A big family, a reading addiction, and the occasional celebrity scandal are the ingredients of life that create one woman's opinion on just about everything.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

About Book Reviews

Do you review every book you read? I don't. In fact, while I love reading reviews by other readers, the one aspect of my blog I feel the least secure about is my reviews. I'm not worried that a person visiting and reading my review, even the author, might not agree. No I'm worried about sounding like an idiot.

I read reviews at Smart Bitches and Dear Author all the time. Those are some seriously smart women. They frequently discuss aspects of a book that I don't give much thought to. Or, if I did have some feelings about the subject matter, I sure couldn't articulate it like they do. I call it reader reviewer envy.

When I like a book, when I like it alot, it is almost always because it resonated with something in me -- something personal to me or my history. Translating that in an articulate manner in a reader review is sometimes very difficult...or too revealing. Consequently, I end up not reviewing everything I read.

AngieW was recently wondering whether or not it was better to post on her blog that she hadn't time to post or just post nothing. I commented that I like a post just saying...hey my life is busy see you soon. At least then we aren't wondering what happened, for better or worse, to a person we've come to know.

I mention this because I was wondering about the reviews. Is it better to write a review of what you are reading even if you are going through a phase of just "meh" books? How about the content between book reviews. Do you like reading about personal stuff, life observations? What do you like to read on other people's blogs?

I don't like to post a bad review. I don't mind reading them. In fact, I very much appreciate them, if they aren't just a personal vendetta against an author. It gives me something to think about when I'm making purchases. Also, writing my blog has given me a new appreciation for authors. I can't imagine sweating to write a book, edit and re-read it a couple of times to prepare it for publishing and then have some chick in Southern California (me) with no particular experience writing a book review armed with a long history of reading books, romances in particular, give my book a review.

So, when I don't like something, I don't usually review it on its own. I might mention it briefly with alot of other books, but I won't single it out and say for instance, "This book sucks".

I also have never done an e-book review. I don't mean a published work that is also an e-book, but a book written for an e-publisher. Since most of what I purchase in e-book format would fall under the romantica, erotic romance category I haven't yet conquered the right tone to bring to such a review. I should also mention here that most of these books fall under the "Well, I didn't hate it..." category.

So what about you? How much thought goes into your reviewing? Do you have a set plan for reviewing...so many a month, whenever the spirit moves you? I'm back to my first question...do you review everything you read?



Blogger Holly said...

When I first started posting, our agreement (at SF) was that we'd review every book we read. But as time has gone on, I've found myself less and less interested in reviewing the books I read. I have more than 30 books waiting to be reviewed, and I just can't work up the enthusiasm to do them.

I don't really have a preference one way or the other (for other blogs, I mean). I like reading your blog because your writing style speaks to me and you often share the same opinions that I do, or just because I find what you say interesting. Though I appreciate when you review a book, I don't find myself disappointed that you don't.

And, like you, I like it better when we get a "Busy, be back later" drive-by post than nothing at all when someone can't be around.

Whatever you like is fine with me. :)

10:34 AM PDT  
Blogger Karen Scott said...

Rosie, I used to like writing reviews, regardless of whether they were A books or -Z offerings, but just lately, I've found it really difficult to get motivated enough to them justice.

I've always been a lazy reviewer, but I've noticed that my reviewing style has changed in the time that I've been blogging.

I think I've let other people's reviews alter my own style, So I think I'm gonna go back to doing my lazy KarenS blurbs, and lazier analysis.

I'm relatively easy to please when it comes to books. Give me a good hero, a good heroine, good plot, and a decent grasp of the English language, and I'm happy.

2:09 PM PDT  
Blogger Rosie said...

Holly, I'm with you on the blogging. I write about anything and everything that catches my interest. Thanks for the support too!

Karen, I like that everyone's reviewing style is different. For one thing it gives different perspectives on the book. I've found people who liked the same book as me but for completely different reasons.

As far as other blogs influencing us, I think that happens to everyone, don't you?

2:18 PM PDT  
Blogger The Book Girl, A.K.A. Jodi said...

I originally started my blog in order to keep track of this new passion (called romance) that had taken me by storm. There is something about this genre that just made me want to chronicle every book! So my answer is: yes, I write a review on every book that I read...even if it is a bad review.

It started out as being strictly for me...then I found you, Holly, Kristie J, Jenster, the list goes on and on. I have met all of these really amazing women, from all over the world, that I would never have had the pleasure to meet if it had not been for my self-review romance blog!

I truly look forward everyday to see what all my new smart & witty friends write about, whether it is book related, personal, comical, or rant-a-licious (I just made that word up).

Everyone has their own personal style and I enjoy them all. Don't change a thing girlfriend!

2:32 PM PDT  
Anonymous Scooper said...

I recently began blogging as a requirement for a class. I didn't know what people wanted to read on a blog so I decided to write about my love of books and my writing process. Towards the end of September I made a comitment to myself that I would write a post everyday.

Obviously I had no idea how taxing it would be to just write reviews. Now, I've expanded to whatever I feel like minus my family (that too could change). Whenever I read a book that makes me feel more than content (good or bad) I blog about it.

That said, I love reading your site and Holly's too. The variety of subjects is refreshing and often makes me laugh. I hate when a blog isn't updated for a while (like a week or more). I would prefer some notice like "Still alive! Come back in a week", anything.

2:49 PM PDT  
Blogger Rosie said...

Jodi, I love the little cyber community I'm in. I still revel in all the different people and places I come across and take joy in things we have in common as well as the differences in culture, etc. Thanks for the vote of confidence too!

Scooper, I'm totally going to use "Still alive come back in a week!" Wow, you started your blog as a school assignment. That's interesting. Are you glad you did or is it strictly a writing exercise for you?

2:57 PM PDT  
Blogger Lori said...

I don't review every book I read. Frankly, I read far too many books. Also, if I can't find at least something nice to say, it's not worth it to me to write anything about it. JenniferB and I (and the rest of our bloggers) have never made any sort of hard and fast agreement about it, but I think we all feel the same way.

Which is why I felt pained writing my last Loretta Chase review, although really, had I read it on someone else's blog, I wouldn't have thought there was really anything wrong with it.

My style has definitely changed since I started writing up my reviews. It's tough sharing blog space out there with JB! LOL. I've definitely had to become more thoughtful about what I write, but I think that's why I don't write up everything I read. Sometimes it's just not worth thinking that deeply *g*

9:03 PM PDT  
Anonymous Scooper said...

Rosie it's pretty sad to say but starting my blog has been the most exciting thing I've done in awhile. I've been attending classes on/off for 10 years and this blog is one of the best things I've learned how to do. It's also the most interesting.

I plan to keep this blog going for a long time. It relaxes me and lets me say what I want without driving my friends and family crazy with my opinions.

Okay, I lied. I'm still going to drive them batty.

4:42 AM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well I can't call all my
"reviews" reviews ... sometimes I just do a one line comment on a book, but yes, I try to comment on each one. Didn't realize I had started doing that until you posted this.

Used to not be that way, but I kind of morphed into it for some reason. I try to throw other things in to change it up though, I rally do!

Anyway, as far as other review sites, I don't really care for reading long reviews like dear author puts out ... I just skim to the bottom and look for the grade. Don't get me wrong, I love her site! I even comment, but usually that's on the stuff she posts other than reviews. Smart bitches? Meh. I find I generally don't like the books they review so I raarely read theirs. Bamm I read every once and a great while just for a laugh, but not to take her reviews serious.

So yeah, not sure what I was rambling on about, oh yeah, how I review. hmmm, i hope I mix it up enough so as not to bore those who stop by ...

6:13 AM PDT  
Blogger Rosie said...

Lori, I read too many books to review them all as well. I usually just pick books that speak to me in some way to review. And, as I already said I'm not much for the negative reviews. That should probably be a whole other post.

Scooper, I think having a new blog site is pretty exciting. BTW, just tell your friends and family have a place to write doesn't mean you took a vow of silence.

Zeek, how many books a month would you say you read? I read sometimes 5 books a week. It overwhelms me to think about reviewing them all...even one liners!

8:21 AM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although I'd love to read that many a week, I probably fall into 3 at the most! (some weeks more than others!)

8:36 AM PDT  
Blogger Wendy said...

I review about 99% of what I read. For one thing, I'm a slow(er) reader so it's easy for me to keep up (reading 100 books in a year is GREAT for me!) Also, I've been reviewing online since 1999, so it's almost like second nature to me now.

I'll review the good and bad - but admittedly I like reviewing the good more. It tickles me that so many bloggers bought A Reason To Live by Maureen McKade and enjoyed it as much as I did. Go Team!

When I don't write the review, it's usually because I'm on a Harlequin bender and the books fall into the "meh" catagory. But generally speaking, I'll blather on about every book I read.....

9:08 AM PDT  
Blogger Kristie (J) said...

I don't review every book I read. I seem to be going in and out of slumps at the speed of light, so I don't review books I don't finish. I figure it's just me so why dis a book when it's probably a decent enough book but for one reason or another I just can't get into it? I do like to review books I've enjoyed though. specially if it's a new or midlist author. I figure the big name authors get enough reviews and don't really need my tiny little take on them, but I just love it when someone buys a lesser known book I've read and enjoyed and enjoys it too. When I started my blog, I figured it would be a whole mish mash of things - and it is; whatever strikes me whether it's a review or my thoughts on the genre or any other thing that comes into my head.

9:11 PM PDT  

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