No, no. I’m not going anywhere. I simply want to formally relinquish my title as a book reviewer. (And this doesn’t mean reviews are gone totally….I’ll explain).
I think along the way somewhere book blogger became synonymous with book reviewer and I definitely found myself willingly putting on that hat. Certainly a good majority of book bloggers identify as book reviewers. But I don’t necessarily think book blog has to mean you need to be a book reviewer. A book blog can be SO many things and honestly they could be completely devoid of book reviews.
So why am I formally taking off the book reviewer hat off?
1. For me, personally, being a “book reviewer” has sucked out some of the joy in reading. If you read this blog you know it’s not like my reviews are super serious and they are more conversational but, still, wearing the book reviewer hat has made me feel like I constantly need to be on the lookout for things that I can be critical about in books rather than simply just reading and then talking about what I thought about a book — good AND bad. I don’t know why but there just became so much more pressure for me while I read and I don’t like that. I’m fine with the natural critical process that happens when I read but I don’t want to be taking this “reviewer” thing so seriously and feel like it’s a job to read. I didn’t create my book blog to be a book reviewer but to just talk about books and such and fangirl and flail and cry over books and commiserate over books that piss us off or make us feeling to many feeeelings. After almost 4 years, I’m realizing I enjoy the review process less (and funny enough with the emphasis the community puts on reviews they are my least viewed & commented and I’ve seen people say they barely read any) and just want to talk about books however I see fit.
2. I feel like being a “book reviewer”, within the community, has come to mean you need to have a certain amount of reviews or people start complaining or questioning your legitimacy. I’ve seen sooo many comments on Twitter and blogs about how many reviews you should have and yada yada. I’ve never cared what people think and I have as many reviews as I want per week (typically 2 works for ME and the way I read/live my life) but I formally want to say I’m not a book reviewer anymore so I can basically say, “NA NA I am not a book reviewer so I don’t care how many book reviews I have/what format they take on and I don’t care about any “reviewer” standards you may try to pin on me.” I want to talk about books in MANY MANY ways that are not just reviews. And I see THAT coverage of the book JUST as legit as a book review. I do many things like Beyond the Pages, Book Inspired Dates, top ten lists, etc that spotlights books and talk about them.
So what can you call me? A book blogger, a book talker, a crazy person who just talks about books and relates a lot of things back to them.
What you will see:
Honestly there isn’t going to be THAT much change here. It’s more of a mindset/distinction.
1. Book reviews still — I mentioned before I want to be more book TALK and less book review because I don’t necessarily enjoy the reviewing process but I looooove talking about books. Book reviews will most certainly BE a fixture on this blog and I may even change up how I do them. But I am not a book reviewer. Does this make sense or is it only making sense in my head?
2. Book TALK: I have already found a zillion ways to incorporate books into posts that aren’t reviews and sometimes you may see those more often.
Basically: I no longer want to have to feel bound to being a book reviewer. This blog is my love letter to books, bookish things, life and the things that books make me think and feel. There will be all the same things that there always have been — book reviews included — I just don’t want to be held to any sort of standards. I do think my reviews, as conversational as they are, will become more of a book talk if I can figure out I way I want to do it or maybe I’ll just mix things up “review” wise. Maybe this distinction doesn’t make sense or seems silly because I’ll still have reviews but it’s just something I’ve been thinking about.
I’m not a natural reviewer like some of the bloggers in this community (seriously I feel self conscious sometimes) so I’d like to not keep wearing that hat. Book reviews will still be written but sometimes I don’t want to get into the nitty gritty critical stuff with EVERY book. I’ll be honest if it wasn’t perfect but sometimes the reading experience was more positive and I genuinely want to just focus on THAT excellent reading experience I had and not sully it with picking apart things. There will still be critical reviews but I don’t want to be bound to any set of standards or be told I’m not being honest or that I’m catering to the publishers if I decide to do it another way. After almost 4 years, those things just aren’t a factor. The only factor is me putting out the best things I can and being honest about it..and I see that shedding this label will be that for me personally!
I think the most beautiful thing about this bookish community is how different our blogs all are — some are natural at critiquing (I’m jealous of this ability), everyone reviews differently and from a different perspective and we all have different focuses and areas of expertise. I love being a part of this community!