Why I’m Taking a Step Back from Reviewing

step back from reviewing blog header

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!

 

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18 thoughts on “Why I’m Taking a Step Back from Reviewing

  1. I can relate to this post so much. I definitely think reading with a review in mind is different from simply reading with just the intent to enjoy the experience. It’s funny to say I personally have burnt out, considering I’ve only reviewed a few books this year! But they do just take so much out of you. I also wish I review a book as soon as I finish it, but all to often I just want to sit on it. Even start a new book in the process. Then it just gets complicated.

    I think very few blogs stick primarily to book reviews, and there are ways to have fun on the blog and still talk books. I’m excited to see how you navigate it, I’m sure you’ll be able to blog now with a big weight lifted off your shoulders ^_^

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who feels this way, haha. I just get so frustrated, feeling like I have to remember every detail of the book in order to review it. And don’t even get me started on the length of time between me finishing the book and reviewing it, haha. That has such a big impact on my review too, because often the way I feel about a book right after I finish it compared to a week later is vastly different.

      There are definitely plenty of different things that I’ll still be able to do on the blog and I’m really looking forward to it! I’m also very excited to get back to just reading for the fun of it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. There is definitely pressure with reviewing. Most of the time, it doesn’t affect my reading, but once in awhile, I just dread finishing a book and knowing I need to review it. Luckily it doesn’t happen often to me though. When it does, I just write a super small review. When I really love a book, I actually get excited to review it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I can relate completely. I go through spurts with Netgalley. I find that when I read books I own, I am more relaxed, but with Netgalley or another company that asks for reviews, I feel more pressure. I hope this break gives you what you need!

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  4. I think that’s actually one of the reasons I don’t write reviews in general. I want to just enjoy what I’m reading, and not worry about what points I’ll want to bring up later. Also, I find it tough to review books without giving any spoilers, since it’s hard for me to review without commenting on specifics. I also worry that my reviews will get very repetitive, especially the positive ones. There are only so many ways to say “I loved it!” without it all being the same.

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  5. GREAT post, Kourtni! I’m sorry that reviews have started to have a negative effect on your reading experience. I don’t write reviews for all the books I read; I probably only write a review for 1 in 4 books I read. That said, I also rarely write reviews for my 5 star loves! Why? It’s too hard! I don’t know how my own words can give appropriate homage to the majesty I just read.

    I’ll be sad to see fewer reviews on your blog, only because reading books reviews if my favorite part of blog hopping. But I’m glad you’re doing what is best for you! I look forward to seeing what you post instead. Good luck!

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  6. Oh gosh I know what you mean! I’ve read a few books recently where I have enjoyed them, but at the same time I have no specific thoughts about them (and none worthy of being mentioned in a review)? That, combined with a review backlog, definitely leaves me feeling a bit burned out. I’m happy to review a few occasionally, but until I get back up to speed and get my mojo back I’m sticking to posting small reviews on Goodreads, and leaving blog ones untiil I’m ready. It is comforting to hear that you’re in a similar situation! At the end of the day it’s your blog and your space, so you are free to make it how you like to keep you interested in your own content. Plus you get to read just for fun, which is what reading is for!

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