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Friday, December 17, 2010

Why do I do book reviews? Why do you?

I had someone ask me the other day why I did so many book reviews. Great question. It made me think...with all I have going on, why do I still read so many books? It's not like I have no books of my own to write. I have a full-time job, too. But if I couldn't read books, I'd shrivel up and blow away. Reading is my absolute favorite thing to do in this world. Even more than writing. And if someone is going to go through the trouble and expense to send me their book, the least I can do is post a review when I finish it, right?

I have a whole slew of people who wait to buy books until after they read my thoughts on it. I guess because we have similar tastes in fiction I'm the one who screens out the duds for them so they won't waste money on books they will end up not liking. I do that on occasion, too. I'll have someone who reads a lot (that I work with) read some books for me and if they aren't excited after reading the story, I know I won't enjoy it either.

I also have a hard time saying no, though I've gotten ten times better at it in recent years. I no longer participate in blog tours unless I am personally asked by an author or publicist. If I want to read a book really badly, I just ask the publicist/publisher for a copy (you'd be amazed at how willing publishers are to do this when they see you have a large following and readership.) I then let them know when I post the review.

I am a bit driven, and yet I still have books that get lost in the stack that is ever growing. I have others that I will start reading, but lose interest in. But I really do try to read everything I get in the mail and I do my best to be as honest as I can about my thoughts. I don't want to be a reviewer that no one takes seriously because I "love" everything. Am I right about everything I post? No way.

Reviewing books is a very subjective thing, as well as a matter of personal tastes. I can assure you, though, that I never review a book that I haven't read to the very last page. I don't skim either. I let the words sink in and for the most part what I focus on is the takeaway value of each book I read. If there is none that I can see worthwhile about the story, it won't get high points from me. If I am going to spend hours reading a book I want to care about the story, the people, the message. I want to feel something. I don't want to just be entertained. Those books do nothing for me.

That said, I hope you all have a better understanding now of what makes me tick and why I read and review so many books. Now what about you all? When you read a book and post a review, why do you bother? I'd love to hear you thoughts on my post and on your own motivations. Peace everyone!


Tracy Krauss said...

I also love reading, but up until a year ago, I didn't 'bother' posting reviews. That all changed when I released my first novel and found out how important reviews can be to fledgling authors (and experienced ones, too!) Now I try to review everything I read and I'm finding I really enjoy the process. Asan English teacher, I enjoy analyzing good writing with my students, and so this is a natural extension of that. I am having some difficulty with reviewing books that aren't, shall we say, 'my cup of tea'. I've only written one review that was blatantly negative. (I couldn't do otherwise ...) If I'm not thrilled and 'loving it' I keep it brief and factual. No point in making enemies. In the case of the 'stinker', I warned the author first that i was going to be honest and he said okay. I suppose he figured any press was good press ... ?

Sheree said...

I love books and there are so many good ones out there...i like to post reviews to share them with others and encourage more peoplr to read.

Joy Tamsin David said...

I chose to review books on my blog because I wanted to build a web presence and I don't think I'm qualified to write about the writing process (I'm still a beginner). I have been reading Christian fiction for two decades though, so I felt I had something useful to contribute in that area.

I choose not to post negative reviews. I don't know this industry well enough to burn bridges yet.

When I get a book for review that I can't recommend, I don't review it. That's happened a handful of times since I've started blogging.

Martha A. said...

I love books, I love to read and have been reading books....well, when I was 5 and learned how to read, I started reading books that were way above my reading level..then I wanted to talk about them to everyone and that drove everyone nuts.
So, now I get to read books and talk about them to hopefully people who want to hear about what I thought about it.

Cecelia Dowdy said...

Like yourself, I enjoy reading. It's the one thing that I've enjoyed since I was a child up until the present time - it never changes. I can't give up reading. I, too, write novels in my spare time, I should probably be working on a proposal right now instead of visiting blogs and reading about books! :-)

But, I just can't give up reading. Even with a writing schedule, I always read.

It's also hard for me to enter a bookstore and not buy a book. So, I purchase books on amazon, at bookstores, etc. I also sign up for blog tours sometimes.

Authors, publishers, and publicists do come to me to get their books reviewed, and I usually agree to do so.

I guess I'm just a book addict! :-)

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