I’ve been posting book reviews here on a (mostly) weekly basis for around 15 months. Initially, I loved it. It was fun to have somewhere to recommend books that I fell in love with and I relished the process of digging into plots and characters and themes to figure out exactly what about the story made me tick. But over the past few months my love for writing reviews has dwindled and died.
I think the problem is that it began to feel too much like ‘work’. Over the past year I’ve been trying to post content here as regularly as possible, not only for the sake of building my audience but also for the sake of creating structure in my writing life (and my ‘normal’ life). I read enough books that I can easily average out one review per week, and I mentally committed myself to following through with this goal.
The trouble is, sometimes I don’t always feel like reviewing the books I read, regardless of whether I enjoy them or not. Sometimes I want to lose myself in a story and leave it at that, without any analysis or frustrated attempts to put into words how the book made me feel. But because I’d committed myself to the weekly reviews, I felt like I always had to write a review every time I read a book. All of a sudden, reviewing became a chore.
I don’t ever want to feel like posting on my own blog is a chore. Sure, sometimes it takes more effort than usual to psych myself up to writing or editing or publishing a story, but overall I love writing and I always feel satisfied when I’ve put another little piece of fiction out into the world. With the book reviews, it’s not so much satisfaction as it is, “Thank fuck that’s over and done with.” And that’s a pretty negative place to be.
In the past I’ve had people comment on my reviews and tell me they’re going to read a book based on my recommendation, and I love that. I love the idea that I might help to connect someone with a new beloved book. And I love having a natter with people about what they thought of such-and-such a book or what others books by such-and-such an author they recommend for me. But it’s still not enough, at the moment at least, to make writing reviews truly ‘fun’. I’m just not feeling it. And I don’t want my dislike of reviewing to affect my love of reading.
So for now, I’m taking a complete break from book reviews. Maybe I’ll start them again in future after some respite, or maybe I’ll go back to my old format of a monthly reading round-up. Maybe I’ll just write reviews of books that inspire me to review them. Maybe I’ll start a weekly non-fiction blog where I write about writing and about life and about the best things I’ve read recently. Who in the hell knows? I don’t!
I’ll still be reviewing the odd book on GoodReads, particularly books written by indie authors which need all the help they can get when it comes to getting the recognition and exposure they deserve. I always update GoodReads with whatever I’m currently reading, indie-published or otherwise, and when I finish a book I always give it a star rating. If you’re interested in my reading habits, feel free to follow me over there instead.
There we have it. Bye-bye book reviews and hello reading for pure escape… bliss!