Musings From A Bookmammal

R is for To REVIEW Or Not? The April A-Z Challenge/Day 18


RWelcome to Day #18 of the April A to Z Challenge, where participants are challenged to create a post every day (except Sundays) corresponding to the appropriate letter of the alphabet. If you’d like to learn more, hit the badge on my sidebar.

I’ll be posting about bookish topics each day of the challenge. Here’s today’s post:


laptop books 2I don’t post formal book reviews on this blog. I’ll often write about what I’ve been reading, but when I do so it’s usually my off-the-cuff opinions about a book that I feel strongly about for one reason or another. I don’t write up a lengthy review with any kind of analysis. I don’t try to interview authors. I don’t request ARCs. 

I started this blog on a total whim this past August. I’d been reading and enjoying blogs for quite awhile, and I decided that I wanted to join in. I thought it would be a good outlet for me to share my thoughts about books, reading, and literacy, participate in some memes that I’d been lurking around, and practice my writing skills. Above all, I wanted to have FUN with my blog. I didn’t want writing my posts to feel like a chore, or something that I had to cross off my list. And I definitely didn’t want my blog to get in the way of one of my favorite activities—reading for pure enjoyment!

So I decided really early on that I wouldn’t be requesting copies of books to review. I wouldn’t sign up for NetGalley or any similar programs. I didn’t want to “have to” read a book with the implied promise of reviewing it here. And so far I’ve been pleased with that decision. I still read exactly what I want to read, with no outside pressure or deadlines. My TBR list keeps getting longer, of course—I’ve met so many great blogging buddies who continuously provide me with tips on books that I doubt I’d discover on my own—but again, I read them on my own timetable. It’s true that I need to wait until a book is published instead of getting a sneek peek via ARCs, but that’s OK—there’s plenty to read while I wait.

I do write about books I’ve read, but usually those posts are “Top Ten” lists of my favorite books in a particular category, or in response to a bookish meme. The only “reviewing” I do is using the star ratings on Goodreads, but I do that mainly so I can keep concrete track for myself of what I’ve liked and what I didn’t.

Fellow book bloggers, I’d love to hear your take on this! If you post formal reviews, do you ever feel that reviewing “gets in the way” of your reading and/or blogging? If you don’t post formal reviews, why not? Please share!

Author: bookmammal

I love books, reading, writing, cooking, eating, reading while eating, and sharing thoughts about all of the above–plus a bit more! I usually post about topics relating to books and literacy during the week, and then participate in a variety of non-bookish memes on the weekend. Please feel free to join in! Some random things about me– –I have multiple bookshelves in every room of my home except the bathroom. They’re all filled to bursting. They help to make my house my home. –I have two cats who I love dearly, but who I definitely do NOT dress in human clothing. Ever. –I’ve never had a cavity. –I make a mean spaghetti sauce. –I’m a newcomer to yoga and I love it. –My day is not complete without a little chocolate.

16 thoughts on “R is for To REVIEW Or Not? The April A-Z Challenge/Day 18

  1. I made a decision to review the books I read on Amazon about four years ago as a way of keeping track of what I’d read, enjoyed and why. For me writing a review is a marker between finishing one book and starting the next and so part of a process which I genuinely enjoy.
    Requesting ARC’s is different as I like to post in the run up to publication as requested by most publishers so a timetable is needed (as well as not overloading myself) but I do find it a good way of seeing what is due out. There are only so many books I can read either way…

    • You were actually one of the bloggers I was thinking about as I wrote this post, as you always have such well-though-out reviews and they always seem to be posted in such a timely fashion–I have no idea how you keep up with all of it! But you’re right–if it’s all part of a process that you truly enjoy then it’s definitely not a chore!

      • Thank you! I think I’m helped because it was something I had done for a while before blogging – I didn’t know about memes etc. beforehand and unlike you don’t have enough worth saying about books in general. I love that we all have different material on our blogs.

  2. Hmm interesting take on it. I got into blogging to DO reviews. Not for others but to keep track of what I was reading and thoughts on it since I was reading so fast and from so many series and needed that reminder but then things moved along and 2 1/2 years later I review mainly for publishers who send me prints ahead of time. I like doing reviews though and have fun with them. I don’t really feel pressure because of it exactly. I try to get them posted by release date but if it doesn’t happen…it doesn’t happen and that’s okay.

    As a blog follower I tend to look at reviews first too. It’s just what I prefer. I don’t follow too many memes because I want more than a list or what someone is waiting or. I wanna know why they fell so hard for a book. But I do follow all sorts. Some that do reviews mainly, some that almost exclusively do interviews or random bookish things they’ve found. Nice to have some variety especially when the bloggers are having fun and doing what suits them 🙂

    Happy A to Z-ing!
    herding cats & burning soup.

    • I think you’re right–it’s all about purpose. For me, my book blog is more a way to interact with others about books and reading, rather than as a method of keeping track of what I read.
      I also follow a variety of blogs–some are review-heavy, some aren’t–and I enjoy the variety.

  3. I’m with you–I’ve been offered some review copies of books but I don’t want to pressure myself with that. I talk about books I’m reading to keep track of them.

  4. I love this post because I’ve been thinking a lot about this very topic lately. I started my book blog thinking that a book blog HAD to contain book reviews. Most of the book blogs I’d seen were compilations of reviews with the occasional meme or random post. Unfortunately I’ve found that the usual formal review way of posting hasn’t been working for me and my blog has fallen quiet for months now, so I’m trying to think of a new way to blog. Your blog is definitely one of my sources for inspiration as I try to revamp the way I run my own! I love talking about reading and the books I’ve read, but writing reviews apparently isn’t something I enjoy.

    Anyway, thanks for this thought-provoking post!

    • I think it all comes down to realizing that there isn’t ONE WAY to run a book blog–and for me it’s about having fun sharing my thoughts about books and literacy with people whom I wouldn’t ordinarily get a chance to meet. Honestly, if I’d put more thought into my blog before I started it, I probably wouldn’t have even begun as I would have gotten hung up on what a book blog was “supposed to be.” And I think that another part of it was I really had no anticipation about how many people would actually read what I posted–my followers have been such an unexpected and awesome bonus for me!
      Thanks for your response, and I hope you’ll be able to get back into the “book blogosphere” soon!

  5. When I started blogging about books I had read I didn’t even know that there was such a thing as ARCs and NetGalley! The nature of my blog means I won’t be going for review copies and I think that’s a good thing. I don’t want deadlines on my head. With a job and 2 kids I have enough of that. Reading is my hobby!

    • I think we’re in the same frame of mind–I don’t want reading or blogging to become a chore, and for me that means not doing the whole reviewing thing. Your blog, your rules, right?!?!? 🙂

  6. I totally agree! I have only 2 books that need reviewing from Netgalley, and I’ve put them off until now! And also I have a hard time starting reviews, and I procrastinate often. However, I CAN say that ever since writing reviews for my blog, I remember the contents of the book more.

    • That’s interesting, and I think it’s also true for me. Even though I don’t write formal reviews, I do informally talk about what I’m reading here, and I think that makes me more aware of what I like, what I don’t, and why.

  7. I read & review books as per my own schedule & convenience. So most of the times I refrain from accepting books which need to be reviewed within a specific time-frame. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s