I am a book blogger and I struggle with reviewing books. I love talking about books. I love discussing them as I read. I love recommending books after I’ve read them. But for me, writing a full blown review of a book is really difficult.
Firstly, I don’t always have what to say. If you’d ask me how I liked the book I could many times summarize everything into one or two sentences. Usually, “OMG! I loved this book! GO READ IT!” or “Eh. It was okay. I didn’t really think it was that great.” Now, sometimes I’ll expound a bit on why I felt that way. And I’m sure if I was asked a question or given a prompt things would be easier, but to just have an empty page to write my thoughts on feels daunting.
The dreaded blank page
However, by giving myself prompts and breaking down what I liked and didn’t like, I can usually figure out a review. The more difficult part is remembering the book, and not getting it confused with the one I’m currently reading. I tend to read lots of contemporary books, and so when I start the next one, I can get some details interchanged if the settings aren’t different enough. In addition since I’m focusing my attention on my current read, it takes effort to remember the book I finished a full 12 hours ago. I mean, 12 hours is a very long time. Again, a lot of this has to do with how memorable a book is. The less I remember, and the less strongly I feel, the harder the review is to write.
Sometimes when I’m writing a review I’ll recognize that something just didn’t work for me, but might work for other people. It’s always hard for me to strike that delicate balance between writing what I felt about a book, while trying to take into account that others might feel differently. This means I try to pinpoint what bothered me in a book as much as possible while reviewing, which has led to some realizations about my reading preferences. In fact, I was inspired to write a post going up later this month based on a pet peeve I noticed in a few books. Most of these books were ones I had to review, and I therefore took the time to figure out what bothered me.
Me once I’ve figured out how to phrase how I feel about a book
I also have a specific struggle tied to books I was given in order for review. These can be ARCs I received in giveaways or e-arcs I was granted by NetGalley. Since the idea with those copies is for you to review and publicize the book, the pressure starts getting to me and I take FOREVER to finally draft a review. Many time the book has already come out before I can bring myself to review it. Oops. And it’s not as if I don’t try. I do. I understand how important my review can be, but the struggle is there nonetheless. Recently I’ve started reading my NetGalley copies months in advance, that way even with my procrastinating ways I can keep on schedule. This has proved to be pretty effective, and might even help me get around to reviewing my backlist NetGalley books!
But just because reviewing is difficult doesn’t mean I don’t ever review or that I haven’t enjoyed reviewing books. It just means that I’m a perfectionist and want to do the book justice. So if you ever want to know my thoughts on a book I haven’t reviewed, I’m more than happy to casually gush about a book. But if you’re waiting for eloquent paragraphs on what I recently read, well, you’ll get a review eventually. You just might have to wait a while.
How do you feel about reviewing books? Does it come naturally? What tips do you have for me? And what’s your favorite review that you’ve written?