I’ve finished them (and I do not rate books I DNF, since I didn’t finish them), but that’s just me.
Opinions, if you please?
(And thanks for reading!)