Do you review every book you read?

15/03/2017 Discussions 45

Do you review every book you read?Do you review every single book you read?

Personally, since I started blogging in 2014, I’ve reviewed everything I’ve read, whether I’ve loved, hated or been totally indifferent to it. However, I’ve recently been wondering whether or not that’s actually the best reviewing policy for me, as the list of books I need to review has been slowly growing, and often when I look back at that list I’m left thinking ‘am I actually compelled to review all these books?’

There are some books on that list that I’m super excited to review because I’ve absolutely adored them – Ravenspur by Conn Iggulden, for example, and Ctrl Alt Delete by Emma Gannon. However, there’s also books like The Alloy of Law (Brandon Sanderson) on there that I liked, but didn’t absolutely love, and I really don’t think I have enough to say about it to write an entire review (I know, I’m shocked I didn’t love a Brandon Sanderson book too!). I find reviews some of the toughest posts to write anyway, and it just becomes harder when I have no strong feelings towards the book I’m reviewing.

Also, as my ‘to-review’ list is growing, I find that the less memorable books fade a lot from my memory, so by the time I get round to reviewing them I can barely remember anything about them. Therefore I waste a lot of time just flipping through them, trying to remind myself of the story before I write my review, and in hindsight, it doesn’t seem worth it. As a lot of book bloggers probably find, reviews are actually some of the least popular blog posts, and they certainly aren’t my favourite to write.

So why have I always insisted on reviewing every book I read? It’s not even like I bother with ARCs or review request books, so there isn’t any outside pressure for me to review anything… I guess it’s just become a habit, and whilst it can be a useful process to help me consolidate my feelings about a book (occasionally I’ll realise that I did actually enjoy one of those ‘meh’ books more than I thought!), I’ve come to realise that not every book warrants a review.

Thinking about all this has made me curious though about what other book bloggers do. Do they review everything? Only the books they liked? Or the ones they had strong feelings for? I know there are bloggers out there who read hundreds of books a year (so a lot more than me!), so surely there isn’t enough hours in the day for that amount of reading, plus that amount of reviewing?

So what’s your review policy? Do you review every book you read, or just some of them? What makes you pass over some books for review and not others?

45 Responses to “Do you review every book you read?”

  1. Greg

    I mostly review everything I read but there are a few exceptions. If a book doesn’t really wow me or I just don’t feel like reviewing it (which is rare) then I might skip it. It happens occasionally. And since I don’t usually do ARC’s I don’t have the pressure of that. It’s kind of nice to realize I don’t HAVE to write a review for every single book, if I don’t want to. Sometimes I just move on to the next book. 🙂

    • Laura

      Yeah, it’s definitely nice to not have to feel like you have to review everything, which is the main reason I don’t read ARCs. I don’t want my blog to start feeling like homework! 🙂

  2. hillary

    I admit that I review everything that I read. This is a big hobby for me and I enjoy it. HOWEVER if you find you don’t enjoy it then you dont have to.

    • Laura

      Yeah, I much prefer to write discussions and other things, so I should probably just do more of them instead. It definitely makes sense to write more of what you like! 🙂

  3. Girl with her Head in a Book

    I completely agree that the books that you’re just so-so about are the toughest to write about. I didn’t used to review everything I read – if I was reading a series, I would only review the first one in the series for example. But then I started taking blogging slightly more seriously and for the last few years I have been reviewing everything that I finish. I did get really behind though at the end of last year and actually still have one on the To-Be-Reviewed pile. I think that there is no hard and fast rule and if you only want to review the ones that interest you, that’s fair enough.

    • Laura

      Those so-so books are just so hard to review, aren’t they? And it definitely sounds like you’ve found a reviewing policy that works for you – if you enjoy reviewing, then reviewing every book is probably the way to go! You’re right though that there is no hard and fast rule, it’s best just to do what works for you, so i may stop reviewing the books I don’t think I have enough to say about.

  4. Aj @ Read All The Things!

    I’m currently rereading Harry Potter, and I’m not reviewing those. There’s no point. I can’t say anything that hasn’t been said a million times before. I do plan on reviewing all the non-Harry-Potter books I finish this year. Every reviewer has to figure out what works best for them. So far, I haven’t had too many problems reviewing everything. That might change, though.

    • Laura

      I totally agree that every reviewer has to find what works best for them! I didn’t used to have much problem reviewing everything, but I seem to be reading much faster these days, and I’ve come to realise that reviews really aren’t my favourite posts to write.

  5. Heather

    I skip some if they are too blah to say much about. Sometimes I group several of these into a mini review post so they get seen but I don’t have to come up with lots of words about each one.

    • Laura

      I’ve definitely been thinking about the whole mini-review thing, as I’ve done that a couple of times whenever I’ve been reviewing a series. That does seem like a good way of doing it!

  6. Jenna- JK I'm Exploring

    I review almost nothing I read. Sometimes I’ll review trilogies/ series when I’m done with them and I’ll always review ARCs from publishers. Other than that I don’t review many. I’ve been thinking about changing that but I will never be the type of blogger that reviews everything. I just don’t have enough to write about and I’m constantly worried about spoiling.
    You do what makes you happy 🙂

    • Laura

      It’s great that you’ve found what works for you, and that you don’t feel like you have to write a bunch of reviews that you don’t really want to write. All bloggers are different, so I guess it’s about finding what you like writing best!
      ‘Do what makes you happy’ definitely sounds like the best policy anyway! 🙂

  7. Cait @ Paper Fury

    I review absolutely everything I read!! I LOVE REVIEWING.? Even if I only have a little bit to say, I’ll just whack on a few sentences. It just makes me feel like I’m organised and cataloguing everything and I like it that way. hehe. ?

    • Laura

      I’m glad you love reviewing so much! I can definitely see the appeal of having everything you’ve read catalogued, I just wish I liked reviewing enough to keep up with it 🙂

  8. Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight

    How funny, I actually have an upcoming post about how I decide which books to review lol. So no, I don’t review every book, and I never intended to when I started blogging. I have started reviewing more and more since I started blogging, so I’m creeping toward reviewing almost every book, but I still don’t have a rule. If the book is not a review copy and I just don’t have a desire to review it, then I don’t. And I usually will skip over reviewing books if I can’t find anything good at all to say about them or if I don’t think I can write a review without getting mean.

    • Laura

      Well I look forward to reading your post! 🙂
      It definitely sounds like you have a good policy, and it sounds similar to what I’d like to try and do in the future. If I don’t feel compelled to write a review, I’m not going to, although I imagine I’ll still probably be reviewing most of what I read 🙂

  9. Michelle @ FaerieFits

    I tend to review everything, but if I don’t get to writing a review within a week or so of finishing a book, I’ll probably just skip that one. That said, sometimes when I just feel like “meh,” I’ll just jot down a few sentences to remind myself why I felt like “meh” and either post a bunch of mini-reviews all together, or will JUST post on Goodreads. Kinda depends on how many “meh” books I’ve read recently, lol

    • Laura

      It definitely sounds like you have a good way of reviewing! I have thought about the idea of mini-reviews, because I’ve done that before when reviewing a series, so maybe I’ll just periodically do a post of short reviews of the ‘meh’ books I’ve read when I get enough of them 🙂

  10. Ikram Ali

    I don’t review every book I read. I don’t have the best memory so if enough time passes by i tend to just skip over that book. I only review books if I feel Like I have enough to say.

    • Laura

      That sounds like the best way of reviewing! I often feel like I don’t have enough to say about the books I’m reviewing, so it doesn’t make sense to even bother. And I definitely forget things if I leave the review too long!

  11. Jen @ Books That Hook

    I review nearly everything I read. It’s probably because I’m a lister and a completionist. I have to mark it off that I’ve read and reviewed it. Even books that I read before I started blogging, I have to go back and re-read just so I can say to myself that the review has been posted.

    However, I don’t write reviews for books that I DNF or reviews for all of the non-fiction books I read. The only exception for DNFs is if there is something that really made me mad and I need to vent about it.

    • Laura

      Well it sounds like you’ve figured out what works for you, and that’s great. I can definitely see the appeal in having each book ticked off as read and reviewed! 🙂
      And that sounds like a good rule for DNFs. I don’t often DNF, but I don’t think I would write a review when I haven’t read the whole book, unless I DNF for a particular reason that I think really needs to be addressed.

  12. Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight

    NOPE. I only review review books at this point. And then, every so often if the mood strikes me, I do a post about books I read and a quick little snippet (sometimes even a GIF!) of how I felt about it, and that is it! I love it, honestly. I hated feeling that pressure to review ALL the things. So now, I review what I want. And there ARE times when I review a book that I don’t “have to” review, but that is only if I really loved it or (more likely hahah) really hated it- because those are easier to write anyway 😉

    • Laura

      It sounds like you have the perfect review policy anyway! I hate feeling pressure to review everything, but it was only pressure from myself, so I think I should just stop with that. Just reviewing what you want sounds awesome! 🙂

  13. Evelina

    I have been thinking about this one a lot lately as well. You don’t ALWAYS want to review all the books you read. Some you just want to ‘keep to yourself’. I never even reviewed pretty much ANY of the books I read before I started blogging (that was like half a year ago), and I feel like it’s big jump to review everything now, all of a sudden. I also have a pile of reviews backlogged, but the thing is, I don’t post a lot of other stuff but reviews, and I don’t like writing about much else, so if I don’t use the chance to blog about something I’ve read, then why blog at all? I’m also not one of those people who read 5 books a week, cause I have loads of work and other things to do, just plain lack of time. So if I didn’t review everything, there wouldn’t be much of a point to having a blog right now. But sometimes I do wish I could just jot down a quick GR review instead of compiling a blog post with all the pics, links, tweets and all, which takes so long and thus I sometimes keep putting it away. Meh 😀

    • Laura

      It’s such a dilemma isn’t it? I’ve reviewed everything since I started blogging, and it was kind of a shock to the system to have never reviewed a book before to then reviewing everything, so I can definitely see what you mean there. If anything, it’s probably better to work up to reviewing everything if that’s what you wanted to do.
      I don’t exactly read multiple books a week either (it’s generally 2 at the absolute most!), so it does seem like a waste to me to not review everything too, but I do seem to be getting a backlog, mostly because I like to write at least two other kinds of post between each of my reviews. They do take so long to write as well, so I definitely end up putting them off too. I hope we both figure out our ideal reviewing system soon! 🙂

  14. Blaise

    Like you, I don’t actually love writing reviews. I gave up on them a long time ago, finding that I didn’t enjoy writing them more often than not, and that they weren’t starting the discussion I hoped they would. Now, I focus my blog more on the things I really care about, namely blog posts on writing. I’m leaving myself the opening that I can still discuss specific books of course, but reviewing them is an “eh” for me. Sometimes, I’ll still leave comments on Goodreads, but my blog isn’t the place for it.

    • Laura

      It sounds like you’ve found what works for you, which is great! I sometimes wonder whether I should bother with reviews at all, seen as I don’t love writing them, but I do like having that record of what I’ve read.

      • Blaise

        You can always get that record through something like Goodreads — you could keep a bulleted list or something of your thoughts, rather than writing out a full review? Or you could do review collections of something like five books at a time and just keep it short ^^ You have options <3

        • Laura

          Those are really great ideas! I definitely feel like I could use Goodreads more, as so far i’ve just been giving everything star-ratings, and it would definitely be less pressure to just do a few books in one post and write a few lines on each.
          Thanks for the suggestions! 🙂

  15. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    I accepted long ago I was never going to review everything I read. I’d rather highlight the books I loved over everything else. And those books I enjoyed but don’t have much to say on? They can go in a mini review post. Over time I review more books than I used to and I’ve even started to enjoy writing reviews but you’re right, they are never the most popular posts. I think if you don’t have a lot to say about a book or it’s been a long time since you last read then don’t worry yourself over reviewing. I try and write a few words on Goodreads about every book I read but that’s it. I think that is more than enough.

    • Laura

      I really like the sound of your reviewing system, and it’s probably the kind of thing I want to aim for myself. I do like the idea of putting books I have less to say about in mini-reviews, and maybe giving up on reviewing the books I’ve left too long (I never end up remembering them anyway!). Writing a few words about it on Goodreads is definitely more than enough, and seen as that’s where people go specifically to see reviews, it’s probably seen by more people there anyway 🙂

  16. Victoria

    I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, so it’s brilliant that you wrote a post on it! I was very torn about writing a review for ‘Persuasion’ by Jane Austen, just because I wasn’t sure what else I could possibly add to the discussion. I feel like once you’ve reviewed one Austen, you’ve basically reviewed them all so even though I did publish the review in the end, I won’t be publishing any more. I also find it difficult to review books that I don’t feel very strongly about, whether that feeling is love or hate!

    • Laura

      I know what you mean – especially with classics it can feel a bit like ‘what’s the point?’ because there has been so much written about them already. I’m glad you published the review of Persuasion in the end though, because I was interested to get your thoughts on it, and I definitely want to read that book soon because of it! 🙂

  17. Jenna @ Falling Letters

    “I guess it’s just become habit” – that seems to be the case for me this year. For books that I wouldn’t normally give a full review for, I stick them into a ‘brief thoughts’ post. There used to be books for which I wouldn’t even bother to do that (books that basically went in one ear and out the other). So far this year, though, I’ve kept notes enough to write a few points on everything I’ve read. It’s not quite my policy per se to review everything I read but as you said – it can easily become habit when you’re writing a book blog!

    • Laura

      Yeah, it’s so easy to just get into that habit of ‘read a book – review it – read another – review it’, when not every book really lends itself to a review. If it left no impression on you, then I guess there’s no point.
      I like the idea of your ‘brief thoughts’ posts, and I think you have a good policy in not reviewing everything, even if you do make a few notes on them all 🙂

  18. Kelly

    The whole reason I initially got into blogging was because of how many books I was reading, and then forgetting. My favourites stick with me, but sometimes I’ll go back and read the synopsis of a book I’ve read before, and there won’t even be a glimmer of recognition. Reviews are my way to spark that glimmer, so I do end up reviewing everything I read.

    That being said, if I’m “stuck” on a review, I usually move on and come back to it. It doesn’t do me any good to stare blankly at the screen hoping for the words to flow! Haha

    • Laura

      Yeah, that’s definitely one of the great things about blogging and book reviewing – it does help you remember which books you’ve read, and often it’s the more mediocre books that you can end up forgetting you’ve read, in which case a review comes in pretty handy!
      But I definitely agree it does you no good to just stare at a blank screen if you really can’t think of anything to say about a book. It’s much better to skip it entirely, or come back to it if you think of anything.

  19. Cilla

    When I first started blogging, I reviewed everything I read too. Then as life gets busy, I’ve found that I read so much faster than I write reviews (because reading is much easier to do when I’m busy), so there have been a few books that I pass on reviewing. I think I pass on the ones that probably won’t generate much discussion, or there’s nothing in it that I particularly want to talk about. I started putting those types of books into mini-reviews posts, but I’m still behind with my to-review list! 😛

    • Laura

      It sounds like a good policy to just review the books that will create a good discussion, or that you feel you have lots to say about. I’m really going to have to start writing mini-reviews, as that seems to be what a lot of people have said they do with more mediocre books, and I am starting to get really behind on my reviews! I hope you manage to catch up with your to-review list too! 🙂

  20. Sam

    I do review every book I read. I may not publish a review to my blog, but I will review on GoodReads and also Amazon (If I remember). I really like talking about books. I had more readers in my IRL circle of friends, but since I don’t, at least I have an outlet. =)
    Sam @ WLABB

    • Laura

      It’s really good to have an outlet for all your book talk isn’t it? I’m the same with my blog, because I only have one IRL friend who likes reading as much as I do 🙂

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