Hello, my friends! It has been quite some time since I posted anything here. However, I recently finished reading a book and I found myself completely unwilling to write a review. As I started trying to figure out for myself why that was, I figured I might as well make a post about it and share my thoughts with all of you, as well as get some input from my lovely friends and readers, too.
I’ve probably discussed in the past – whether formally in a blog post or informally with other blogging friends – the burnout that can occur when you read a book knowing that you “have to” review it after you’re done. There are certain things that you pay more or less attention to depending on whether or not there will be a review to follow. For example, I pay a lot more attention to the speed of the plot, character development, and world building if I know I am going to be writing a review when I finish reading a book. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can – at least for me – take away from the enjoyment of a book. When I’m reading to review, the book ends up having a different enjoyment level than when I’m reading just to read. Reading to review takes away some of that “emotional” reaction to a book. This isn’t to say that I don’t feel emotions if I’m going to be reviewing a book, but I tend to get too technical and “in my head” about certain things and it makes me less likely to sit back and just appreciate how a book makes me feel in my gut.
It wasn’t until very recently, upon finishing Christina Henry’s The Mermaid, that I noticed this was affecting my reading negatively. It has gotten to the point where I almost hesitate to pick up a book because I feel obligated to write a review of it afterward and the very thought of that has become exhausting to me. It’s not that I don’t enjoy blogging and reviewing. Lord knows I wouldn’t still have this blog up if I didn’t. But there is a lot of time, energy, and thought that goes into writing a review and it gets tiring. Now that I’m not only working full-time but caring for a 4-month-old puppy (yes, I got an adorable puppy), I simply don’t feel like I have the energy and time to dedicate to it. After almost three years of reviewing just about every book I read, I need a break. I need to be able to read a book and enjoy it for what it is without thinking about what I’m going to say in a review and how I can word that review precisely enough to get my thoughts across.
So I’m taking a step back from reviewing. I truly think that a big part of the reason why I’ve been in such a reading slump is because of the pressure to review all the books I read. I’m hoping that by eliminating that pressure, I can get back to reading books purely for the enjoyment and not just with a focus on reviewing. Sooner or later, I’ll go back to reviewing and who knows, maybe there will be some books during my little break that inspire a review. For right now, though, I’m simply going to read.
Does the pressure to review books impact your reading? Chime in in the comments!