How Do You Review?

I have reached a point in my reading life where I do not read books I am not enjoying. I do not see the point in wasting time on a book if you aren’t enjoying the experience of reading it. I adore classics and modern classics, but not all of them are to my taste,  I found the Hobbit tremendously dull. I respect the talent of J. R. R. Tolkien, however, I have no time for his prose. I often find him on ‘must read’ lists, but if you are reading a book purely because it looks good to have read it you’ve missed the point – read for yourself not others.

As I no longer read books that I struggle through it is rare to find me rating book harshly on GoodReads or giving it a less than respectful review here. I know some visitors dislike a blog that has consistently positive reviews, but as I am reading what I am enjoying I am not going to find things to complain about for the sake of entertainment. I often try to balance my reviews, yet, if I love a book I want to share that feeling over any need for objectivity.

My reviews could probably be described as part technical discussion and part a discussion on how it has made me feel or think, percentage dependant on the subject or genre. There are no clear rules that I can see that I may template my analysis to. (If you have noticed a pattern, I would be interested to know.)

To get to the point, I am wondering how you review. What do you think about as you are reading? Do make notes? Do you have a template for discussion, or does it just flow from you? If you review ARCs how long do you make the review, do you include any spoilers? If you are reviewing published novels, do you think spoilers matter? Do you widen the discussion to talk about themes in the novel? Do you chat about how feminist/sexists/racist a novel may be?

Tell me your secrets!

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20 Comments on "How Do You Review?"

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Jenny @ Reading the End
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I try to make notes when I’m reading — I have a very good little notebook for writing down review notes in, if I can get to it easily while I’m reading a given book. I do include spoilers, whether or not I received a book for review (but I mark them, and I don’t review books before they come out). I love talking about gender and race and class themes in books, if it comes up!

Jenny @ Reading the End
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Also: I completely support you in DNFing books you’re not enjoying. Life’s too short. There are too many books in the world.

Mitchii @ Aeropapers
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I tried reviewing all the books I read but sadly failed. I reviewed books that I feel like reviewing; the books that I have lot to say. But I always leave brief reviews. I tried not to include any spoilers regardless if it’s an Arc or not.

Charlie
Guest
I think the whole positive-only review ‘issue’ generally occurs when it’s obvious the reviews are written positively just to please. If you’re giving good marks because those are the books you finished, fair dos :) I got through The Hobbit but the first LOTR… well I’ve the other two but I don’t know if I’ll get to them. Same reason as you’ve said here. I make notes if I remember (easier when it’s a bad book), and I guess I work to a semi-template – I let the words flow but I like to begin and end in a certain… Read more »
Rebecca Scaglione - Love at First Book
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I just spill my guts. I don’t take notes unless a note pops out at me, like something I either LOVE or absolutely can’t stand, or a quote I want to mention. I think you can review whatever you want to review – good books, bad books. . . I review a lot of books but if I don’t want to review a book, I also will skip it. I don’t ever want to feel like I HAVE to do something. I’m not being paid, so reviewing something I don’t want to review is just not worth it. Although I… Read more »
Andrew Blackman
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I agree with Charlie – the main thing is honesty. If reviews feel like publicity, that turns people off, but yours never do. They feel honest. I think most of us write more positive than negative reviews – you tend to write about things you’ve liked and want to share with people. My reviews usually end up with some balance of positive and negative points, but more tilted towards positive.

I don’t really take notes – I prefer to enjoy the reading experience, and then flick back through afterwards and start looking for patterns and themes to mention in my review.

Cassie
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I will not ever be a professional book reviewer, that’s for sure. I see no point in tearing down a book (or any piece of media or art) I didn’t enjoy. My reasoning is that if I’ve never successfully created and finished (and published) something like that myself, who the hell am I to judge the effort the author or artist made? I’m only ever going to write about the books I loved or the books that at least made me think. I like including an excerpt or two that stood out, discussing themes, etc. I have mixed feelings about… Read more »
Kya
Guest

That is the right way to do it. Read for yourself not for anyone else (unless like, you have to for school or work haha). I still am caught in the bubble of having to finish books I start, and it’s annoying when you’re reading something you don’t like. It’s silly. xD

I don’t really do reviews, because it makes me nervous. xD I want to try and write more ‘opinions’ about the books I have read, but I don’t know if I would share them. :P

Rinn @ Rinn Reads
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I have a little notebook that I jot down notes and ideas, which I use for every ARC. Sometimes with a non-ARC I’ll pick it up part of the way through the book if I feel like I could write a review for it. And other times I’ll rush through a book (note taking is a bit of a disturbance actually) and write the review or notes straight after =D

Athira
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I sometimes make notes, but not always. I find that there is a better chance for me to review a book if it really made me think, whether I liked the book or not. If I liked a book, but forgot about it in two days, I may never write the review.