The Pitfalls of Not Reading Book Summaries

20 Nov

I’ve fallen victim to my own self-imposed ignorance. So I can’t be mad about it. But I kind of am.

I make a point of not reading book summaries, be it a Goodreads summary, a review, or even the blurb on the back of the book. I found that far too often, these give away major plot points and sometimes those points come very late in the book and lose their impact. So I’ve given up the practice and prefer recommendations with no summary or a one-sentence recap.

However, it’s gotten me in trouble this time. I’m trying to find a book to wrap up the When Are You Reading? Challenge where I have a gaping hold in the 1600s. I’d looked up a Goodreads list for books set in the 1600s and picked one. I skimmed the summary and saw a date from the 1600s so I figured I was golden and started listening to the audiobook.

But I was wrong. The book is set in the late 1990s with flashbacks to earlier periods (but nothing long or consistent) chronicling a book that existed through the 1600s. I’m guessing I’ll get to that point soon. I allow myself some leeway when assigning a time period to a book, but I feel I’m pushing it way too far to count this one as the 1600s.

I found a Shakespeare play that was written in the 1600s to read. I’ll finish the book (it’s People of the Book, by the way) but I need something else to fill the time period. I’m determined to finish this year and I’m so close I can taste it!

Am I alone in skipping book blurbs? Has it ever landed anyone else in trouble? Let me know of any good books set in the 1600s you make know of!

Until next time, write on.

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19 Responses to “The Pitfalls of Not Reading Book Summaries”

  1. whatcathyreadnext November 20, 2018 at 11:26 AM #

    I do tend to read book blurbs although I also hate the ones that give too much away and are actually more like synopses. I think sometimes there’s just as much craft involved in writing a blurb as there is a whole book!

    A book I enjoyed that’s set in 1665 is Traitor by David Hingley. Now I know you won’t read the blurb I’ll just say it’s the third in a historical crime series (but I hadn’t read the previous two) with a heroine who’s described as a ‘transatlantic adventurer’. Lots of intrigue…


    • Sam November 20, 2018 at 1:11 PM #

      It looks like that whole series is set in the 1600s. I added the first one to my TBR, thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Aymee November 20, 2018 at 11:32 AM #

    Definitely not. I try to always read them but honestly? Sometimes I’m too lazy and the cover is too pretty. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat down, started reading something and wondered WHY DID I PICK THIS UP? But hey, I say it makes reading more fun. 🙂


    • Sam November 20, 2018 at 1:15 PM #

      I think it’s more fun just to jump in, too. I’ll usually base a decision based on Goodreads (number of reviews and starts) and if I know anyone who has read it. There’s no summary there! Happy reading.


      • Aymee November 20, 2018 at 1:30 PM #

        Gotta love living on the edge, huh? 🙂


  3. Book Club Mom November 20, 2018 at 12:36 PM #

    I read the blurbs, but never read reviews ahead of time. As for People of the Book, I have heard it’s a good read, so hopefully you can enjoy the rest of it, despite it not fitting into your challenge!


    • Sam November 20, 2018 at 1:25 PM #

      I’m really enjoying it so far! I’m in a WWII time period but I think it will start to reach further and further back. I avoid reviews as well. Those can be so full of spoilers! Happy reading.


  4. lorrs33 November 20, 2018 at 2:28 PM #

    I do read blurbs though sometimes they’re so vague it really makes no difference!


    • Sam November 20, 2018 at 2:30 PM #

      True! I almost wish they were all so vague. Happy reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Whimsically Meghan November 20, 2018 at 4:58 PM #

    I am not alone!!!! Holy, I always thought I was the only one who didn’t read back of books or the Goodreads synopsis! I don’t like reading them for the same reason; I don’t know, I like being surprised by the book and going in knowing things ruins that for me. Recently I’ve been hitting a patch where there have been a lot of mental health related plots in the books I’ve chosen and that led to a bit of a spiral for me. But, if I’m being honest I know I’m not going to start reading the synopsis now. But I completely understand where you’re coming from!


    • Sam November 20, 2018 at 8:10 PM #

      I’m glad there are at least two of us. I do like to read the summaries after I finish the book. It usually reinforces for me that I made a good decision. Happy reading!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Whimsically Meghan November 21, 2018 at 4:36 PM #

        Oh I always read it after! And I agree it helps to remind me that it was a good choice! 🙂


  6. Kat @abookiesbooks November 21, 2018 at 1:13 AM #

    I never read the blurbs. I like to fully immerse and learn the new world I am diving into, not be already set and no what is going to happen right into it. I get my books mostly from other people suggesting it or by a fancy cover (very shallow of me I know)


    • Sam November 21, 2018 at 12:15 PM #

      I’ll also take titles from recommended lists or award winner lists. No summary needed haha. Happy reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Margaret November 21, 2018 at 1:55 AM #

    I read the blurbs because I’ve been caught out before by not reading them properly and ended up with books that weren’t about what I thought they would be. I have read two books set in 1666 and 1667, historical crime fiction by Andrew Taylor, The Ashes of London and The Fire Court. They are of course about the Great Fire and its aftermath. I enjoyed them both very much.


    • Sam November 21, 2018 at 12:19 PM #

      Thanks for the recommendations! I always struggle with that time. Happy reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Andrew Blackman November 25, 2018 at 12:00 PM #

    I always read the blurbs, but usually then get frustrated when the book doesn’t deliver what the hyped-up blurb promised! Sorry about your 1600s issue. Not much comes to mind right now. Maybe Don Quixote?


    • Sam November 25, 2018 at 1:22 PM #

      I’d thought of that one but it seems a bit long to take it on now! I do find that the blurbs can oversell and sometimes it makes me question the reviewers! Happy reading.


      • Andrew Blackman November 26, 2018 at 2:32 PM #

        Yeah, Don Quixote is pretty huge! Maybe another time 🙂


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