I’ve been thinking this weekend. Dangerous I know. However when I went on a mission to work out just how many books I had yet to review that I had read this year I was rather shocked by the pile that I was confronted with…
Uh-oh! This was made considerably worse when I thought I had missed four from the pile to realise I had actually missed about seven. Whoops. This pile of potential reviews both had me slightly panicked and also pondering over reviews going forward with the blog. I have discussed review policies quite a bit this year but other than the constant desire to review better I haven’t thought about it that much. These are now my thoughts and you can add your thoughts on my thoughts (oh that sounds more confusing than it is) in the comments below.
Reviews are hard work. Be they positive reviews or negative reviews, reviews are bloody hard work and really time consuming, yet I love them. People ask how long a review takes and the answer is… weeks. You see I write initial scribbles in my notebook, and keep notes or take pictures of paragraphs I want to use that capture the book/writing, as I am reading. I then spend quite a while (an hour or two) writing a post not long after I have read it. Then, and this has only happened in the last two or three years, I go away and leave it to settle (both the review in a document but more importantly the book in my brain) before I go back, with some more themes and things I have thought of to add plus most importantly a more rounded picture of it. Some books grow on you, some books fade.
Reviews get read but not so many comments. Slightly annoyingly a post like this which looks at reading and reviewing will get more comments than any book review I do and yet take nowhere near as long as it is more a stream of consciousness/ponderings out loud. Now admittedly I don’t blog for comments, though they are lovely to get, I have always blogged to keep a reading diary, occasionally poorly. Yet a comment or five are nice especially when you have put so much time in to them. That said I am crap at commenting on other blogs when I haven’t read the book because to say ‘nice review’ seems a bit empty, must try harder Simon!
When I don’t review I don’t feel like a “book blogger”. That simple, though what a book blogger is nowadays I am not so sure. Anyway… Recently writing more posts about reading and other booky things I haven’t felt like much of a blogger more just someone who is waffling on about books and not actually analysing them and getting excited about them which is my favourite bit really. Next year there will be a better ratio I think.
I need to be timelier in my reviews. Some books I have forgotten I have read or what happened in them, these are the ones that have escaped the above picture. I read a lot and some get forgotten, but then that might mean I didn’t like them so much. So be more timely or…
I don’t want to review everything I read. At least not all of it, and not some of it in great detail. Out of the books above there are a few that I have really enjoyed but don’t have much to say other than ‘well it was nice’. I have also noticed with some Hear Read This choices and You Wrote The Book authors because I have thought about those books so much before talking about them so much I don’t have the urge to then talk about them more and more. Interesting. This will probably mean a) I don’t review everything I read AND like, because I don’t review stuff I don’t like and can’t be constructive and/or give up on b) I may do more round up posts now and again.
I want my reviews to be better. This is something I am always striving for but sometimes, like with my latest review, a few days later I think ‘oh why didn’t I mention that?’ or ‘ what about that bloody theme’ etc. This will happen. What I mean is that I want to try harder to get the essence of the book, its themes and its effects on me as a reader in a more fluent and interesting way. Gran used to say she was getting more and more proud of my reviews after they ‘started a bit like rushed Amazon ones’, I would like to up my game even more in the next few months warming up for 2015. Basically I want to write like myself but with the insight I love from all my favourite bloggers, one of which (Eric of Lonesome Reader) I have told to their face makes me vomit in my own mouth a little bit with green eyed envy at what he produces.
I want my reviews to be me. This may mean some jokes intertwined but no swearing, unless really called for I think swearing in reviews looks a bit naff and unintelligent. I need to think about this a bit more.
So there, that is my thoughts on reviewing my reviewing. What are your thoughts on reviewing and reviews? What really makes a review stand out for you? Do you have any favourite reviews? What makes you read on and what makes you not bother? What makes you comment or not? Do you have to have read the book first? What are the things you like, and those you loathe, in a review? Why do I always have so many questions?