To Review or Not to Review?

Because Hamlet Puns Never Go Out of Style

And I really need to read Hamlet.

The point of this post, in case you haven’t gleaned it already, is for me to discuss why I review the books I read. I mean, why would I bother? There are so many people out there who read for pleasure and see no reason to spend their time and energy putting words down on paper or pressing the keys on a keyboard in order to save or share their thoughts. I will be doing this from two separate but overlapping perspectives.

The Reader

Image courtesy of Google Images
I. When I know I will write a review, I pay closer attention. This may seem odd, but I’ve noticed that, when I have in mind that I will be writing a review of a book, I am much more likely to take notice of details. I’m more inclined to wonder why certain passages bother me, or why I like a character, or what about the worldbuilding I find lacking or enjoyable. I think more. To me, that’s worth something. Even as I’m learning more about reading and analyzing book structures and why I like certain things, it’s a habit I’ve noticed and hope to cultivate.

II. When I review a book, I’m much more likely to remember it. See, I read a lot when I was in high school, and earlier. Most people would excuse me for having forgotten not only what I read, but the contents of these books. After all, this was several years ago.

I’m not happy with that.

I want to remember what I do or don’t enjoy, what the books are about, whether I think the hero or herione is worth anything to me. I want to remember what I thought was done well and why, and what I thought needed improvement and why. If I can remember the books, I think I’ll be less inclined to reread things, which is a good thing, because (while I enjoy rereading so much) it will save me time to read mostly things that I haven’t read before.

III. When I review a book, I can reference that review later. This is purely for documentation.A) I can go back and compare reviews and books. I can look at an old review when I’m looking at a new book and wondering if I should read it or mark it as “to-read.” As I’m trying to prune my TBR, this will hopefully be a good tool. But also, B), it will show me how I grow as a reader, a reviewer, and an analyst. I want to see how I grow as a person, and seeing how such a large part of me develops will be an interesting journey.

The Writer

Image courtesy of Google Images
IV. Several of the reasons above are relevant to this. Namely, Thinking about books more deeply will let me better my skills in producing them. If I can recognize good worldbuilding and differentiate it from the bad, that will let me improve my own worldbuilding. If I can analyze a plot and see how it functions in one of my favorite reads, I can abstract and apply that structure and function to my own writing. This is also part of why I encourage any writer to read as much as possible.

V. If I read and review regularly, it will keep me writing regularly. I write quite a bit for school, true, but this is a different, more casual type of writing. The style is still different than what I use in my creative writing, but at least I’m still writing. I’m still practicing. I’m honing my skills. Besides, Stephen King is right:

“If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.”

I think that applies to reviewing to a lesser degree. But then, reviewing also encourages me to read more (non-textbooks), which is difficult with school in the way.

Thanks for reading! If you’re a reviewer, why do you review the books you read? If you don’t, why not?

6 thoughts on “To Review or Not to Review?

  1. This is exactly the same reason that I review as well! I love being able to look back and reread my thoughts on a book, the feels and memories of it come back so much easier that way. Like you, it definitely makes me look at the book in more depth as well, I pick up on so many more things because it forces me to be an active rather than a passive reader. It’s also great to look at past reviews and see how my opinions of tropes and genres have changed. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, well put. It’s true that i pay more attention when I know I’m going to write about it. I read so much the past years that it’s just bursting. I’m reviewing my books now. I thought I could go on with it on Instagram but actually typing a review is much better than just taking pictures on filter!


  3. I love this post. I’ve been feeling kind of down about the quality of my book reviews and this post really reminded me why I put so much time and energy into them. I’ll be doing my own post about reviewing soon and I’ll be sure to link to this post because it’s so perfect.

    Liked by 1 person

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