For awhile now I’ve been mulling over the concept of book reviews and this blog in my head and today I had a breakthrough. I love to read and reflect on what I’ve read. I like to look back at old Goodreads blurbs that I’ve written and the few reviews I wrote on my old blog. I enjoy writing “book thoughts” or discussion posts where I can let my fingers fly across the keyboard and speak my mind about a novel. I love this. But I think the label review and all the connotations and comparisons that come with it has had me stumped for some time. I’m not exclusively a book blogger and I don’t take reviews as seriously as other book bloggers may. For me, writing about a book is mostly for me – to reflect, to vent, to fangirl about. Of course, I’m putting it on the internet because I’d love to have a discussion with others about the book and because doing so helps the book or the issue gain exposure. But every time I finish a book that I want to write about, I get this clenching fear in my stomach. I get so caught up in format, in word count, in professionalism, that I usually don’t end up writing the post at all. Because I don’t want to write a traditional, acceptable review. Because I don’t want to write a review at all. Sometimes I just want to write a quick paragraph, sometimes I want to write a formal and structured article, and sometimes I want to write in all caps because I’m freaking out over a plot twist, etc. Basically what I’m trying to say is that even though this is my blog, I haven’t felt free to do exactly what I want with it. Not because of anything anyone has said or done, but because I’m afraid no one will want to read what I have to say if it isn’t done the same way as other bloggers and if no one reads it then what’s the point in writing it in the first place?
But what I’ve realized is that I really want to write book reflections for me. I’ve always worried that not writing a thorough and comprehensive summary of a book and my thoughts on it is selling myself and the book short. I’m not doing it justice somehow, nor am I fully expressing my feelings. But with all the other things I have going on in my life I think it’s silly to expect that for every book I read I can or should write an 800+ word review. It’s scary for me to feel like I need to spend over an hour writing a detailed review if I want to post anything about a book. I don’t usually feel like I have the time or desire to do that. And thus, I prevent myself from sharing my love of books because of a self-instated pressure that if I can’t cover everything in a novel – my thoughts, my feelings, my reactions, my opinions, the plot, the characters, the figurative language, and more – I should not cover a book at all. If I cannot talk about everything, I should talk about nothing because that will help people more. For me, the idea of a review has always been black and white. And you know what? My concept of a review is ridiculous and limiting. From now on, I am hoping to let go of my worries and write for myself, as myself. I hope that you will enjoy what I write about the books I read and continue to comment and provoke discussion. I hope that sometimes a short paragraph of emotion will be enough. I hope that other times a long and rambly discussion post will be satisfying. I’m going to stop trying to write formulaic reviews because I don’t want to write them. I think this will allow me to post more content and definitely more content that reflects my voice. I started this blog for myself and I’d like to remain true to its original ideals: to create happiness and serve as an outlet for self-expression.
So I don’t want you to think of my book posts as reviews, but more as reflections/thoughts/discussions. If anyone has a suggestion for a new name for my book posts, please let me know. I know that booktubers often call theirs “book talks.” On my previous blog, I called them “book thoughts.” Any suggestions are welcome and appreciated.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and I hope that you will enjoy my thoughts on books, however long or short or poorly formatted they may be. I think that giving myself a wider range of freedom for expressing my opinions on books is the best thing for me and this blog.
All the love,