Name: Sifra Matthijsse (22)
Degree programme: Criminology master programme
Type of reviews: Books on (2,000 visitors
per month on a good day)

Books are like restaurants. If you’re considering one, you first check other people’s opinion on it. When I read online that someone didn’t entirely enjoy a particular book, I can pass on it. That’s what makes reviews like that so chill. And if I appreciate other people’s perspectives, they probably feel the same vice versa. That’s why I started writing my own reviews. I had just completed a course on classic English literature in secondary school, so I had some idea of what I was doing.

In my heyday, I finished a book per week, which I then reviewed. I’ve scaled down a bit now. I have to read a lot for my studies too, and simply don’t have as much time and energy left for reading novels. On the review site Goodreads, you can set yourself a reading challenge. My goal this year is 45 books, but I’m already five behind.

It’s often easier to rubbish a book than to sing its praises. That’s truly an art. In fact, my most widely-read review is a hatchet job too: of Fifty Shades of Grey. I really went to town on that one. Everyone was waxing lyrical on how good it was. But I thought the writing was so poor – and that’s leaving aside all those sex scenes. The characters were completely flat and the storyline was ripped off from the Twilight series, which the author is a fan of.”

This story is part of the summer special of 2017, ‘The Swarm of Opinions’.