I’m not doing book reviews anymore.

Since I started this blog last November, I’ve occasionally done book reviews.  Some of them have been fictional books, but many have been non-fiction.

I find book reviews difficult to write.  I have this urge to make sure they’re done right, to be fair to the author, and to give a useful comprehensive summary of what’s in the book, along with my assessment of how it’s handled.  These impulses make writing book reviews feel like writing a school paper.  I can’t say I really enjoyed doing school papers, and I don’t enjoy writing book reviews.  For a recreational blog, they just feel too much like work, particularly when I end up needing to take notes while reading, something I’m not naturally inclined to do.

So I don’t think I’m going to do them anymore.

What I will continue to do is occasional posts, or even series of posts, inspired by a book I’ve read.  When I do that, I’ll mention which book (or books) did the inspiring.  I’ve actually done a few of these and found them much more enjoyable to write, and actually more immediately popular than the actual reviews.  (Book reviews do tend to build up more traffic over the long term, but not enough to make them worth it, at least not for me.)

I think I’ll also occasionally do brief book recommendations, small posts to note a book that I particularly liked or found interesting.  But my plan is for these to be, at most, 300 words, not the 1000-3000 word treatments I’ve done in the past.  I did a few of these brief mentions when I first started blogging, but came to feel that they were inadequate after reading other blogger’s lavish reviews.  I’ve decided I can get past that.  The nice thing is, since brief recommendations are easier to write, there will probably be a lot more of them than there were full reviews.

Anyway, that’s the plan.  It may change.  I’ve discussed books with some of you that I was either reading or planning to read, perhaps saying I might do a post on them.  Part of the purpose of this note is to set expectations for what those posts might look like.

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8 Responses to I’m not doing book reviews anymore.

  1. Howie says:

    I find book reviews difficult to write. I have this urge to make sure they’re done right, to be fair to the author, and to give a useful comprehensive summary of what’s in the book, along with my assessment of how it’s handled. These impulses make writing book reviews feel like writing a school paper. I can’t say I really enjoyed doing school papers, and I don’t enjoy writing book reviews.

    I can relate to this a whole lot. When I read a book thinking that I may write a review on it, then it seems to take some of the enjoyment out of simple reading. I think your plan sounds like a really good one.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Funny, I have the opposite feeling about reviews. I feel writing them (and writing all over my book) helps me understand the ideas better. But maybe you’re just a better processor than I!

    In any case, you shouldn’t feel encumbered. I’m sure your posts will continue to be enlightening.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I totally get that. I’ve been somewhat surprised that I didn’t like doing reviews, since I do like talking about books. Maybe it’s just my own hangups that are getting in the way, and once those have had a chance to fade, I’ll return to them. The Selfish Gene recommendation I published this morning surprised me by writing itself right up to 300 words. Maybe simply giving myself permission not to be comprehensive is all I needed to do. We’ll see.

      Like

  3. amanimal says:

    I can appreciate that ‘SAP’ – when I visit a favorite nature spot, say the beach to enjoy a sunset, it’s a very different experience if hope to get a nice picture or two. So while I usually have my camera with me sometimes I intentionally don’t get it out.

    Anyway, your plan sounds like an excellent one!

    Liked by 1 person

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