Hi, friends. I know, I should have written this post, before I started writing book reviews, but, as my grandma says- “better later than never”. So here goes:
When I joined Goodreads, few years ago, I read several posts on book reviews, most of them titled “How to do book reviews like a pro”, “How to write interesting book reviews”, “How to review fiction novels”, “The rules of book reviewing”, “Write a book review in five (3, 6, 10) easy steps” etc etc.
Boy, it seemed a lot of work, to review books correctly. I was very intimidated by the rules. After I read one author’s advice on how to review books, I decided not to review them at all. I did not like, what she said about those, who write from personal experiences, using lines, such as these “As a lifelong vegetarian, I…”, “As a parent, I…”
She said it was boring, and that reader is not interested in me (the person), they are reading a review, because, they are interested in the book (point taken). But these are sort of book reviews, that I like, because I am interested in the person, who writes a review. And- don’t we all read a book through our own experiences? I do.
I did not want to look silly, writing in the simple language or making some mistake, which I do, as I am not a native speaker. Yes, I am not a pro. I am a farm-girl, stay at home parent, but I am also a book lover… At first, I was careful with my words, and just rated books in Goodreads (3 starts, 4 stars), but then, I said to myself, “Why not? I am not inferior, just because I do not always find pretty words. As everyone else, I have rights to be there, and to express my opinion, as good as I can and in the way I like”. I read many reviews on Goodreads, by ordinary people like me, and I have seen many nasty comments, even on the books, that I liked. Rude reviews, funny and silly reviews. I will give you two examples- books Graceling and The Host, the reviews are weird, if you are on Goodreads and read those books, you will know what I mean.
Anyway, after some thinking, I was no longer shy, to express my opinions there… Then I started my blog, in December 2017, and once again, I was hesitant to share my book reviews. What if they are not good enough? I have seen some amazing reviews, by professionals, by bloggers, who get books free for reviews or by those who get paid to do so. This is different. I wrote about everything, but I avoided talking about books I read.
At some point, however, I realised, that books are such a big part of my life, I must be able to share my thoughts about them, in my corner on the internet. I do not need to compete with other bloggers. I don’t have to copy other reviewer style, or try to “keep up” with someone incredible, whom I admire. The only thing required- Just to be me- how easy!
Yes, I do not follow the rules, even though, I know, it would make my reviews look better. I would admit, that I cried about the death of the main character, regardless that it would be considered a spoiler, I will mention if the book glorifies rape, because it’s a trigger, I think book like that should come with the warning. And I will write, that I hated abortion advocacy in the book, because I am unapologetically Pro-life. I know, well meaning author told, that reader is interested in the book- not in me, but I will write from my own point of view anyway, hoping that maybe my readers are interested in the book and in my personal opinion too. When I write reviews, I do not worry about my language or style, I simply write, what I feel. My book reviews are mostly my personal thoughts, after I finished reading the book, they are like a conversation with the friend, + quotes and photos. I do not write them for the author or a professional, I write them for me, to look back years down the road, and decide either I want to re-read this book or not. They are for an ordinary person – like me, who love reading and are not grammar snobs. My book-reviews are definitely Not For Grammar Snobs!
Can you relate or are you complete opposite? Maybe you, just like me, are afraid to share your book reviews on the personal blog, if so, I hope I inspired you to go for it!
Thanks for reading.