Monday, 27 March 2017

BLOG TALK | On Reviewing Books...


Today I wanted to have a little discussion about reviewing books... Not an essential part of book blogging, but definitely a prevalent one.

Within the book blogging community we all have our own approaches to blogging, and in that our own approaches to the content we share. I know of bloggers who don't share book reviews at all, and others who review every single book they read - I think for the most part a happy medium of both of those is common in the community.

Personally, I don't review every single book I read... I write reviews of books I want to rave about and recommend, or discuss with others who have read it also. For the most part, the reviews I share are of books I have a positive reading experience of. That's not to say I only review books I rate five stars, or books I have nothing bad to say about, but just that the reading experience is one I want to remember.

I know some people would have a gripe with that... Why don't I talk about the books I didn't enjoy? Or the books I rate as 1 or 2 star reads? It isn't that I'm purposefully not reviewing these books because I don't want to offend or anything; I don't review these books as I don't want to spend more time on a book that didn't provide me with a positive reading experience. Also, if I'm not enjoying a book very much, chances are that I'll DNF it anyway.

This year, instead of entirely glazing over titles like that, I've decided to talk about them a little in my monthly wrap up posts. I think it's important to address books you didn't enjoy, and until recently I didn't know how to incorporate them in blog posts, however the solution of including them in my wrap up is working well for me so far.

Now you know how I approach reviewing books, I'd love to know how you go about reviewing the books you read.
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19 comments

  1. That's exactly how I handle DNFs...talk about them in my Monday weekly updates (It's Monday, What Are You Reading). I do think it's important to mention the underwhelming stuff too, as how do we maintain our credibility if we only write about books we love? We obviously don't love every book we read. And - I think it's important to have a balanced set of reviews/commentary out in the Internet world...if I'm reading a book and not loving it and Google it to see what others are thinking and find only positive reviews, is that an accurate picture? Maybe not if tons of bloggers are just not writing about that book b/c they didn't like it.
    That being said - I only write a sentence or two about DNFs so I'm not spending much time on it. But, I will write a full review if I didn't like a super popular book that everyone else loved...just to have a differing opinion out there (A Gentleman in Moscow is one example). And those reviews actually do pretty well in Google search for me.

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    1. I totally agree with having a balanced set of thoughts/reviews/reading experiences surrounding a given book - one of the many reasons why books we don't particularly connect with and enjoy should be talked about.

      Thanks for sharing how you approach book reviewing :-)

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  2. I handle them by not reviewing anymore. I used to when my blog was young, but now I just say a little in blurb in my weekend post and that is it. lol

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    1. Haha! It's interesting to see how your thoughts on reviews change over time.. When I was first in the book community a good few years ago, I remember reviewing pretty much everything!

      Thanks for sharing!

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  3. I review the majority of the books I read, but I don’t review DNFs. I mention them in wrap ups. I don’t like to spend time talking about books I really didn’t enjoy. Positive reviews are more fun to write. Interesting discussion!

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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    1. I definitely agree with positive reviews being more fun to write. Thanks, and for sharing in the discussion!

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  4. I used to review everything I read, but reviews are pretty rare on my blog now. That's mostly a not-having-enough-time issue. And I'm also down to two posts a week, so I often have something else bookish to write about. I hardly ever DNF a book, but if I do, it usually just disappears off my Goodreads list without a mention anywhere. I like your idea of saying something about them in your wrap-up so there's at least some record of why you didn't like them.

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    1. It's understandable reviews being rare when blogging lessens... I know reviews are the first thing that fall when I'm not getting many posts up. Thanks for sharing!

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  5. My approach is exactly the same. I generally only review books I really want people to take notice. I'm not going to waste time talking much about a book that didn't win me over, except maybe mentioning it in one of my weekly posts.
    I am behind on reviews. I tend to go months without posting any, and then play catch up and post several in a row.

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    1. It can be hard to keep up with reviews, but mainly reviewing books you enjoy probably helps when it comes to catching up - those thoughts are naturally more prominent than of books you didn't quite enjoy. Thanks for sharing, Brandie!

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  6. The whole reviewing thing is definitely something I wrestle with from time to time. I do review most of what I read but most of what I read are review books so they need to have blog space somewhere. I do hate to give a full review to a book I didn't like or DNF'd so I tend to combine them. I'll have a blog post with 2 or 3 books I DNF'd or just don't have that much to say about. Or I'll tack a DNF review on to a post about a book I enjoyed. I do think it's important to review books that didn't wow me from time to time just to share what works for me and what doesn't. Great post!

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    1. Combining them with other reads / those of a similar experience is a great idea to acknowledge them. Thanks for sharing your approach!

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  7. I do much the same- I don't review everything- but I do review MOST of what I read. But then I'm a mood reader anyway and don't do a lot of ARC's, so it's usually a book I'm enthusiastic about anyway, unless it turned out to be a big disappointment. But if I really didn't like a book there's a very good chance I won't review it. Since I started blogging I've noticed that reviewing seems to help me sort out my feelings on a book, so it might be as much for me as for my readers ha ha! Not really, but I do enjoy thinking about the book after I'm finished.

    Great post!

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    1. I totally understanding reviewing books helps you to sort out your thoughts and feelings. Thanks for sharing!

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  8. I think I used to feel like I had to review everything I read, but that was a very long time ago -- back when I mostly read were full-length adult or YA novels -- they took a while to get through so I guess I was able to keep up. Now I read such a mixture of things including shorter books, audiobooks, and TONS of picture books, so the idea of reviewing everything just seems absurd to me based on my reading habits. I try to highlight books I loved or have something significant to say about them (good or bad, but honestly, it is usually when I have something good to say!) I am not censoring myself, but it's just a lot more enjoyable to recommend books than to NOT recommend books. I figure with a small following, most people who actually read my blog are more interested in what I actually do like anyway! I'd say 95% of what I read gets a star rating on Goodreads and maybe 80% gets at least a line or two "review" on Goodreads, so you're more likely to see more of my "reviews" or thoughts on specific books on Goodreads these days than on my blog. I blog more about general bookishness, events, and special projects like the Classics Club. It works for me and is open to change at any time :)

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    1. P.S. I love the photo in this post!

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    2. Given how you're reading habits have changed, I would imagine that to be pretty overwhelming if you were to review every single thing you read. Haha! I agree with you on it being more enjoyable to recommend books, as opposed to not recommending them.

      You're better than me when it comes to Goodreads - I rate everything with a star rating, however I only tend to review the books that get reviewed on my blog. I should really work on that... Even if just a line or two like you say.

      Thanks re: the photo. I LOVE the notebook from Cath Kidston - I use it as a reading log.

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    3. As for Goodreads, the few line reviews only get done because of the Goodreads app to be honest. When I finish a book and mark it read on the app, I add in my line or two with my rating right then. The only trick for me really is to not always be thinking "oh but I might do a real review for this one later..." then I'd procrastinate and neither would happen! Lol

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    4. I need to use the app more... I have it, but I'm terrible with apps and such. I tend to update on my desktop. Forming a habit of it like you've done would be a good idea, for sure.

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