I’ve asked myself the questions of “Why do I review?” often enough in the past. It’s not that I’ve questioned whether or not I should do it or not do it, though. My answer(s) has always been more of a reminder about why I do it and what it does for me.
There are many benefits to reviewing. Some benefits are for readers and others are for the authors of the books, while still others are for reviewers (obviously).
This morning, I was listening to the newest episode of the Books on the Nightstand podcast. This is a podcast I listen to often. and I recommend my fellow book lovers to check it out. I’ve found many great recommendations through the podcast. In this episode, through a few tangents, a question of “why do we discuss books on the podcast and why do reviewers review books on Goodreads, etc. ” (I paraphrased it, but that’s the basic idea that I took away from the talk.)
So I thought: Why DO I review? Why DO I talk about books I enjoyed (or maybe didn’t)? The podcast hosts mentioned that some could view it as a way to get approval from others, a way to validate their opinion of a book. I came to the conclusion that at the bottom of it, I review and discuss books simple for myself.
I enjoy reading, and I found that I benefit greatly from reviewing those books I read. How? Well, I’m not one to remember everything from a book and I was also never one to be good at discussing a book in high school and college courses, but I still have opinions. Ever since my first few reviews, I noticed that I retained more of the book and could also go back to my review to refresh my memory if it happened to come up in future conversation. I also found that (with much practice, and through many rambling early reviews) I developed my “critical” analysis skills that I’ve been lacking in the past. I still won’t be picking out symbolism or other questionable details from a book, like they do in high school. But I can now feel confident that I can form an educated opinion about what I read and possibly enlighten others, as well as be enlightened by other readers. So that’s my benefits from reviewing, and that’s how it all really started and why I stayed with it.
But, at the same time, I also get enjoyment from being part of the community of readers who help others find new books to read. And I’ve developed great relationships with many authors as well, through reviewing (even if it wasn’t their book). Yes, there are some negatives to being a reviewer (as there is with any part of the book world, or any business really). But there is more on the positive side of things, for me, that keeps me enjoying what I do.
I may be closed to accepting requests for reviews right now (at least until 2015), but as you’ve seen, this hasn’t stopped me from actually reviewing. Why should it? It’s not like I’ll stop reading for any entire year 😉 I’m still reading and reviewing a good many books that I finish. I actually think I’m enjoying it more again, since I’m doing it more for my benefit (see personal benefits above) than to try getting through a book quick enough to help an author promote a new release, or something similar. Nothing against that side of things, since I’m a huge supporter of authors, but getting back full freedom to pick up a random book off my piles and enjoy it without any other reason than to simply read it…then promoting it after typing up the review simply because there’s no reason not to promote it after it’s read…that’s doing wonders for my overall moral.
So, in a rambling, tangent-filled nutshell…this is why I review…or at least some of the reasoning behind it. Why do you review? If you don’t review, why don’t you? Will you consider it? Are there other ways you tell your friends about the books you’d like to suggest to them? So many questions to ask you all, and I’d love some answers. Leave them in the comments if you wish, and be sure to check out Books on the Nightstand! 🙂