Discussion: Book Reviews & Why I Suck At Writing Them

• Do you review every book you read? •

I don’t review every book I read. Last year I only published 10 reviews. 10 reviews in 8 months isn’t something to brag about in the book blogging community. So far this year I have published 6 reviews and that is an improvement. I’m getting better at writing them, but I still have a long way to go.

I’m going to explain why I don’t review every book I read. The short answer to this is; I find them hard to write, and it takes me a lot of time and energy to finish a review.

Here is the long answer:

-English is not my first language. This naturally makes it harder to write in English.

-I have always had a mental block/barrier when it comes to writing (like some people have when it comes to math), even in Norwegian. I used to hate writing, especially in school. When I had a writing assignment for class, I could sit for hours and just stare at the sheet or the screen without writing anything down. My brain was just empty. So I associate writing with something difficult and hard.

-I struggle with thoughts that my reviews aren’t good enough, that my writing isn’t good enough, that my thoughts and points about the books aren’t good enough and that my English suck.

-Reviews often takes many hours for me to write. I’m talking 2-5 hours, depending on if it’s a mini review or a full review. Knowing that it will be difficult for me, take a lot of energy and a lot of time to write, I often push them aside or procrastinate finishing the reviews.

-It takes a lot more energy and mental preparation for me to write a review, than it takes to write other posts. It is more exhausting.

I don’t think I’m alone when it comes to these points. Do you struggle with the same?

I know I just have to do them, and for every review I write it will be easier. I just have to push myself. After only 16 reviews they are starting to get easier to write, and my English vocabulary is getting stronger. Some of my goals when I started this blog was to push myself and do something that is way out of my comfort zone. I have to continue doing that.

I hope that one day I will crack the code, and it will be easy and fast for me to write reviews. But until then I just have to force myself, practice and tell myself I will get better.

When I choose which book to write a review for, I choose the ones that I have more to say about. They are always easier to write. Sometimes I have a lot to say about a book, and sometimes I don’t find anything.

One thing that push me to write a book review, besides obviously wanting to, is when I have gotten a book as an arc to read and review from a publisher or author. Because then I have an obligation to write the review. Maybe I work better under pressure? Haha.  

I would love to review every book I read in the future, but for now I will try to write at least a couple a month. Or maybe once a week, that would be awesome!

I hope that I don’t come across as a whiny person, haha, but I think it is important to know what the problems are before you can do anything about them. And I promise you that I work on these things every day.

So over to my question for you. Do you review every book you read? Does it come easily for you? Or do you struggle like me? And what is your tips on writing them?

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❤ -Rakel

35 thoughts on “Discussion: Book Reviews & Why I Suck At Writing Them

  1. Don’t worry too much – your English is just fine. I wouldn’t have known from your writing alone that it’s not your first language. I know what you mean though – whenever I try to write about a book in Spanish it takes me forever and it’s much harder for me to put my thoughts into words. (And I’m pretty sure my Spanish is not as good as your English!)

    The purpose of my blog is to review each book I read so that I can remember them better, so for the most part I find it fairly easy since my intended audience is really just future-me who has forgotten what she’s read. I definitely find them easier to write when I’ve marked passages I like or written notes and stuck them in the book so I can remember what jumped out at me and how I was feeling while reading it. But I think you’re doing a fine job as is – kudos for jumping so far out of your comfort zone!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks 🙂 It takes more brain power to put my thought into words in English. For now until I review all of the books I read, I do monthly wrap ups of what I read every month. I’m always taking notes, without them I would be totally stuck, they really help. Thank you again, and for the tips ^_^

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I understand your struggles. For me it is a little easier, but I still don’t consider all my reviews as good. I’d like to get more critical and make my reviews more structured but so far they’re not.

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      1. Haha I get the feeling, I still give a lot of books 4 stars, but it feels like if I give it less, that it wasn’t good. Maybe I should be a little more critical.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post! I do review every book that I read, well, since I started blogging but I really struggle with reviews, damn procrastination always gets me and I have no clue how people can churn out a review in 10 minutes, I struggle to formulate my thoughts into words and often feel like my reviews aren’t good enough, I’m quite informal in my style and don’t have the best spelling or grammar and when I see these essay type reviews with perfect grammar and eloquent prose it makes me question the quality of mine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks 🙂 It definitely takes longer than 10 minutes for me to write haha. Your reviews are good enough, but ah it sucks to have those feelings. Kind of good to hear that I’m not the only one who struggles. Don’t ever give up 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I review every book. But when I first was on Goodreads, I didn’t. Now I will always have about 100 books that I never reviewed…and I don’t remember them enough to review them.
    I think you should do reviews for practice with your English. I’ve noticed several people that have First-language-to-English issues, and they do the reviews the best they can…I understood everything you just said here! 😊
    So don’t worry: we are here with you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Going back and reviewing books that you read a year or more ago is tricky. I’m not going to stop reviewing even though I have these problems. And it will get better with practice 😀 I have come a long way. Thanks ^_^

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I do review every book I read. Depending on the book some are easier than others for me. I do think looking back at how I first started reviewing to now I am slowly but surely getting better. I understand it’s easier for me though. I still don’t consider my reviews all that good. You get better with practice though :).

    I have a set of questions I use for each review. I don’t actually write them out in the review (though some people do and that works just as well. Whatever works best for you). I look at the questions and answer them in the review. Why am I reading this? What’s the book about? Pacing, diversity, characters, writing etc. Using the questions really helps me figure out something to say.

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  6. I understand your struggle! I don’t have the same issue with a language barrier, but I agree that it feels like there is a “code to crack” for reviewing to come to me easier. I’ve never loved writing, I always find it a chore in school, but I’m also trying to challenge myself. My goal is to be more articulate about why I like the books I like. But it is hard and takes me hours or sometimes days to finish up a review! In short, you’re definitely not alone. 😊

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  7. I review every book I read, some of them take longer for me to get started because it can take me a while to get all my thoughts straight. But, once I have all my thoughts straight, it’s so easy for me to write reviews.

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  8. I have the same “problem”. I wish I could write more reviews but I procrastinate a lot. English is not my native language so I also struggle sometimes to write my thoughts and opinions in a more cohesive manner. I want to get better at it and that’s only possible with practice.
    One thing that just came to my mind is that it’s easier for me to write negative reviews but I usually don’t post them online.

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    1. Exactly the same as me 🙂 Procrastination is one of my biggest problems, I do it all the time. We will get better with practice! Don’t give up 🙂 I have posted negative reviews before, but I like to write reviews of the books I Loved.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I review every single book I read (excluding comics which is why I started doing Comic Book Monday). It’s the whole reason I started my blog, I wanted to catalog everything I read. This year I decided to start a physical book journal and this is like a mini review and snapshot of feelings.

    At times, I just think…. maybe I won’t review this one and I kick myself because I really value it later on to look back on, especially when sequels come out.

    When I first started out I used to do my brief opinions followed by an in depth analysis covering the following: characters, story, plot, romance, villain, ending, setting and writing. I discovered that while I liked doing this it wasn’t really pleasant to read. So I still try and cover all of these factors while writing my review just in an essay/paragraph format. I even put a post-it note with these areas beside me with every review I start.

    I have always found it easy but I struggle writing most about books I hate and books I love because with books I hate there is just so little positive things to talk about and with books I love it’s hard to convey my feelings of why I love it so much.

    I love to write but I also did drama for a number of years, that combined with the fact that my writing style is pretty much just the voice in my head. I also have had to write a lot of assignments for university so writing a 500-1000 word book review versus a 20,000+ dissertation makes it easier.

    I like the style where some people just give small reviews of a group of three or four books or even a weekly wrap up rather than trying to write a full review for everything they read. You shouldn’t let yourself feel disheartened by it, if you like the posts you do then that’s great and what you should focus on and write reviews for books you feel passionate about. However, if you want to challenge yourself then go for it!

    With English not being your first language you could find someone to pre-read your reviews if you wanted and they may be able to question and maybe bring up ideas about other things to talk about?

    I know this was long and I’m sorry, but you should do what makes you feel best and if you enjoy the challenge then push yourself, if not then you can always devote yourself to the posts you feel that you can give the best attention to. You and your blog are unique and I think our blogs should be a reflection of ourselves.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for the tips 😀 I catalog every book I read in the monthly wrap ups that I do at the end of every month. But it would be great to write a review on every book. To have someone pre-read my reviews before I publish them would be really great, I just don’t know how or where to find that person. I will think about it 🙂 Thank you so much for the long comment and again for the great tips 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Same here! I get so worried that my review isn’t up to the par because I am afraid that I missed something and people will come down hard on me for not being critically enough. So, I kept putting off doing the reviews. Memes are easier.

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  11. I will think about it 🙂 Thank you so much for the long comment and again for the great tips 🙂
    I like the style where some people just give small reviews of a group of three or four books or even a weekly wrap up rather than trying to write a full review for everything they read.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I started my wordpress just last month and I’ve done mostly book reviews. I think everyone has their own styles. Some reviews are very structured and organized while others are all over the place. Some are rather extensive and in depth and others are straight to the point. Mine are very concise because I can’t stand writing a 20 paragraph review like some people do. I would suggest to continue writing reviews and see how you’re own style develops and OWN IT! It sucks when you try to imitate others in their own reviews; that way things will never come easily to you. At least, that is my humble opinion from this newbie haha. Also your English is really good! I never would’ve noticed it wasn’t your first language. Good luck to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Welcome to wordpress 🙂 Yeah I just have to find my style. When I do reviews I like them to be structured. Writing reviews is actually starting to go better than it did. Thank you 🙂 Good luck you too with your new blog 🙂

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