Discussion: Reading without reviewing

Book on a blanket

Do you read books that you don’t review? I used to, but I don’t anymore with one exception.

In the beginning

When I first started blogging at Mom’s Radius in May 2015, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write about. I was looking for a place to catalog our family’s experience. I wanted to connect with other readers. And I wanted to share some life advice: recipes, parenting tips, etc. with whoever wanted to read my blog.

I read 12 books that month, but I only reviewed 4 of them on my blog. In June 2015 I read 12 books and reviewed 13 (one was a book I’d read a few months earlier). I quickly realized that the books I was reading were the perfect source of new content for my blog. It’s hard to come up with blog post ideas sometimes, but I have an endless supply of books that I’m reading and want to discuss with other.


Since then I have so many bookish things that I want to share that I launched this second blog as a platform for only Adult and YA book reviews and discussions, so I could post even more book reviews (including all the kids reviews I do over on Mom’s Radius).

What does that mean for my reading life? It means that I don’t ever read books if I’m not going to review them. I still find reading very pleasurable, or I wouldn’t do it. But there is an extra level of criticism that’s taking place in my brain as I read now. I’m analyzing the story, the characters, and the text in a way that I didn’t before I started writing reviews. I don’t read just for fun anymore with one exception.

When I re-read a book (or re-listen to a book, which is usually the case), I don’t have to think about what I’ll write in my review. I can just listen to the story and let my mind relax – at least a little bit because usually I re-listen when I’m doing something else: working, cooking, etc.

Do you ever read books and then not review them? Or if you’re a blogger, do you always review everything you read?

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  1. For the most part I tend to review everything. I used to even review rereads! But, now that I’ve developed even more content for my blog – wrap-ups, discussions, memes, etc. – I find that I read way more than I can reasonably post about. Sometimes I read ARCs SUPER early and have to schedule the posts so far ahead. Then, when I’m reading “regular” books around that time, they have to get scheduled super far out. I also find that I’m more likely to combine a few books if they’re similar enough for ‘mini reviews.” If I read 180 books a year I’d have to have 3-4 reviews a week, and I prefer to fill with other content instead.
    Lauren @ Bookmark Lit recently posted…Books I Recently Added to my TBRMy Profile

    1. Yeah, I’m posting reviews 3x/week right now, and it’s a lot. It’s interesting because I find myself not reading reviews on other blogs as much as I used to. I think part of it is that I don’t want to add to my TBR list, but part of it is that they’re not as interesting to read, unless it was a book I was thinking about reading. I am still working on varying my content, especially now that I split myself into two blogs.

  2. Interesting topic! I’ve actually been thinking about this lately. I’ve been blogging for about 5 months now, and I haven’t been reviewing everything I read. I’ve been trying to keep my reviews to newer releases. I also try to review books that I have particularly strong feelings about, one way or the other, so I have something to draw on. I think if I reviewed every book I read, I’d have an overload of reviews on my blog. But I do notice now that even when I’m not planning to review a book, I find myself making mental notes about things I would have written about.
    Angela recently posted…This or That Book TagMy Profile

    1. Yes, blogging definitely changes the way you think about reviews. I like having my ratings and reviews as reference when I want to do list posts, etc. I write 3 reviews a week, and it is a lot. At some point I may start just putting the reviews on Goodreads. Part of the reason I started blogging was to help myself remember what I liked and didn’t like about books, so I could make recommendations to people. The reviews (in addition to the ratings which I did even before blogging) really help me with that.

    1. Good point. I struggle a lot of times with 3 star books. There wasn’t enough to love to rave about the book, but there wasn’t enough to hate to warn people away. It’s a hard balance. I think in the coming year, I may get away from reviewing all books and do more lists or mini-reviews, kind of like I do with kids books in my Juvenile Pile posts on Mom’s Radius.

  3. When I started my blog three years ago, I reviewed everything I read, but didn’t necessarily post them right away. Those were my “I need a blog post really fast!” back-up reviews. Some of them are still sitting on my hard drive and have never been posted… Nowadays, I actually rarely review the books I’m reading. Only posting two times a week has something to do with that, as does a lack of time in my life. I’d rather be reading than reviewing. πŸ™‚

    1. That’s a good idea. I should save some of my backlist reviews to be emergency posts. πŸ™‚ I actually like planning posts and TBR books better than reading sometimes. But I agree, reading is better than reviewing. But I do love spreading the word about great books.

  4. I find that when I’m reviewing everything I read, my blog starts to feel like an unpaid job. So I don’t do that. I try to review everything that I requested from a publisher that I finished, but that’s about it. I rarely review audiobooks, or adult books that I purchase on my own. And I usually only review picture books if I particularly like them. I currently post 2 reviews a week, and I try to keep a couple of months worth of posts pre-scheduled.
    Jen Robinson recently posted…Mathematical Milestone: Doing Division, aka Math for BreakfastMy Profile

    1. Wow. You’re good! A couple of months. I wish I could get that far ahead. I sometimes manage to get a week ahead, and it feels so good to have the breathing room. I review 3x/week, so I have been reviewing everything I’m reading. I like sharing thoughts on what I’m reading, and I like to think I’m spreading the word about good books.

  5. I normally tag and star everything that I’ve read on LibraryThing, but I don’t review our post everything on my blog. If I’m contracted or otherwise obligated to review a book, then I will. If, however, I have no obligation, then I will only review it if I like it and feel that it has value. I feel that when I’m not contracted or on assignment, then I am engaging in my hobby. I understand the incredible amount of work that an author puts into a book (regardless of whether or not I like it) and her dependence on the income it will provide. I don’t want my “hobby” to be one that negatively impacts someone. If I am being paid or reviewing for a journal,I will review the book positively or negatively, as warranted. However, on my own time, I generally positively review books that I enjoy. If I receive something from a publisher that I don’t like, I tell my contact at the publishing house.

    1. What I LibraryThing? Is that like Goodreads? I’ll have to check it out. I cross post all my reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. I try to make sure I’m explaining what I liked or didn’t like about a book, so people can use that to decide whether a book might be right for them. Books that I review negatively could still be books that others may want to read. Lately, I’ve been reviewing mostly ARCs because I have a ton from BEA, but I do review other books I read for “fun”.

      Thanks for stopping by and weighing in! It’s so interesting to read how other people handle their blogs.

  6. Interesting post and a topic I think we all give some thought to at one point or another. I know this may come across as a little naΓ―ve, but I only write reviews of books I’d recommend. (Until I just wrote that I always thought I was doing book reviews, but I suppose I am really just writing book recommendation) I figure there is enough negativity in the world that on my blog I am only going to share stories I enjoyed reading. I still read plenty of things I don’t enjoy, but I keep it to myself.

    1. Interesting stance. I don’t think you’re alone. I do like to warn people away from books that I don’t think are worth their time. I do prefer raving about the books I love, but I think there’s value in the negative as well. And they say that even bad press is good. It give the book exposure it might not have gotten, and as long as I am sharing reasons for my dislike, I think it’s helping others decide if the book is for them because it might be. Different books work for different people. We just need to find the ones that are right for us.

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