Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Random Thoughts: Why I Review/Blog

The other morning I got up, crawled out of bed (I'd been sick and my wonderful husband took care of getting the kids to school) and started reading email.  I follow (mostly via email) many other book-related blogs and came across the following post from author J. A. Belfield on her publisher's site:

Not that many readers write reviews. Some don’t simply because they read just to read, and it probably would never even occur to them to write one.

Which is fine.

I’ve been there—I’ve been the reader who didn’t even know there were places to expose one’s thoughts before Amazon sent me an email asking for my opinion on a book I’d bought.

There’s probably a tonne of reasons for a reader not writing a review.

One of the biggest ones I’ve found, however, is that they just don’t know what to write.

I’ve even had it said to me before now.

The majority of people I personally know—as in have actual contact with in the flesh for more than a ‘oooh, she looks familiar’ whilst passing on opposing sides of the street—have not written a review for my works that they’ve read. I suppose one could argue that I never ask. But those who approach the subject to me often say something along the lines of: ‘I’d write you a review but I’m not very good at them.’ or ‘I’d write you a review but I never know what to put’.

I’ve also had people (seriously) concerned over the quality of their review, or about the depth with which they write it not being up to par, or that I might judge them as a writer—not for its content but for their grammar.

I’m not kidding.

For all of those out there who shy away simply because they fear ‘The Review’, don’t. Please don’t.

As a reader, you have the right to express your opinion, in whatever way, shape or form you choose to. Goodness, my own reviews often come with a pre-warning of: ‘Random Musings Alert’ and way too many times I’ve walked away 100% certain my reviews make sense to nobody but me. Whether you want to rate a book 3* with a small comment of ‘I really quite enjoyed this one’, or feel the urge to spew out a biga$ 5* ramble (like I’ve been known to do on occasion *cough*) that might sound like it’s full of gibberish when you read it back but (trust me) someone else will always understand your spilled thoughts and appreciate the point of view.

It doesn’t matter.

You can’t go wrong.

Because there is no right or wrong to writing a review.

So long as what ends up in the review is an honest thought—or thoughts, if you’re feeling adventurous—it DOES NOT MATTER what it says or how complex your sentences are or if the punctuation is in the right place or … need I go on?

Just be true. That’s all it takes.

So … all those who shy away from reviews … have I changed your mind yet?

This article got me thinking about what started me reviewing and ultimately blogging.  Actually, I left a comment on this post and found myself wanting to launch into full explanation of the hows and whys.  I decided that comment blocks were not the forum for sharing such extensive ramblings and decided instead to share here with you.  Aren't you the lucky ones?  Tee hee hee.

So how and why?  The how can be answered in one word: Goodreads.  A friend suggested Goodreads to help me organize my books: which books I've read in a series, which books came next in a series, which books I wanted to read in the future.  To an organization addict as myself, this was pure heaven (think cartwheels) and for the longest time, that's all I did with it.  I had a few friends on there (it's a bit like facebook for the bibliophile) all of whom I knew outside the cyber-world.  In time I started participating in group discussions, writing more extensive reviews and making new friends.

The immense amount of joy these developments brought to my life cannot be overstated.  I was  having so much fun.  I got to dialogue with others who were as nutty about books as myself!!!  It's really nice to know that you aren't the only one who could have an hour long conversation about imaginary people (well, besides those who are institutionalized).

As many of these great new friends were bloggers, I (with much insecurity) decided to try it too.  And that joy I'd been experiencing just grew!!!  I love blogging, who knew?!?  I love when I get to share a new author with someone!  I love the community of friendly and supportive bloggers and blog readers!!!

So now I blog.  I find myself wanting to review everything and anything.  I restrain such impulses, reminding myself that it is unlikely that you would care to know which hair color rocks and which sucks doesn't.  Let's just say one company promised me beautiful dark purple, almost black hair.  They lied.  I was a very pretty red head for that month.

So do you review/blog?  Why or why not?


  1. Hehehe, you quoted my post. :o)

    Incidentally, I just started a book blog so I can post my rambles up on there and keep it separate to my regular stuff. And yeah, the decision was mostly spurred by watching those I'd met through Goodreads with theirs and wanting a chance to experience it, so I hopped on board. After all, I'm more reader than writer when I'm on Goodreads, anyhoo. :o)

  2. Just keep making it fun and you can't go wrong!