In Which I Hang Up My Hat As A Book Reviewer

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!

 

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 28 year old married lady who is in denial that she's actually that old. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating gelato, listening to music with oversized headphones and teaching her niece how to be as awesome as she is.

Comments

  1. Love this. Hear, hear!

  2. Dammit Jamie, you made me stop breathing and made my face go all funny! Don’t scare us again with such a title, okay? Okay. So first of, good o you for doing what you want to do! I haven’t seen people talking about reviews and how many people should post, but I don’t get caught up in that. It’s too much pressure and can so easily take the fun out of what we do. Also, yay for book blogger’s! That’s how I’ve always seen myself, not as a book reviewer. I blog about books and I don’t feel like I have to be anymore specific than that. Oh, I have an idea for you! Maybe instead of calling your thoughts on books reviews, you could title your posts “Book Talk”. I personally love that! I’ve been feeling a bit burnt out on writing reviews as well so I get where your coming from and good luck with :)

    • See, I’m still recovering from all the excitement. Look at all my spelling mistakes! *So first off, good for

    • SORRRYYY hahah.

      I definitely don’t get caught up in that either. Some weeks I only post one but I just wanted to formally say “I don’t care what is thought” and relieve some of that pressure! Yes! That is one of the changes I see coming — labeling it book talk in the title rather than book review. It’s going to be hard to stop referring to everything as reviews and I’m okay with it since I will still HAVE reviews like I do now but I just don’t want to be a book reviewer. Just a book blogger who has book reviews and book talk and whatever I want.

  3. First of all way to scare me lady! I was like “Noooo Jamie! Don’t leave!” when I saw the title. Tricky, tricky! Anyway, I really do love this post. I completely relate to it so it made perfect sense to me. All I can say is do what you love and don’t worry about the rest. If people don’t like it, they don’t have to read it. And as you said, everyone in this community does things a little differently, and that’s what makes the community so much fun to be a part of! :)

    • No no I’m still here!

      This is how I feel! I’m so sick of all the YOU HAVE TO DO THIS and I’m like yeah..where did I sign the contract to do that/be that. I DIDN’T. I just felt compelled to state this formally and start changing some of the things that I didn’t like. Mostly everything is going to look the same though but the mindset will be different!

  4. I LOVE THIS!!!! I’ve taken a step back a bit from reviewing (although I didn’t come out and say so) and have been trying to write more “fun” posts, like discussions and other things. Surprisingly (or maybe not so much), those are the posts that actually get the most comments! I know that, personally, I scroll through my reader looking for a) interesting non-review posts or b) reviews for books that I’ve either already read or am interested in reading. I don’t really read all that many book reviews anymore, since it usually results in me being overly excited for a book and then I end up disappointed. Or I get encouraged to read a book that I really didn’t think I’d like, only to really not like it, and life’s too short for that!

    Soooooo hooray! I’m looking forward to lots more fun bookish awesomeness from you!

    • I feel like I have all the “other” things and I love doing them and I LOOOOVE talking about books in my reviews and still want to do something that resembles a review but I don’t feel pressured to always BE a review. If that makes sense. So really most things will look the same except for the fact that sometimes my reviews for a book I read might not necessarily BE a review– just some sort of spotlight or something else.

  5. I hate writing reviews. Probably because my writing isn’t very good. I mostly fangirl over things and if I don’t like something, I write that I didn’t like it. I don’t have the right brain to dissect the plot, characters and writing like I think a review should. I don’t care though. For me reading is about being able to escape and then fangirl with a bunch of people who loved the book as much as I did haha.

    • I don’t think I have the right kind of brain that naturally dissects all those things either. I can say what I liked/didn’t like about things but naturally being super critical isn’t me. I’ve learned that in all these years and I tried so hard to just do it anyways. I just want to TALK about the books and not feel like obligated to do anything but that — whether my thoughts are good OR bad!

  6. I can completely understand where you’re coming from Jamie. :) When I started my original Goodreads account a few years back I felt compelled to start writing reviews for books, but then I found myself not enjoying books as much as I used to when I read them and the very last thing I wanted to do was to no longer enjoy reading. I find it difficult myself to be critical with books and enjoy books at the same time. :/

    Even when I started my book blog I made a decision to not so much review books…but discuss books with people. I want to flail and gush and just TALK about the things I loved and the things I didn’t. If I can achieve that then I’ll be happy.

    Looking forward to the future book talks from you! :D

    • Yes that’s how I’ve started to feel over the years. The blogosphere in general has gotten MORE critical (not saying it’s a bad thing) but for me I just want to talk about books and not have to have my critical hat on when reading. If I read and negative feelings about it come up naturally…fine..I will talk about them but I don’t want to always be reading like I’m going to be writing a report on it like for college for something.

      My reviews are already pretty conversational so mostly everything will be the same but I just needed a mindset change and to let readers of my blog know this!

  7. I always call myself a ‘book blogger’ rather than a straight reviewer, because I don’t like to feel like reviews are all I have to have on my blog. I enjoy doing some memes, or just random discussion posts and, for me, one review a week is enough!

    When I read a book I always relax into it and enjoy it and don’t tend to over think things and worry about what I’ll write in a review later. I don’t want reviewing to sully my reading experience and if it ever gets to that point that it’ll be time for me to take a break.

    • Exactly! I mean, if you look at my blog I have SOOOOO much stuff on it that reviews already AREN’T the main focus for me. I just like dabbling in a little of everything on here. I fit in the one to two a week range mostly! I just feel like I needed to formally put my mindset change out here for my readers to know how there will be little changes. I think it will make for a happier blogger here :)

      And YES..this exactly. I don’t want to be reading it just loooking for things as if I’m going to write a college essay on it. I just want to read and relax and let the book talk come naturally.

  8. *all the clapping, cheering and jumping .gifs from the internet*
    There seems to be quite a bit of talk about this recently, especially where bloggers fall into the reviewer spectrum. I’ve only been blogging just over a year, but I’ve already started to feel the drag of reviews and the pull toward more enjoyable bookish posts…what I love is that they seem to generate more conversation, and isn’t that another reason why many of us started our blogs in the first place?

    I totally agree with your second point, too. I hate the thought that a blogger can’t be seen as legitimate or honest without writing a strict review of a certain number of books when there are so many other ways to get the same goal.

    • Haha thank you for the cheering and support! :) I was so nervous to publish this just because I wasn’t sure what people would think or like if they would misinterpret it for me NEVER having reviews on here because they didn’t read the whole thing. lol

      I still want reviews/or something that resembles a review/spotlight of a book I read kind of post but I want to be FREEEEE to do it however I want and not be held to “reviewer” standards. And yeah..I’ve seen SO many comments about how often/how people review/what they include in their review and it’s just getting silly. We can do different things. It’s okay. Not all of us WANT to read enough to have reviews every day of the week. I could not do that. But some people can and want to! I think there is room for all of us!

  9. I love talking about books more than reading a basic review, I’m glad you shared this with us. I also love that you said your blog is a love letter to everything books. That’s awesome!

  10. I totally get what you mean. Sometimes I finish a book that I love but then find myself dreading having to write a review about it. Good for you changing things up, no point in doing something if it doesn’t make you happy. I love all your posts and can’t wait to see what other bookish things you have up your sleeve :)

    • YES this is exactly. I want to not feel pressured to WRITE a review if I don’t want to. I might want to spotlight it/cover it in a different way that’s still like “hey i read this book and these are my general feelings on it but here’s something it made me think of..” or really however I want to.

      I don’t know HOW all of this is going to look but I felt like I had to formally declare it so I wouldn’t keep shoving my feelings aside. Now I can work on how to achieve it!

  11. I’m glad I saw this post.

    I’ve only recently started reviewing books on a regular basis and I have already had to make some amendments. I used to read other reviews before writing my own but it made me feel either guilty for my own views, or it made me feel like I needed to change my opinion or something.

    Take a book like Throne of Glass for example. I really enjoyed it but I felt the need to acknowledge all of its flaws (because its definitely flawed) as if to showcase that I am aware of them. Which just sucks out the base enjoyment. This should be fun, right?

    So from now on I’m going to write my own reviews before reading any others and stick to my immediate feelings.

    This is a roundabout way of saying great post!

    • That is EXACTLY why I don’t read reviews before because I don’t want to be influenced. It’s easy to read a book and LOVE it and then go read reviews and see everyone ripping it apart and I’m like EEEEEH…I guess I’m too dumb to see these things haha.

      Yes..I’ve been in the same position. I’ve read a book, knew that there WERE flaws but my overall reading experience was super positive but I felt like I HAD to talk about the little flaws so that people didn’t think I didn’t pick up on them…because I DID..but I just want to talk about how much I loved the book more than anything despite those things. In some cases I DOOOO want to spend time talking about the flaws because it did have a huge part in my reading experience even if it was positive but sometimes it just didn’t impact me that much when I read..even if I was aware of it.

  12. Sounds great! It is really affirming to see more people speak out about how they dont read reviews or dont want to be so critical with their reviews. Ive never reviewed very formally. It’s always been conversational, how i might talk about a book with someone in an English class. I write reviews for myself, remember what a book was like, to record that. And i will gladly look over writing problems if the experience was enjoyable. I once had this goal of being a copy editor. But once i did it for a while, i learned how critical i became of every other aspect of my life. I don’t want to have that happen to my pleasure reading. And im also one of those that doesn’t read a blogs reviews unless I’m familiar with the book, but i will always read a discussion, thoughts, etc. They are more engaging and less formulaic.

    • I’ve definitely always been conversational with my reviews (as if we are just two people chatting over margaritas or coffee talking about a book) too so my tone has never been a problem but I’ve definitely fallen into the “i must write a review in order to cover this book on my blog” trap. Sometimes I want to write a review but sometimes I want to cover a book differently. But I always feel that “must review” pressure. Feeling like I’m a reviewer and HAVING to offer something critical every time has just sucked some of the enjoyment out of reading for me. Books are my hobby and my escape and I want to just read how I read and talk about what comes up!

  13. I love the idea of this! I was actually just trying to write a review for a book I had recently read (and thought I enjoyed), but when I started writing the review, I just kept noticing all these little things that weren’t so great. So I’m wondering, if I wasn’t a “book reviewer” would I have enjoyed the book more? Sometimes I think reviewing makes me enjoy books less because I’m so busy looking for the flaws in books.

    • YESSSSS. That is my thing I think about a lot! At my heart I’m just a reader and I don’t want to be super critical all the time. I miss reading how I did before. And even before YEAH OBVIOUSLY there were things I didn’t like and I’m glad I have learned to articulate those because they are IMPORTANT to my book talk of certain books but I don’t want to always have to point out a flaw when it didn’t factor into my reading. Also, if I’m honest, there’s a lot of reviewers who make me feel kind of dumb because of how critical they are and the things they see. I just don’t have their brains and doing the critical thing isn’t my strength. I read lots of different blogs for different reasons — some super critical and some not — and I love them all. I just want to talk about what I read and that’s important to me. When I first started out sure there were critical reviews but not to the extent that there are now. I rarely saw reviews ripping things apart so often. Maybe every so often but not like this. Everything has gotten so critical, and that’s valid and important too, but I found myself sliding into that…when that was not what I want/who I am.

  14. I feel the exact same way! I have a post scheduled for next week that deals with a very similar topic. I’m just not a huge fan of reviewing books anymore. The pressure to review has taken the fun out of it. To be honest I don’t even read many reviews so why should I expect people to read mine? Great post!

    • Yes! The pressure to be critical ALL THE TIME just takes the fun out of this for me. I just want to read and then let the thoughts I had while reading come naturally — good or bad!

  15. LOVE IT. As you know from our lengthy discussions — I am 100% the same way! I always say we have to do everything we an to keep the fun in this and I think “book talk” is a perfect way to do so. You do you! xo

  16. Jamie this is a wonderful goal. I try to keep my reviews casual and not accept a million review copies. I want to enjoy the books I read.

    • Thanks! Yeah, I typically keep my reviews pretty casual and conversational..and now I feel like I’m giving myself even more freedom to do reviews how I want to do them and decide to spotlight them in other ways if I want.

  17. I ended up doing the exact same thing last week. I think I was a better blogger before the reviews, when I just talked about books, genres, storytelling, etc. Those posts were way more relatable than “this is what I thought of this specific book.” I’ve got some backlogged ARCs to review (integrity of exchange and all, eh?) but after that I’m right there with you on the whole review thing.

    • Yes I just want to talk about books. Sometimes that will still be a review! And sometimes it will be some other way of spotlighting a book that I read. I just want to give myself the freedom to do that and I think shedding the label as a book reviewer will help me do that. So, I’m not getting rid of reviews altogether. I just don’t want to be labelled as a book reviewer.

  18. And why should you have to be a reviewer? Blogging is about doing what you love. If reviewing takes the love out of it, why do it? I just find it really admirable that you’re stepping out and doing this. I started out as a reviewer and recently turned to talking about books more. I keep worrying that I’ll start getting comments on my amount of reviews, but, hey, I’m one person. There’s only so much I can read in one week with a billion other things going on. I’m here to discuss books, share what ones I like, express which ones weren’t quite up to par, and fangirl with people when I finally find those groups that read the books no one else seems to have heard of, like myself.

    I really hope that this takes all of that unwanted pressure off of you!

    • Exactly! I think that when one enters into the community we see book reviews as a standard, staple of a book blog and I fell into that thinking too! I don’t WANT to be a book reviewer. I just want to talk about books — however I see fit. And sometimes a review will be that for me! I’m excited for the freedom I’ll have in all this by shedding the book reviewer label..even though I still might have reviews.
      Glad I’m not the only one who feels this way!

  19. Fantastic post! I’d love to get back to my roots and just love books again for the entertainment they provide. To fangirl over books instead of reviewing each one critically. To make blogging the fun thing it started out as. Good for you!!!

  20. I think, between my speed dates with books and the memes I do (Top Off Tuesday and Waiting On), I’m more of a book talker than reviewer. Sure, I do some reviews, too, but I like to keep my reviews/talks frothy and fun, rather than delving into the intricacies of what made a book work/not work. I do like to see people talking about books on their blogs, not just doing discussion posts but, as long as the posts are well-written and interesting, I’m in.

    • Yep! That’s my thing..when you look at my blog..reviews are NOT the prominent feature here. I like to dabble in all sorts of things. That just is where my interests lie. And when I DO reviews they are very conversational, I hope, like we are talking! I just am excited to give myself the freedom to do whatever it is I want to do by shedding this label. I want to just book talk and not feel bad that I don’t have x many negative reviews. I hate that. If I don’t like a boook..I don’t like it and I’m not afraid to say it but I hate feeling like I have a quota to meet and that’s how I’ve felt lately because I see SO many comments or posts about people who seem to like every book..because that’s not true. I don’t.

  21. Have you considered doing BookTube? I think you’d love it!

    • I still love WRITING a blog but I’ve been dabbling back into making videos. I would see it more as complementary to what I do here rather than leaving this community. I just love writing more than I do making videos. But I love the idea behind book tube and how they just talk about books..that’s what I want!

  22. I’d like to copy this whole post and slap it on my own blog. It’s EXACTLY how I’ve been feeling lately. Fantastic post!! Bravo!

  23. You totally freaked me out for a second there. Phew!

    I’ve been doing the same kind of thing since I got back – I don’t post as much as you do, but I’ve been taking a much gentler approach to “reviewing” – I’m less about writing a good review and more about writing about the reading experience. I feel like that’s working for me – I used to find reviews a bit daunting, but I find that they take less time when I just tell people how I feel.

    By the way, I adore all of your bookish content, especially the stuff that isn’t reviews. I’ve been inspired by your creativity so many times, Jamie. Keep doing what you’re doing. It makes things way more interesting when we all get creative.

  24. I decided on something similar earlier this year and it’s made me much happier. I still review stuff and read stuff, but those to circles do not over lap unless I want them to. I used to review everything I read, and now only what I feel strongly about (positive or negative). I don’t take notes while I read or any of that stuff to detract from just enjoying the experience. If I connected with a book strongly enough to remember things all my my lonesome, then that’s the book I want to review and talk about.

  25. I feel the same way. And I just posted (like a week ago) about how I got bored with my review style so now I do these “freestyle” reviews that are more discussions/ramblings than traditional reviews. It’s so much more fun :)

  26. THIS POST. I love it.
    When I first started blogging, I had barely even read any blogs, and had no idea about the fantastic book blogging community out there. I just wanted to share my ramblings about books with the world. But over a couple months I noticed the sort of “requirement” that book bloggers write reviews. So I began writing reviews – but they never were real “reviews,” just sort of more specific ramblings. I was always nervous that they weren’t REAL reviews – was I failing in literary blogging if I can’t write reviews?
    So you see, your post made me happy. I’m glad there are other book talkers and book ramblers out there. YAY :-)

  27. Good for you Jamie! I’m glad that you’re doing what feels right to you. I don’t particularly like ‘reviewing’ books myself, feel like I did enough of that in college. Just want to approach books as a reader vs. a critic. That’s why I do a ‘Book Crush’ series on my garden blog. It’s only books that made me super happy and I definitely can’t be taken seriously as a book reviewer, but who cares?

  28. My book reviews are the lest read/commented on posts as well. I was getting a lot more feedback on my occasional personal post, so at the start of 2014, I declared my blog both a personal AND bookish blog. It took the pressure off and has become a lot more fun again. I”m enjoying writing personal posts and interacting a lot more.

  29. Seriously, are you in my head/heart right now?! I’ve been struggling with this same feeling lately and it’s kind of a validation to not be alone in this anymore. Thank you, Jamie. Coming from an established blogger like yourself, it makes me feel so much better and totally not like a loser anymore.

    I think this will work out great for you and your book blogging. :)

  30. I think there is a great call for a safe space where one can discuss books on the internet, where people feel they can just geek out without assigning a rating to something. I recently started writing about my reading life again, just in my own space, but looking at other book blogs had me feeling that I was doing something wrong, like I was supposed to be chasing down ARCs and churning out reviews, but then I realized that it was never my intent. People should be able to manage their own spaces in the ways that they see fit and find a readership without feeling pressure to change their goals. For those readers who don’t have a vested interest in the implications of critique for a book, it’s a breath of fresh air to just share in the wonder of storytelling with another life reader. It would be a shame to lose sight of why one reads and for that joy in the telling to evaporate over imposed “duties”. I guess that all adds up to thankyouthankyouthankyou for sticking to your guns and maintaining your voice. It’s inspiring.

  31. I love this post! I, too, feel the pressure of writing reviews. I want go back to reading books for the fun of it and not find things to critique and write about, sometimes. I love talking about books and anything book-related, but I don’t think I should be confined to reviews. I know that personally, I don’t really read reviews unless I’ve either read the book or am familiar with the author. I still love the community, but I think I’ll be participating in other ways– creating discussion posts that generate conversation, which is the reason why I started blogging– to talk with similarly-minded people, and finding bookish things on the internet.

  32. Totally makes sense! I have felt that pressure to frequently post stuff but I just don’t have a lot to say everyday! Also, I know there’s also a numbers game with publishers, but I don’t want to be forced to do my “hobby” just to get their attention. I’d still read anyway, and I blog because it’s fun to talk about books!

  33. I’m so happy for you, Jamie! I know you’ve been really struggling with this a lot, and it’s awesome to see you make a decision on what works for YOU. I’ve never really considered myself a ‘book reviewer.’ Yes, I review books, but I focus a lot more on what I liked or disliked, rather than coming at it from an objective reviewer perspective. I write like I talk, so for me I do feel like I’m just having a conversation. I can understand the pressure, though. I think the thing that most of us bloggers struggle with is our own mindsets rather than external forces. Like yes there is pressure and the outside can affect us, but once you’re doing what you love and what you want, the outside doesn’t matter as much. I’m glad you’re figuring out what it is you want, and I can’t wait to see where that takes you!

  34. Love this! That’s some of the mentality I’m slowly getting too. Honestly, reviews are things I read the ~least on blogs unless it’s something I’m considering purchasing before I read, y’know? I’m trying to incorporate more non-review stuff as well and thus far (plus switching to a group blog), I think it’s been the change I needed in blogging!

  35. This post makes so much sense to me! Focusing on being critical/formatting thoughts for a review definitely made me dread reading like I never had before, and honestly, I do tend to read personal/other posts more than I read actual reviews on blogs.

  36. I love this post! And it totally makes sense. :) I used to enjoy reading so much, and I never cared about reviewing until I made a book blog. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy reading. But I find myself critiquing and being nitpicky about things that I never have before. Sometimes, it takes the fun out of it. That’s why I read what *I* want in-between my review books, so I don’t have to worry about time pressures or critiquing. It helps. :)

    I still love reviewing books, but sometimes it’s not that fun.

  37. I totally, 100% agree with you here Jamie! I began to notice that I was worried about how many reviews and how many different memes I was putting out there for people and I noticed that my reviews were also some of the least viewed of posts and in the end, I’ve began to think that I just want to talk about books, whether that be in conversations, reviews, or anything else. You’re also right on the pressures of reviewing and how it can sometimes take the fun out of reviewing, I’ve started to notice that too, but I’m trying to calm it down a little and make sure I continue to enjoy reading for reading, that’s why I’ve been reading books I want to read for me, not for anyone else.

    You’ve hit home here, nail on the head, sometimes, talking about books isn’t fun, and that’s when things have to change, and I’m glad you’re changing for yourself and not anyone else :D

  38. I completely understand, and I have to say that you’re so brave, writing this post! I think it can be so easy to be pushed into certain things in the blogosphere because it’s the done thing and it can be hard to get away from that, but you are. Go, Jamie!

    But I completely agree. I like writing reviews — of course, I go through reviewing slumps and some books are easier to review than others, but for the most part I like it. But, like you, I’m insecure about my reviews. I don’t think I’m the best out there because like you mentioned above, I try not to be purposefully critical while I’m reading. Reading is my hobby, you know? And I don’t want to ruin that. I want the negatives I point out in my reviews to be negatives that affected my reading ‘naturally’ (if that makes sense) and not be negatives just because I was looking for them. I’ve stumbled across blogrolls that feature me and have stated it’s because they enjoy my reviews, and I’m flattered! But always a bit surprised because of that.

    I would never call myself simply a book reviewer. I always say I’m a book blogger that features book reviews. ‘Reviewer’ sounds like an awfully professional title, and my reviews always come from a more personal space. Professional reviewers are trained to go in with a critical eye, and I would never do that. Maybe some people think book blogger is synonymous with book reviewer, but for me, like you, it means so much more and I won’t allow myself to be constrained by what everyone else deems a book reviewer should include.

  39. First, you scared me there for a minute. But I could not agree more. I sort of think that book bloggers have split onto two different paths. There are those blogs that seem to try to review everything. Most of those blogs have multiple bloggers and thus they are able to give opinions on just about every book. I’m grateful to them, because I can’t read everything.
    I just want to read books and talk about them. I don’t have a co-blogger and I can’t grind out review after review and enjoy my real life too. So I have totally changed my mindset in 2014. I try to write up my thoughts on Goodreads and I always give feedback on Netgalley, but I don’t feel pressure to write a formal blog review for each and every book that I read. I also can do two reviews a week, max. And I’ve been experimenting with other ways to talk about books so that I can keep myself and my blog readers more engaged.

  40. Jamie, this post speaks to me on so many levels. I know exactly how you feel. I have been struggling to write reviews for the past few months, in part because I have just so much less time now that I started school and I want to read, not review, in my free time and also because it just doesn’t come naturally to me. I love reading, not reviewing, and I started blogging to talk about books not to necessarily review them formally but I’ve adopted that hat because I felt it came with the territory. I’ve tried mixing it up these past couple months and doing less reviewing and more book talking but I am still figuring out exactly how I want to do it. I’m glad to have you as my fearless leader paving the way :)

    Also, if it’s ok with you, can I reference your post if I decide to talk about what I am going through on my blog?

  41. You know, I get exactly what you are saying. I try to make it clear that my reviews are more informal and that I am far from professional with my reviewing, but I still get highly self conscious when I read other reviews and they just seem… I don’t know, like they are born with this knack for book critique. And somehow they can read at almost superhuman speed and I don’t feel I can keep up.

    I think it’s awesome that you are going to make your blog the place you want it to be, the place to make you happy and do something you enjoy. I think we all need more of those fangirling over book moments.

  42. Basically, I’ve always been of the opinion that you should book blog however you feel most comfortable and like yourself! If removing the book reviewer hat is what you feel is most natural and right to you, it’s definitely a good move. I personally don’t consider myself a book reviewer, but more of a reader who likes to talk about the things I like and don’t like in books! It’s fun to share my thoughts on books, but it’s also fun to do other things — like foster community, share my real-life experiences and all that. I’m so happy that you feel comfortable and right about this decision! Happy for you :)

  43. Jamie you fake out. Make me think you were quitting blogging and then I got sad.

    My philosophy is do whatever you want and if not calling yourself a reviewer is what you want to do, fine by me. :-)

    Here’s to some bookish fun, yo.

  44. For the record I think you do GREAT reviews and enjoy reading them :) I know what you mean on pressure though. Sometimes I go on review spurts, other times just random posts about books.

  45. I like your distinction between book blogger and book reviewer… you can be a blogger that reviews books, but you don’t have to be just a book reviewer. I think I’m in that mindset now too… I just want to read what I want and enjoy it… if it happens to be for review then that’s all good, but I don’t have to review every book I read.

    I like the idea of Book Talks. :)

  46. This is such a great epiphany Jamie! I’m so glad you’re blogging in a more relaxed way. I stopped being so critical about all the books that I’ve been reading starting last year and I’ve been more happy then. I’ve also become more selective with books that I’ve been requesting instead of requesting EVERYTHING that I wanted. Well except for Harper Teen books which I love. Love your new perspective on book blogging. Cheers!

  47. I wish I could be more like this. I have to have book reviews on my blog or there wouldn’t be much content. What I mean by that is I can’t think of topics on a whim like you. I wish I could that would be great.. but alas! I can’t!! :)

  48. Great decision! Blogging should be done because you love it and it needs to stay fun for you to keep loving it. I’m excited to see the direction your book chats will go!

    This is definitely something I have been thinking about, sometimes truly reviewing a book just isn’t working out all that great and I wonder if I should just do more of a talk/ chat thing. But since I haven’t figured out the perfect recipe yet and it’s not like it happens all the time, so I’ll see where it goes.

  49. I’m so with you! I post on a “book blog” not a “book review blog”. I am a book BLOGGER, not a book REVIEWER, and that is a much better title. I blog, and I blog about books. What I post may vary, and some of it does include reviews, but it definitely takes the pressure off. Great post!

  50. I love this, Jamie. I think we’re all quick to put a label on ourselves within a community and create this unidentifiable standard to go by — but really? what is that??! and where did all of that come from?! I like that you mentioned being a book blogger is more than just writing reviews, because its true. You have so much to offer this community, and I for one am always impressed by your creativity & passion for all things books. Keep it up girl! xoxo

  51. I am so over the whole “you need to do this or that to be a reputable blogger.” It’s tiresome. I think blogs that don’t just have review after review are the best. I like variety. I want to know the person behind the blog.

    I applaud you on this decision, Jamie. I think it’s brilliant and inspiring. <3

  52. Well said

  53. Well said, I like the thought process and you make complete sense.

    I dont like it writing the hardcore reviews with lots of detail when no one reads what i post. I know that I am a small blog and I get more comments when I write interactive posts with questions and fangirling then when they are super organized, big-worded reviews.

    I like the way you are going and cant wait to see what you come up with next.

    Ashley

  54. I’ve struggled with this also. Especially this past month. I think my blog is going to become a mix of things. And I’m okay with that. And I’m just going to keep my reviews short and sweet with my normal bullets and my new thing I’ve added is the if you like this read this at the bottom. I noticed, I’m putting off reviewing books (like I would homework) and it has made me realize, maybe I should change it up a bite too. I just haven’t made the step yet…

  55. I love this! I am working on a post about my “opinions.” I am not sure that I am a very good “reviewer.” I rarely post any reviews with less than a 3 rating. Mostly that’s because I am careful to choose books that I am pretty sure I will like. Also, if I don’t like a book I sometimes just don’t post about it. So glad you shared this, made me think about some things!

  56. I think “reviewer” means something different to everyone. For some, it’s a super critical piece that analyzes the literary merit of a certain book. For others, it’s a gif-filled sequence, showcasing the journey their emotions went on while reading. Whether you’re “reviewing” or “book talking” if it makes YOU happy on YOUR blog, then I’m all for it!

  57. Love this Jamie! I think reviewer is different for everyone. For me when I say I’m a blogger, it means all sort of labels: reviewer, promoter, enthusiast, fan, BookTuber, designer..etc. It’s always different for everyone, so I’m really glad you’ve decided to “hang your hat” and take a more laid back route. Blogging is so different for everyone, and I JUST LOVE THAT. I can understand it can cause pressure, but you know what? I like the pressure..I’m so weird I know LOLL

    Keep Reading <3

  58. Amen, amen, amen..and again I say amen! :)

  59. I was a little scared at first, but after reading your post, I LOVE what you have to say! I actually like book talks more than book reviewing (I am a TERRIBLE book reviewer), so I have to say that I agree with a big majority of what you have to say here.

  60. I am glad I found this post because it just solidified my decision. I am new to the book blogging community and I have found it very job like to want to writ reviews of books especially when I just want to talk about books. I see so many bloggers within this community write reviews daily and I wonder how they are able to do so in so little time? I wonder what they do other than write because with the lifestyle that I am living I don’t seem to have time to sleep let alone write book reviews. I was seriously questioning my blog and even thought about taking it down until I read this post. I will keep it up and work on it being a book talk than it being a book review blog.

    Keep doing what you’re doing. I like your blog and the realness that this post provided. Just awesome.

  61. Huzzzah! You do it how you want lady! That is what its all about. I mean seriously I’ve seen some of that madness around as well. Also a bit of this “reviewer etiquette” and how you should review a book. I write them the way I want to write them. Some people like to summarize, others like to do bullet lists, some like this or that or being snarky. You just gotta write about the book whatever you want to say. When it starts feeling like a job then its like your ‘fun time’ will end up being work and then it’s going to suck your soul away *slurp slurp* I’ve felt more and more lately like reading and reviewing has become a job. Hell I call it my professional hobby.

    I love to read, I like sharing my thoughts. But I’ve decided I review however I want. Sometimes I do the bullet list, sometimes I am completely silly, and others serious. I don’t feel the need to get specific and give examples all the time and put alot of deep thought into it because frankly – most “normal” readers I know in real life that aren’t book bloggers, they barely read reviews, they go off the average star rating and whether they want to read it based on the description. So the long winded reviews? I don’t read those either, so why would I want to write them???

  62. Hey! Your blog, your time, your talent, do what you want!

    If there is one thing I admire JK Rowling for, it is her track record with trying new things (and not giving up!). She didn’t just stick to fantasy, even though she is obviously good at it. She is branching out and doing what keeps here inspired and happy. xoxo

Trackbacks

  1. […] Jamie @ The Perpetual-Page Turner does not want to be labelled a “book reviewer” anymore. […]

  2. […] In Which I Hang Up My Hat As A Book Reviewer at The Perpetual Page-Turner […]

  3. […] over at The Perpetual Page-Turner has a post In Which I Hang Up My Hat As A Book Reviewer. She speaks of how people assume that a book blog is mostly made up of book reviews but how that […]

  4. […] The Perpetual Page Turner shares In Which I Hang Up My Hat As A Book Reviewer […]

  5. […] Yes, I’m actually making a post. This turn of events has been a long time coming, but when Jamie hung up her book reviewing hat, it gave me the motivation to actually go through with this. I’m being a little more drastic, […]

  6. […] blogger supposedly has to be a book reviewer but that’s not true at all. Jamie also has a great post where she talks about hanging her hat as a book […]

  7. […] from The Perpetual Page-Turner no longer considers herself a ‘book reviewer’, she’s getting back to talking […]

  8. […] I loved this post by my book club buddy Jamie. I can’t even begin to explain what a relief it was to find out […]

  9. […] read a very interesting post over at The Perpetual Page-Turner where Jamie declared that she’s not a book reviewer, she’s a book blogger. While […]

  10. […] Jamie officially hangs up her hat as a book reviewer. […]

  11. […] The Perpetual Page Turner shares In Which I Hang Up My Hat As A Book Reviewer […]

  12. […] Jamie @ The Perpetual-Page Turner does not want to be labelled a “book reviewer” anymore. […]

  13. […] The Perpetual Page Turner shares In Which I Hang Up My Hat As A Book Reviewer […]

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