Reviewing Habits

I haven’t posted a discussion topic for a while so I thought it would be a good idea to discuss reviewing habits of book bloggers. I try to write a review as soon as I finish reading a book so that the details are still fresh in my mind. I want to write my reviews before I become fully immersed in another novel so that I won’t get confused with a new story. Also, I tend to forget the specifics of a book after some time has passed. I guess that’s how simple it is for me – I sit down and write a review after finishing a book. I don’t take down notes while reading but I try to note down quotes that I want to include in my review, I usually just write down the page number somewhere. I love that Goodreads allows me to add my favorite quotes in each book’s page. I’m very laid back when it comes to my reviews because I want to keep things fun. I don’t want it to feel like work, you know? The downside of my review process is I usually don’t have reviews lined up as drafts. When I haven’t finished a book for some time (like now), I wouldn’t have any new posts to put up.

Usually, anything goes with the reviews that I write. I mention what stood out for me in the book – like the characters or the plot or the worldbuilding – or specific things that I liked or didn’t like. There are times when I post reviews that are longer than my usual review length because I end up saying a lot of things about the book while there are also times when I have a hard time coming up with anything. It’s frustrating when I can’t find words to express how I felt while reading a certain book because I don’t follow a set of guidelines when it comes to my reviews. Not having structured reviews is part of keeping things casual for me. I figure that as long as I can describe how I felt about the book, then I’m good.

I know it’s different for every other blogger out there. There are bloggers who take down notes while reading, bloggers who have a lot of reviews lined up because they read fast and there are also those who follow certain guidelines when reviewing. It’s different for every blogger and I guess that’s what makes things so interesting in the book blogosphere. So because I’m curious, please comment and share your reviewing habits.

26 thoughts on “Reviewing Habits

  1. I like to write about the books I’ve read as soon as I finish reading too. Though, in some cases, I find it hard to churn out a blog post about a book if the subject matter is heavier (or if I had a hard time reading the book). In cases like that, I take up to two days just to figure out what I want to write.

    And much as I don’t want to admit it, feedback also dictates what I write–which, in turn, influences how fast I write about a book. When I really dislike a book, I try to be more objective (keyword, “try”) so I don’t earn the ire of fans or the author.

    But there have been times (back when I wasn’t extremely busy) that I was able to line up a number of book blogs because I really enjoyed the books I had been reading. That, and some of them were really short.

    • Hey, same here! It’s harder for me to write a review when I have a lukewarm reaction to the book. You can’t write a review and just say “it was okay but it didn’t work out for me.” My reviews tend to be longer for the books that I love because there’s so much that I want to say.

      I think that reviews on book blogs are generally subjective. It’s hard to objective when you talk about your own feelings and thoughts about the book. I like it though because you get a sense of the person behind the blog as opposed to reading reviews of someone you don’t know.

      I feel sad when I don’t have any reviews lined up because my stats drop and the blog is quiet. 😦 But there’s really nothing that I can do about it. It’s not like I can force myself to read and review faster.

      • I’ve come to stop caring about stats. Haha. I started my blog to find like-minded people–which I already have. I’m okay with that for now. πŸ™‚ (of course, this wasn’t what I said a few months ago. haha.)

        Also, my reviews tend to go longer for books I like too. Maybe it’s because we have so much to write about it–without the limitations of the “what if people think I’m just lambasting this?” line of thinking, when we write about books we don’t like.

        With regards to being subjective… I think I’m throwing objectivity to the wind. With what everyone’s been saying in this post, I think one of the reasons why I’m having a hard time writing about some books is because I’m trying to be objective. So screw objectivity! πŸ˜€

  2. i love reading about how other people review.

    i am an incredible lazy reviewer. i read books all the time and never even review them. sometimes i post quick thoughts on goodreads (a few sentences)

    i am also disorganised. i dont have draft posts waiting. i often review on goodreads and never post my thoughts on my blog. i can go a week or more without posting a review. i am think about making a blog schedule but am too laid back and kind of like keeping it informal for myself.

    i do think i would be better if i didnt spend so long on some of my reviews. i try to capture the book thoughtfully and sometimes it takes in excess of an hour. (last nights review post took an hour and 15 mins (including adding links). i might do some mini reviews?

    i love reading your reviews. they are always well said and entertaining/interesting. i am impressed that you review straight away. i feel like i should get my act together, haha πŸ˜€

    • I love your reviews, Nomes! Oh so that’s why sometimes I see some of your reviews on Goodreads but not on your blog. It’s a good thing I follow you on both. πŸ™‚

      It sounds like we have the same reviewing style, very laid back and just anything goes. I used to pressure myself more, like last year, I’d try to put up posts everyday. But now I don’t want to stress myself out if there isn’t anything to post. Also, I don’t participate in memes anymore (except for IMM) so that’s less posts for me.

      Me too, I feel like it takes me a long time to write reviews. I’m not sure how long it usually takes me but an hour sounds reasonable. I also do several rereads before I feel like hitting the publish button. What I meant to say with this post was that I try to write reviews as soon as I can but sometimes, reviews get published days after I finish reading.

  3. I don’t follow any scheduele when it comes to reviews–I do however wait a day or two after reading a book before I start writing one. Especially if it’s a book I love–I try not to fall into the trap of writing a gushing review, lol. The only times I try to plan things in advance is when I’m on a blog tour for a book–then I try to buckle down. Otherwise… I don’t stress myself out, hah.

    • What with work and everything else, I usually end up writing reviews at least a day after I finish reading it. That’s the soonest that I can get around to it. Me too, even if I loved a book, I try not to gush about it on my review. Although there are times when I can’t help it, the enthusiasm just bubbles forth and it’s obvious when I love a book. πŸ™‚

      Yes to not stressing ourselves out with our book blogs!

      • I love whenever I read other people’s reviews that have their enthusiasm peeking out from behind their words–it shows that they truly loved that book! I just try not to write those insubstantial, OMG-I-LOVE-THIS-BOOK reviews. Those I find the least helpful!

        And yes!!! I think a lot of bloggers stress themselves out too much–blogging should never be a chore!

      • I think that the kind of gushing review that you’re describing depends on the blogger also. πŸ˜› There are bloggers who post those kinds of reviews all of the time. I have to agree with you, those kinds of reviews aren’t helpful at all.

        I know! I love my blog but I don’t want to be stressed out because of it so I want to keep things simple and casual.

  4. I am so incredibly bad about not reviewing books. Especially lately. I keep track of everything I read in a spreadsheet and probably only 30% of those books ever get reviewed on my blog – which is shameful, but most of the time, it’s just cause I’m lazy πŸ˜‰

    I too like to keep things laid back, I don’t like to read a book right after I finish however since I usually enjoy stewing over the story for a few days before I commit to an opinion for the www to see. But I do mark passages in books if they stand out to me while reading – otherwise I’m not really a note taker. Sometimes I’ll jot down ideas but that’s about it.

    And I used to be so good about having posts lined up – usually I’d have about a week in advance ready to go, but lately I just can’t seem to do that, but hey, it’s fine with me! So I don’t worry too much πŸ˜‰

    Wonderful post – I too love your reviews and get many recommendations here πŸ˜‰

    • Wow, really, you just review around 30%? I wish I could do that but if I did, I would probably have new posts only about everything other week. So you probably read fast, you just don’t feel like blogging about all of the books that you read? πŸ™‚

      I know what you mean. There are times when I don’t feel like putting up a post even though I’ve finished writing it because I kind of feel like I’m not yet ready for the whole world to know my opinion about that book. Does that make sense?

      Thanks, Michelle! You know I feel the same way about your blog. πŸ˜€

  5. Same here. I like writing the review just after I read the book and hopefully before I get caught up in a another novel. The longer I wait the less I remember the details that I want to include.

    I don’t have a fixed structure for my reviews. But I always mention that things that I liked and did not like about the book.

    I know what you mean, sometimes I can’t find the words to express myself properly. And there are those times when the book is so gosh darn beautiful and eloquently written that I feel my review is inadequate but I try my best nonetheless.

    • Looks like we follow the same review process!

      I think I find it harder to express my thoughts because I have to do in English? Don’t get me wrong, writing in English is a lot easier than writing in Filipino for me but I don’t usually think in straight English. So some of my thoughts need to be translated in my head before I can put them down.

  6. Hi, Chachic! (It’s nice to be back.)

    I usually draft my book reviews (on paper and on MS Word), which explains why I post them late. Like you and most book bloggers, I review the book after I read it. My reviews are mostly plot analyses and a brief answer to β€œDo you like the book? Why or why not?”

    The really tricky part for me when it comes to reviewing is when I don’t like the book. You know, we try to be careful with what we say though at times being downright blunt would be cathartic. ^_^

    Nice post, by the way!

    • Oh you still write drafts of your reviews on paper and on Word! I usually just do drafts on WordPress itself. Me too, most of my reviews just talk about why I ended up liking or not liking a certain book.

      LOL I don’t want to be mean in any of my reviews. Even if I didn’t like a book, I want to express that in a nice way. Because a book is a labor of love of the author and I wouldn’t want to belittle that kind of thing.

      • Yes. ^_^ Sometimes ideas or sentences come in my most un guarded moments (like when I’m in the cab or in a coffee shop) so I always bring a small notebook or a piece of paper with me. And then when I have time, I type it one Word because I don’t trust the unpredictable internet connection (or my memory). I tried drafting on Blogger but when I returned to it, it’s on a different format (wider spaces that won’t change even if I resorted to editing the HTML, which will make me lose my temper so I will just copy-paste it on a new post).

        No, we don’t belittle books. ^_^ But sometimes it’s hard to find positive words for not-so-positive thoughts. But blogging is learning, too, of course. ^_^

      • Oh I know what you mean about random thoughts. They keep popping up wherever I am, sometimes on the train on the way home. I just try to remember the important points and then type it up on a draft post on WordPress as soon as I get the chance. Too bad Blogger seems unpredictable. 😦

  7. I tend to take a bit of time before I sit down and write a review, especially for books that I really liked or books that I didn’t really like. Sometimes I really need to digest what I read, and figure out what I like or not in the book, so it takes me a while to write what I think down. I also use that time to figure out my book rating.

    I hardly take notes, but I dog-ear my books for pages that has memorable quotes. Haha, I know people would hate me for that. ^^

    I tend to schedule posts if they’re review copies so the reviews go out closer to the release date. If I’m on a roll, I schedule multiple reviews — but that usually happens when I’m not too busy with work or real life or when I’m not procrastinating. πŸ™‚

    As for the review itself, I tend to focus on the characters first, followed by the plot, then the worldbuilding and other elements that pique my interest. I also try to relate something in my life to the book, which tends to make my reviews a little more personal. I think that comes from my years of writing in a personal blog. ^^

    But you’re right — anything goes in a review, anyway. What’s important for me is that I read why the book was good for that blogger or not. πŸ™‚

    • How long does it take for you to absorb what you’ve read, a couple of days? Just wondering. I don’t do ratings on my blog because I have such a hard time trying to assign them. I only do ratings when I cross-post on Goodreads and even then I feel like the star ratings that I assign don’t always illustrate how I felt about the book. LOL I think I’ll be stressed out if I included ratings in my reviews.

      Oh no, you dog-ear your books?! I don’t think I can do that. I’d probably use post-its if I wanted to mark the pages. I feel like I’m more laid back now when it comes to taking care of books because I’m not as OC as before (when I wouldn’t read a book unless it’s already covered in plastic) but I still don’t dog-ear.

      I try to relate personal tidbits in my reviews as well but I don’t want to be too subjective. I think that’s when we can say that the personalities of bloggers come out, right? πŸ™‚ And it’s what makes each review unique.

      I feel the same way, as long as I understand why a blogger liked or didn’t like a book, I’m fine with anything.

      • It only usually takes me a couple of days before I write a review. If it takes a week, it means it’s probably a hard book, usually a book that I didn’t like.

        I’m too lazy to cut and get post-its to mark the book, so dog-ear is what I always do. I don’t really mind since I own the book, but if I just borrowed it, I take extra care, of course.

        The dog-earing thing reminds me of something from Dash and Lily. Dash’s mom does the same thing and Dash browses one of her books and tries to figure out what quote struck his mom on a dog-eared page. πŸ™‚

      • It’s so difficult to write reviews for books that you feel strongly about, whether you love or hate them. It’s hard not to just rant and rave.

        Yeah, if it’s a book that you own then it’s up to you how you treat it. I’m more careful with the books that I borrow too.

        I remember that thing from Dash and Lily! Maybe in the future, I can dog-ear my books without feeling guilty. I’m not as careful with my books now because I keep thinking that if it gets battered then I can always buy a new copy. I wouldn’t mind having multiple copies of my favorites.

  8. Like you, I have to get my thoughts down right after I read book. If I go into another story before I do this I won’t be able to pull out and write a thoughtful review. I don’t always post the review as soon as I’m done. I try to wait a couple of days to see if my thoughts settle in a different way. This doesn’t always work because I get behind and feel like I need to post something because I haven’t in a few days.

    • Whenever I’m reading a book, I try to create a draft post for it in WordPress so I can take note of anything significant that I want to mention. After I finish reading, I just type out whatever comes to mind and then edit it. So I end up posting at least a day after I finish reading a book, it’s still not right after. Hmm I think that I still feel the same way about a book even after a couple of days has passed.

  9. What a great discussion post! I’m particularly interested in how long it takes bloggers to write book reviews. I’m closer to Nomes – and hour or a bit more. Sometimes I can write one in 45 minutes but not usually a half hour. I’m always amazed that some bloggers can write multiple reviews in one day! Even if I had the time to do that (which I don’t) I wouldn’t want to. That would take the fun out of blogging and just pressure me to crank out reviews as fast as possible.

    I, too like to get the review written sooner rather than later or I forget details. I used to review every book I finished but just in the last few months there’s been a few books I haven’t reviewed. It bothers me that I haven’t but I have less time for reading right now with the new baby and don’t want reviewing to feel like a chore and keep me from starting and enjoying another book.

    As far as taking notes, I don’t usually. I can commit a page number to memory for a quote I may want to use in my review or add to Goodreads. I don’t like the interruption of note-taking and marking. When I’m reading I just want to read. πŸ™‚

    • Me too! I’m interested in knowing how long it takes for other bloggers to write reviews because I feel like writing isn’t that easy for me. Like I said, I think I’m the same as you and Nomes. I don’t think I’ll be able to write more than one review in a day, it would feel too much like homework if that happened. I hope that I get to a point when reviewing becomes as natural as breathing but I don’t think that’s going to happen anytime soon. πŸ˜›

      It amazes me that you still have enough time to read and blog while taking care of two youngsters. I’m so glad you’re able to pull it off because I’d miss your online presence otherwise. πŸ™‚ I like what you said about wanting to just read when you’re reading, I feel the same way.

  10. Pingback: My Reviewing Style | Chachic's Book Nook

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