Discussion Post: Reviewing Books // how it has affected my reading, the kind of books I like to review, and a look into my reviewing process!

Hello people!

Why don’t we start with the elephant in the room – Rachel is writing a discussion?? Yes, yes I am. I know it has been a loooong while since I wrote a proper one, but blame inspiration. It never struck. Anywayy, onto the real stuff now!

I think most of us book bloggers, including me of course, started our book blog primarily to review books, and though we do so much more on our little corners of the internet now, book reviews still remain the soul of our blog.

I read avidly since I was really young, but didn’t always review books, in fact I’m quite a newbie as I started seriously reviewing only in the beginning of 2021. And while obviously my reviews have improved a LOT over time (please don’t read my earlier ones, they’re really cringey), today I’m gonna be talking about how reviewing has changed how I read, my take on the controversial “compulsory reviewing”, and in the second part of the post we look at my detailed reviewing process. (Oh and also, I’ll be asking myself questions since I couldn’t get anybody else to do that for me. Let’s see how that goes)

Do I read differently now that I review what I read?

Definitely. Blogging has impacted my reading in a big way. Not only am I open to more genres, the expectation of reviewing my reads has caused me to read more critically. In order to judge a book fairly, I must pay more attention to specifics like character development, the magic system, the worldbuilding etc, while also keeping enjoyment as a factor. Which brings us to the next big question.

Do I review every book I read?

Nope. Negative. (In fact, in the first quarter of 2021, I hardly reviewed any of the books I read!)
To make this appealing to math geeks, I selected 20 of my recent reads, and counted how many of them I’ve reviewed on my blog and/or on Goodreads. It came out as 11, which accounts for 55% of my reads. While that is definitely not accurate for the entire year (which is approximately when I started reviewing), it is a pretty average number for the ratio of the books I’ve been reviewing to the ones I read. And yes, while I’d like to increase this figure, I am happy with it.

In my opinion, no book blogger should feel pressured to review every single book they read. It’s completely fine if you don’t have much to say about a book. Picking up this thread, let’s move to the next major question – what can be the reason I don’t want to review a particular book?

Which kind of books do I like to write reviews for? When don’t I want to review a book?

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll see a plethora of positive reviews and barely any negative ones (scratch that. only 2 negative ones till date.) So yes, we can conclude that I love writing reviews for books I loved. I mean, of course, who wouldn’t like to scream about their newest obsessions right?

But then it is often 5 star books that are also hardest to review because sometimes… well… you just loved the book but you don’t know why exactly. Or atleast you don’t have enough words to write 10 paragraphs with. Same goes for some 4 star reads – I rate them 4 stars from instinct, because something is missing – but I have no clue what that something is. Hence, no review for such books from me.

On most occasions I find it easiest to write reviews for books I rated between 2 to 3 stars because then I have a healthy balance of things I liked and those I didn’t to include in my review.

My reviewing process!

#1 Just after I finish a book, I try to gauge my overall feelings towards it – whether I disliked it, liked it, really liked it, LOVED it… you know the thing. This is the most crucial, and sometimes the hardest, part because ultimately the way I feel towards a book decides the tone and vibes of my review.

#2 I write down pointers about the book in a curated list – this can be anything from a pros and cons list to a list of tropes featured in the book, or some general pointers about what stood out about that book. I like to do this immediately after finishing the book because the details are fresh in my mind.

#3 When I finally sit down to write the review a few days later, I make sure to refer my list. Then I organize the flow in my head – like I am gonna talk about the worldbuilding first, the characters next and the tropes later – that sort of a thing.

#4 Finally, I form complete sentences from my rough ideas. It is ironic how writing the actual review is the easiest part after doing all of the above things.

#5 And at the very end, I insert quotes and separators, and the synopsis and details – basically giving the entire thing a fine finish, and tada – you have a review ready! (whoa I really managed to make it all sound so easy)

Has reviewing books affected your reading in any way? What kind of books do you find hardest to review? What is your reviewing process? Let’s discuss in the comments!

~ Rachel

26 thoughts on “Discussion Post: Reviewing Books // how it has affected my reading, the kind of books I like to review, and a look into my reviewing process!

  1. Loved this post Rachel! I, too, have difficulty collecting my thoughts when I have read an exceptionally good book! And yes, my reading has changed too, since I’ve started blogging! This post was so relatable, tbh

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree that five star reviews are the hardest to write, because sometimes books just feel so good but you can’t exactly put into words why. I’d say 3-star reviews are the easiest to write because there’s a lot to discuss about what I liked and didn’t about a book…
    I only started reviewing after I started blogging as well! And haha yes I too only review about 5% of the books I read☺
    Great post!!

    Like

    1. I know right?! After reading something amazing, I’m like, what if my words can’t justify how good this book was? and overcoming that thought is soo hard.
      Exactly, as I said, I too feel like 2.5 to 3 star reviews are the easiest to write, there’s a lot to write and the pros and cons are pretty balanced.
      Thank you so much for reading, Jan! 💙✨

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post, I really enjoyed reading it!
    Don’t read my earlier reviews – sooo relatable! And I second that reviewing and blogging gives you a different angle for analyzing the reading material. I also find that for me 2 and 3 stars reviews are easier to write. I don’t read too many books and try to write at least a small review for each one I read, but if I do not feel inspired to say something about a book, I’ll just skip it. Sometimes I can read a hyped book to see if its worth all the attention it gets and if not, I love writing a snarky review, where I usually accentuate in a funny way why the book is not worth its money.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely, I won’t be able to write a good review if I still read like I used to earlier so my reading had to adapt!
      I feel like a lot of bloggers (including me sometimes) feel pressured to review every single book, so I’m glad you review only what you want to! Ahh yes not-worth-the hype reviews are the best.
      Thank you for reading!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Lovely post, Rachel. Loved reading about how you write your reviews. I used to enjoy reviewing books, which was why I stared my blog, but it’s become a chore these days so I’m exploring other options. Reviewing and Blogging has actually made me become a gender-specific reader. But they’ve also helped me to be a better reader and writer.

    Like

    1. Thank you so much Isha!
      Of course, we should never force ourselves to review if we don’t feel like it, and anyway there are millions of ways you can express your opinion on a book other than writing a thousand word review haha.
      Definitely, I read and write so much more consciously now because of reviewing!
      Thank you once again for reading the post, have a great day ❤️✨

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I definitely also prefer writing reviews for books I loved – and then books I hated 😁 It’s those mediocre reads that I have the most difficulty with, because I feel don’t feel passionate about them at all – neither in a good or bad way… So yeah, the full reviews on my blog are pretty much always chaotic rambles about books I adored 🤣 Every book I read does at least get a short review in my wrap-ups, though. Not that I always love writing them, but I do like having my thoughts to look back on, later!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha yes I’ve recently discovered the pleasing satisfaction gained by writing a negative review.
      Hmm you do make a good point there, the best reviews could be one written with passion, whether that is a love or hate doesn’t matter then right 😂
      Same here, I do try to include those one sentence reviews in my wrap-ups!
      Thank you so much for reading Naemi! 💙

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I totally relate to you. When I first started reviewing books I kinda pressurised myself to review every single one that I read, but now I’ve come to learn that, that doesn’t have to be. I know!! 5- star books are SO hard to review, all I pen down is how much I love it and would die for it! 😂 Also, your reviewing process so well organised. I just go on writing whatever comes to mind at that time, guess I need to pick up a system too. Great Post Rachel! loved reading this!! ❤❤❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes same! I used to feel bad for my low reviewing percentage, especially when compared to some other bloggers who are very regular with their reviews – but I’ve come to terms with it now!
      Right?! “OMG PLEASE READ THIS BOOK ITS SO GOOD ITS REALLY GOOD” makes up most of my five star review despite my best efforts haha.
      Not at all, sometimes I too just go with the flow (take for example my review of We Are Not Free) and just write everything on my mind – and if that works for you, there is absolutely no need to take up an actual “process”!
      Thank you so much Diya for reading 💙

      Liked by 1 person

  7. i totally agree that it is usually more difficult to write reviews for books that are 5 stars. when i love a book, sometimes it is so personal and subjective that i don’t really know how to put it into words lol. for me though, it’s actually a lot easier to write negative reviews lol. when i hate a book, i know exactly why. this was a wonderful discussion post, looking forward to more of these hopefully! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree! Negative reviews are generally more detailed and comprehensive than positive reviews too because we can list everything we hated, but for books I loved, I simply cannot find words and end up with a PLEASE READ THIS BOOK ITS SO GOOD.
      Thank you so much for reading the post! 💙

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Such an insightful post, Rachel, thank you for sharing! I really resonated with what you said about five star books being the hardest to review, agree with Sanah up there too, they are definitely very personal and subjective, and for me, I have a few thousand words worth of reading notes that is hard to condense into a coherent review haha! Reviewing has truly changed the way I read too, thank you for sharing your review process as well! Great discussion Rachel, and I look forward to many more to come! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YES five star books are so complicated – and its embarrassing and very selfish of me, but I’m guilty of not wanting to “share” my favourite books with people, sometimes the story feels like something I want to be the only one to experience haha, but of course, becoming a reviewer has changed that – now nothing gives me more joy than to shout-out my favourite books to all of my lovely friends here!!
      Thank you for the lovely comment cherelle 💙

      Liked by 1 person

  9. So interesting to hear your review process and how reviewing has changed your reading life!

    For me, I find it easiest to review books I really enjoyed, because I love giving praise! I rarely review 2-star books because if a book isn’t going to get at least 3 stars from me, I usually don’t finish it.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I LOVE READING ABOUT PEOPLE’S REVIEW WRITING PROCESSES, AND THIS ONE WAS PURE GOLD, RACHEL! Yes, four and five star books are so difficult to review, most of mine just involve screeching endlessly that i love them as much as life and beyond, but i almost never actually state why because everything in it is so good what do i do. writing negative reviews on the other hand, is so much simpler, AND A LOST OF FUN TOO SOMETIMES. Reviewing has definitely changed my reading process too and sometimes not exactly in a good way, because its so much harder to enjoy them when you’re also looking for the negatives and positives i feel. before i used to enjoy almost every single book i read even if it wasn’t that good but now its not always like that.
    This was such an ineteresting post, Rachel! Loved it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. omg that’s so sweet thank you anoushka!
      Haha yes of course, we love those passionate reviews where nothing makes sense, but only that bookish obsession shines through (I can relate to this so much, its painful😂)
      Ahhh I’d never properly written a negative review until a couple months back – and my I had been missing out earlier!! It is definitely a lot of fun!
      Yesss glad you understand, its kinda embarrassing that I fell in love with nearly every book I read earlier, even if it was nothing that special.
      Thank you for reading and for the lovely comment 💖

      Liked by 1 person

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