Let’s make one thing clear before we set off to discussing book reviews. I love reading books. That’s what I do most of the time, at lunch breaks, when I go to bed, when I just want to rest and unwind and not do anything else on a weekend. Books help me turn off my brain and divert my anxiety for a few moments.
The only time I can stop stressing about everything else is when I’m reading. And it’s the only thing I do without thinking ‘Boy, I’m wasting time, I could be doing something else’.
In other words, I don’t feel guilty about reading. Which means, I read a lot. Sometimes I read too quickly, and I read books back-to-back. I read in both Bulgarian and English, and I rarely go more than a couple of hours after finishing a book, without picking up a new one. This has led to some very unfortunate results, and I think it’s book reviews that can help.
Book Reviews Help You Remember
I don’t do book reviews so much to spread an opinion, strong or otherwise. I’m more likely to do a review in order to remember what I’ve read. Usually, the one thing I remember from most books is how they made me feel. That feeling helps me remember key points and the reasons behind it.
But if a book is not shockingly good (or shockingly bad, oops), it’s doubtful I’ll remember the plot in more than the very basic details of it. And I don’t do rereads, at least at the moment. I’ve reread only Harry Potter, quite a few times, in the almost three decades of my life. There’s just too much to read, and too little time.
Maybe that’s why I race through the books I pick up. Because of that, I’ve forgotten quite a few of the reasons why I loved or hated most of the books I’ve read. That’s why I started writing reviews in Bulgarian a couple of years ago, but I realized I wasn’t doing it for myself at this point.
Funny thing, I don’t read reviews when I pick up a book. So I had to think again why I’m writing them because there was no point in doing them when I’m not reading them. Eventually, it became crystal clear that I should start writing them for me, and not with the purpose to get my opinion out there and sway that of others. That’s how affiliate marketing works, and it’s disgusting.
What to Expect of My Reviews?
First and foremost, expect honesty. Especially with negative reviews. I used to moderate my opinions a couple of years ago because I was worried that if my negative book reviews were too extreme, writers wouldn’t want to approach me and offer me free books.
And what I love more than anything else is free books. If you’re a writer reading this and you’re not too scared of feedback that might point out weak points in your text, drop me a line.
That being said, I won’t go out of my way to offend or overpraise writers and their efforts. With every positive or negative point I identify, I try to rationalize why it’s good or bad. I strive to give reasons for my strongest opinions, back them, especially when I think they might hurt someone’s feelings. That’s not my goal, which brings me to my next point.
Book Reviews Help Me Develop My Skills
My book reviews will probably contain spoilers. You’ll always be warned about them, and I promise to give you an intro and a conclusion that are spoiler-free. But the body…
It would be unavoidable to feature spoilers. When I identify weak or strong points with any book, I try to internalize them and learn from them. As you probably know already, I want to be a writer myself one day.
Each book review I do helps me identify what I like or dislike about a book from the viewpoint of the craft. Remember when I said I don’t read book reviews when I’m picking up a book? Yeah, well, I read book reviews when I’m done with a book to check my clock.
This process of rationalizing strong or weak points helps me hone my own craft. Knowing exactly what I like and dislike, and why I like and dislike it helps me reach the resolve to ‘Do like them, and not like them’ with various aspects like world-building, plot development, characters, and so on. And that’s why it’s quite likely you’ll come across spoilers in my reviews.
That’s about it on why you’ll come across various book reviews here. I have a narrow genre-taste. You’ll see sci-fi and fantasy books reviewed most of the time, mainly because these are the two genres I write in. If you have strong opinions yourself, feel free to share them with me.