Why do you write reviews?

The thing about reviews is that I don’t think people read them unless

a) they’re your really good friend and are thus interested in everything you blog about
b) they’re already interested in the book you’re reviewing and want to know more about it or
b2) they’ve read the book already and want to see how your thoughts match up with theirs
c) you’re the NY Times or some really big review blog with a whole heap of pull (Dear Author, for example)

I basically only write reviews for my personal satisfaction, with a side bonus of getting some discussion (see b above). They’re the least popular posts on my blog (not counting the hits I KNOW are people Googling for help with their school projects) and yet they’re the ones I spend the most time on. So why do I keep writing them?

Writing reviews helps me keep track of my thoughts about a book! I have a pretty good memory for books anyway, but I don’t always remember WHY I liked (or disliked) a book. Because I write reviews for most of the books I read, I’m able to refer to them later on and refresh my memory. I also think reviews are great for spreading the word about an awesome but underrated book, especially backlist titles that need a bigger fan base.

I think also it’s a good idea for me to think more critically about the media I consume. It stretches my thinking muscles, and it makes the enjoyment (or non-enjoyment) of something more visceral and enjoyable as a whole.

Why do you write reviews?

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15 Comments

  1. I guess I also write reviews so that all of the books that I read don’t blend together. Many of the books I read in the past are complete blanks that I can’t remember anything about. I wish I had at least kept a reading journal before I started blogging!

    I know that not many people read my reviews (and far fewer comment or discuss) but I also hope, like you, that a few awesome books might gain a wider audience because of me (and you and all of the other cool people who do what we do). :)

  2. There’s another audience for kid’s books reviews–the gatekeepers. I know there are librarians and teachers who read my middle grade fantasy/sci fi book reviews (not, you know, tons of them, but some), and this makes me happy because I want my blog to be a useful resource. And when you have enough reviews of a certain specific type of book, like me and time travel, that becomes a resource too.

  3. I totally agree with you!! Most of the reason I write book reviews is for myself…I started writing book reviews 2.5 years ago on Goodreads, yet my book blog is only ~1 year old! So I definitely started it as more of a personal project, and then realized that I wanted to have a blog, too. A big part of the why I write reviews is also because it just helps myself digest the book. Sounding out how I feel about it gives a lot of closure to the ending of a book and makes me feel good about finishing it. I honestly love writing reviews! And I really could care less if anybody ever reads them. Although it’s definitely a nice plus if they do :)

    • Having a personal space to digest books is the best, isn’t it? Goodreads is nice, but it’s a little too impersonal sometimes. That’s why blogs are so handy to have!

  4. You know, I think you’re right as a rule about why people read review posts. But also, I depend on review posts of books I haven’t heard of and know nothing about — that’s where I get all my recommendations. (Most of my recommendations.) I do sometimes start to kick past review posts of books I haven’t heard of, when I reach them in my feed reader, but I tell myself to go back and read them. They’re what I started reading book blogs for.

    Anyway. What I write reviews for: Hell if I know. Habit? And to remind myself what I thought about things.

    • I need to read more reviews of books I hadn’t heard of before. My TBR and wishlist are huge enough already so I don’t need more recs, really, but it’d be good for building more community and connection with other bloggers.

  5. I write reviews for fun. They’re a way for me to talk about the books that most interest me, in a venue where people can hear me. It’s awfully nice when folks chime in, either in the comments or via Twitter, but the important thing is that I get my thoughts out there and I have fun doing it. If I doubt I’ll have fun writing about a book, I don’t review it. I get so few pageviews on any of my posts that it’s not worth writing anything unless I really, really want to. Sometimes my reviews lead to extended conversations about the books, sometimes they convince others to pick them up, and sometimes the reviews seem to sink sight unseen. Whatever happens, I at least enjoyed getting my thoughts in order.

    • I admire how you’re doing your reviews now, Memory! I don’t review every book I read but I at least try to force myself to. I’m a completist and its a problem! It’s a battle I don’t really need to fight, I guess? Anyway, that’s a whole other discussion post.

  6. Pingback: Weekly Wrap-Up (#46) |

  7. I’ve actually gotten away from writing traditional reviews on my blog. I just wasn’t enjoying them, so I decided to change formats, and now I post brief highlights of each book I read. This is a much better fit for me and my blog :)

  8. I think you have some great points here! I alsway notice it on my blog as well that review posts don’t get that much views or comments. However I do enjoy writing reviews and I like being able to read a review I’ve written and remember what I liked and didn’t like about a book. Even with my good memory there are still a lot of things I tend to forget about a book. I also like talking about books and what I what I liked about them and sharing my opinion with others, even though not many people read them. I still feel like it’s worth writing reviews and I can’t start a new book unless I have written my review for the last book I read, reviewing a book has become a way for me to really finish a book.

    • I love that writing reviews helps you finish a book! I think my reviews also give me a kind of closure for books– especially for ones I didn’t like. I get over a bad book faster when I have a chance to rant about it, haha!

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