Thoughts on Writing Book Reviews

So I like to post on my blog around three times a week – I don’t really have a set routine on the things that I post on here, but I always make sure to post a book review up every weekend. Because it makes perfect sense for me to post book reviews on my book blog… However, since I’m in such a slump lately, I failed to post a review last week and may not even get one out this week, either. So since there’s no review going up this week, I thought I would write a small discussion post on the topic of writing book reviews.

(Emphasis on ‘mini’ because I’m still struggling with writing right now, but anyways…)

Lately I’ve been slacking with reading, blogging, responding to comments, and posting comments. I’ve slowly been getting back into it the past week but I’m still having a hard time with reviews. Two books I’ve read this past month, I decided to not write reviews on. If I were to write reviews on these books, they would be pretty positive ones since I enjoyed both of these novels. But I just don’t have the energy to write them, and I feel incredibly bad for it – especially since one of the book’s afterthoughts/acknowledgements/whatever, asked readers to please leave reviews online. I still feel so bad for not writing one, but I probably wouldn’t do the book justice in my current state anyways.

So I tweeted about this, and I said that sometimes, I don’t really enjoy writing book reviews. And I was surprised by the response. Because everyone that responded agreed with me! They said that sometimes they struggled to write reviews, or that their reviews felt repetitive (I completely relate to that one!). One follower said that reviewing books can sometimes take the fun out of reading for them, because they’re thinking about the task of writing the review as they’re reading.

This is one of the reasons I like to request ARCs from NetGalley one at a time. Because in my experience, writing book reviews regularly can get overwhelming, and the requirement that comes with ARCs to post reviews really gets me stressed sometimes! And in those moments, writing reviews is really not fun for me. Blogging for me is a hobby, and there’s no point in me doing this if I’m not having fun with it. (I currently have like 5 ARCs to read & review, too. I don’t know how it got so out of hand!)

That’s not to say reviewing novels is a huge chore, because of course it’s not, I wouldn’t be doing it otherwise. But sometimes I really struggle with them. If it’s a highly positive review or a negative one, writing reviews comes easily to me since I have lots to say! Three star reviews are the most difficult for me to write (funnily enough, they seem to be the most popular rating on my blog), because they feel really repetitive, and I think to myself “Am I saying anything unique here? Why would anyone even read this when there are far more entertaining and informative reviews elsewhere?” and those thoughts make me feel like I’m not doing my ‘job’ as a blogger up to a good standard. I depend on reviews a lot when it comes to deciding whether to add a book to my TBR or not, and because of that, I too want to help people with the same decisions by writing reviews of my own.

Sometimes I wonder whether my technique is part of the problem. I have a set layout of details/intro/characters/chemistry/plot/conclusion, then at the end I add who I would recommend the book to, and whether I would re-read the novel. And these reviews are around 700-1000 words long. Maybe I need to change it up a bit? Shorten it, add more images or colour? Even this post is a bit boring-looking. Maybe my issues with writing reviews lies with my technique and organisation (or lack thereof!).

This post is quite messy, and I feel like I had a lot more to say on the topic, but I wanted to ask you, do you enjoy writing book reviews? How often do you write/post them? Do you feel obligated to write them because you have a book blog? I’d love to know your thoughts!

jess

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43 thoughts on “Thoughts on Writing Book Reviews

  1. I find that writing book reviews helps me better remember the books I read. I don’t usually really enjoy it but I do find it worthwhile. The only ones I really enjoy are reviews of horrible books because I get to be mean and apparently I am very mean inside? I did not know this about myself until just this second. Whoops!

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  2. I personally enjoy writing book reviews. I don’t have many people to talk about books with in my real life. I got to a point in my life where I was craving talking about one of my favorite things but there just wasn’t anyone around to do that with. Since taking up book reviewing, I’ve found that I’m reading more and doing so with more regularity. It also forces me to reflect on lines that I really enjoy and think of why it was poignant to me.

    My main hardship is feeling like I am letting down my followers by not reviewing quickly enough. I have a busy life with family, friends and work so I often struggle to fit in my reading time. Sometimes there can be a week or two in between a review and I feel guilty about this.

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  3. I don’t write a review unless I have something to say about the book or film in question. By which I mean, whether it made exposed me to a new idea or made me think about a provocative question. I never write about what it’s “about” either. I think your’re right that that sort of thing is widely available. In fact, for a film, I link to Rotten Tomatoes so the reader can go there for a synopsis if they need that. And I always try to step back and take a broad view of the work. I imagine it as a painting. Even though it might be 500 pages, I try to ask myself “what was my overall impression here?” “what emotions did this evoke in me?” or “what did I get out of this that wasn’t directly related to plot?”

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  4. I enjoying reviewing…well, things in general and I write them whenever I feel to get around them. I don’t feel obligated because I want to do them. Sometimes you do need to mix your schedule up to make life meaningful. Sometimes, it’ll be months before I post another thing, but think about it. Most authors take a year before making another book. Sometimes, it’s best to get out, try something different, and come back. Try writing a draft over the week and saving it until it’s ready to be published. Might save time so you could do other things.

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  5. I enjoy writing book reviews for books that I enjoy. It’s a lot harder for me to write a book review if I don’t enjoy the book, but that’s something that I get to share with fellow readers and bloggers. I’m new to blogging and book reviewing, and am very impressed by your blog. I was wondering if you had any tips for newbie bloggers and book reviewers.

    If you have the time, please check out my blog @breenysbooks. I’d love any feedback. Have a wonderful day.

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    • It’s odd because I find reviews for books I didn’t much enjoy to be a lot easier to write (the guilt is definitely there however, I actually feel quite bad writing negative reviews, even if I find it easier to put my thoughts down in writing). Thank you!! I’ll do that now!

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  6. I like writing reviews on books I really love but that’s about it unless a book really infuriates me then I like to express that too but not many books do that for me so I do find myself having no energy to write up reviews. I have been posting a lot lately because I have NetGalle copies but I find I have to write it up as soon as I’ve finished the book otherwise I put off doing it for ages. I think if I had a YouTube channel and could just babble on about a book that way I would quite happily do it but trying to put the words on a page is so draining. I defiantly agree with you on what you’re saying! Great post Jess 🙂 – Sarah xoxo

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