A few months ago, I read a post on BookerTalk about how some people think book bloggers shouldn’t write reviews. I was surprised by this idea, since writing and reading book reviews is why I got into blogging in the first place.
Just to be clear, BookerTalk wasn’t suggesting this, just exploring the idea raised by another blogger who finds book reviews “boring”.
Recently I saw another post on this topic from The Relentless Reader, and I find I keep coming back to the idea. Do I post too many reviews? Certainly I try to mix things up with the occasional Top Ten List or monthly wrap-up. But I love to write about books.
It’s true that when I’m scanning through the blogs I follow, if I’m not interested in a book I’m not going to read that review. I suppose I’m more likely to read a post written about books in general or a top ten list than a review of a book I know nothing about.
I’ve enjoyed the Book Blog Discussion challenge because it’s prompted me to write (and think) more about blogging, and I feel like I’ve gotten a good reaction from those posts. But personally, I read book blogs for the reviews, and I generally don’t follow book blogs that post mostly non-reviews like surveys and lists. I want to read blogs that take books as seriously as I do. That’s my choice as a reader.
So while no one should tell people how they should blog, there’s clearly something to the idea that maybe it’s not good to just post reviews. I’d like to write more about book issues in the news, like the recent controversy over the Hugo awards. But I think a well-written, thoughtful review is a good thing. I enjoy writing reviews, and I enjoy reading them. I hear about books I want to read all the time, but it’s a detailed review from a blogger I respect that actually gets me to pick up a book.
They tell you as a blogger to stay true to your blog’s identity. Of course identity can be an often-changing thing. My blog doesn’t need to be the same as it was five years ago, but it needs to be true to who I am, and hopefully it’s still relevant to the people who read it.
One of my challenges as a blogger is that I want my blog to reflect who I am personally. Even though you won’t hear much about my personal life on my blog, I do try to infuse who I am into my reviews. I think a good review tells you why I felt the way I did about a certain book, and usually that comes from my own personal experiences. A professional reviewer won’t write that way, but as a non-professional reviewer, I think it’s important.
What do you think? What is your review to non-review ratio? What do you prefer to read?
This post is part of the Book Blog Discussion Challenge hosted by Feed Your Fiction Addiction.