Sunday, September 21, 2014

Talk 2 Me: Read....Review....Repeat....

Last week Shannon @ River City Reading caught my attention with her ‘Let’s Shake Things Up’ post. She mentioned how difficult it is becoming to post a book review that sounds original instead of sounding like a repeat of every other book review you write. She also referred to a post by Michele @ A Reader’s Respite that discussed the idea of slowing down to read purposefully. I have to admit, those both rang true for me. I can’t say that I am tired of writing reviews or that I have trouble feeling like I have to make them distinctive, but I can say I feel like I am on a bit of a treadmill. I made the mistake of over-committing to reviews earlier this summer, and now I am in a pattern of reading as quick as I can, churning out a review, and then starting in on the next book. This doesn’t mean that I am not giving thoughtful, honest reviews, because I am. But I am feeling pressure to pick up the next book before I have time to digest the last book. I also am having a little trouble with writing a thoughtful review and still refraining from revealing spoilers, but that doesn’t really have anything to do with being over-committed.

After reading Shannon’s post, I began thinking about why I started book blogging in the first place. When I started blogging, it was all about me. It seemed like often, someone would mention a book and I‘d forget that I’d read it. Or I would recognize the title and the fact that I’d read it, and maybe even remember that I liked it, but I couldn’t tell you anything about the book! Book blogging was my solution to that problem. As soon as I finished a book, I would rate it and write a quick review so that I could come back later and refresh my memory. When I started, I even went so far as to find discussion questions and answer them in detail, posting my detailed thoughts on a ‘private’ blog, especially if the book was a book club selection. Keeping it private allowed me to discuss the book in detail without worrying about revealing spoilers.

Relatively soon, as I became more involved in the book blogging community, the blog became less about me. I now spend more time with memes, which I enjoy, but it does take time away from my reading when I interact with other bloggers. I also started participating in book blog tours, again something I enjoy, but it does put a little pressure on me at times when I let myself get over-committed. There are just way too many good books offered for review! And it leaves me almost no time for ‘deep-thinking’ about a book! Or for impulsively picking up a book that catches my eye.

I’m not sure what the solution is for finding time for reflection on a book. I am slowly getting caught up on my commitments. I don’t think I have anything scheduled after November! But I really would like to find a way to interact with other bloggers more about the books themselves; a community ‘deep-thinking’. Maybe a new blog where everyone links their review on a particular book and then stays to discuss the book? Or a ‘blogger’ group on Book Movement? I don’t know….

What do you think? Are you feeling the need for more thoughtful discussions about books? And if you do, what ideas do you have for implementing a discussion? I’d really like to hear from you.

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  1. I overcommitted this summer too -- something I had always prided myself on not doing even as a newbie blogger -- so I know where you're coming from. I'm not really a deep thinker, but I would like to be able to breathe before moving on to the next book. Once I get through this batch, though, I don't have anything coming up until March. I'm planning to read and review (schedule, but not post) those before I start requesting again.

  2. I've over committed myself too, and now I'm finally at my last book to read. whew! I'm not taking any more books for review for a long time...maybe never. I have plenty of books to read of my choice! :)

    I've been thinking about having more of a discussion book post myself. Maybe posting a short review and then posting an alert announcing a discussion with spoilers below and in the comments. I think that would be way more fun than just posting a review with comments saying "great review" or "I agree" but no one actually talking about it. :)

  3. Ugh, I just typed a huge comment, and it seems to have disappeared. The short version was, I often feel over-committed to the point where, like Candy, I don't know if I want to continue accepting books for review. I hate to break any contacts I have with publishers and authors, but reviewing books is more enjoyable and less stressful when I review it because it's a book I loved (or maybe hated) and I really want to talk about it. And the only way for that to happen is to review only books that I buy, get from the library, or request from Netgalley.

    If a blog existed in which we link our reviews for a particular book and stick around to talk about the book, I would definitely participate. I love that idea.

  4. I would love to have a better forum to discuss books. I started reviewing on Goodreads hoping to start discussions, but my friends don't read nearly as much as I do and aren't into posting. I've just started a blog to help find other Readers, but feel like that will just go out to the Internet void. Would something like that work on Goodreads or any other book site (I use Goodreads because it's free, but know there's some subscription services out there)?