Discussion: Struggling with Reviews

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I’ve been away from blogging for a little while, and at least partially because of my constant struggle to write what I deem to be adequate reviews. Does this sound familiar? You finish a book, and sit down to write a review, but you can’t think of anything to say. Maybe you beat your head against the wall, maybe you flip through the book again to see if anything comes to you, or maybe you just give up and don’t write anything. 

Here’s my process:

  1. Finish book, swim around in all the feels. Isn’t this glorious? Let’s just stay here forever, you and I, my little booky-wook.
  2. Jump on Goodreads, give it a snap judgment star rating. You’re welcome, book.
  3. Wait two weeks, so that you read at least a few more books that will muddle your memory of the book you need to review. Book cries a little.
  4. Get calendar reminder email that you need to post your review. Experience a bolt of fear normally reserved for seeing a spider in your bed. Book feels the residual shock and flips you the middle finger.
  5. Fire up the computer, crack knuckles, and enter all the book info. You’re on a roll! This is going to be a piece of cake! Book says it’s sorry and gives you a hug.
  6. Stare blankly at the screen, wondering where to start. The cursor blinks incessantly, and book just stares at you.
  7. Type a couple of lame sentences summarizing the plot. Hooray! We’re getting somewhere! 
  8. Decide you hate those sentences, since the plot is summarized already in the synopsis. Delete them and stare some more.
  9. Re-write the summary sentences, since people probably won’t read the synopsis anyway, or they already know what the book is about, in which case why would either of those groups of people want to read a review anyway? This is stupid. I hate you, book. Book sticks its tongue out at you.
  10. Think of the three nitpicky things you briefly thought of while reading the book and write those down, stringing it together with awkward transitions (making heavy use of headers), and getting frustrated with your stiff phrasing. Why can’t you loosen up already? It’s probably book’s fault. You give book the evil eye, and book collapses in a puddle of shame tears. 

And who wants that? Nobody, that’s who. Especially poor, sad book.

Of course if there was an easy answer for how to write reviews easily, there’d probably be an app for that. (And if I’m mistaken, and there is already an app for that, please point me to it immediately.) I realize that I have personal faults that directly contribute to some of the above teeth-gnashing and hand-wringing, like waiting too long before actually writing the review, and not taking notes. But I have a hard time taking notes while reading, and sometimes I like to let a book breathe after finishing, so I don’t jump to too many conclusions right away.

So what’s a girl to do?

Seriously. I’m asking.

Are notes and speedy reviews the only answers? What do you do when you struggle to write a review?

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