Let’s Talk: Can being a book reviewer ruin the overall enjoyment of reading?

reviewer-ruin

The discussion posts are back! …sort of.

Towards the end of last year, I gave the weekly discussion posts a break. Having run them for a year, I was running out of ideas, and had too many other posts that could easily take their place. And so, coming into the new year, I’ve cut my blogging schedule down. Though it might not seem like it yet, because I’m still frantically catching up with book reviews. But anyway. The new schedule is reviews on Wednesdays, and random posts Sundays – including discussions. So the discussion posts will just arrive as the ideas do!

Anyway, the first discussion post of the year is kind of one to reflect on…

Can being a book reviewer ruin the overall enjoyment of reading?

Many of us here are book reviewers. Whether we write reviews on our blogs, Goodreads, or make videos on Booktube. Whether it’s for every book we read, or just the select few to  get our thoughts out.

So I’m sure most of us have felt it. When that thought pops into your head – “You need to write the review for that book!” – and then the resounding “UGGGHHHH” that follows.

Does it ruin our enjoyment? Well…

How reviews can slowly sap the enjoyment from reading:

– It can make you think of books more critically, and almost look for problems. And as I always say, if you go looking for problems, you’re no doubt going to find them. So you’re more likely to find things you don’t like. Whether that’s a good or a bad thing…well, I suppose that depends on the person.

– Instead of simply enjoying it, you have to think about why. And sometimes, you don’t even have a reason. But you almost have to force one out, for the sake of justifying your enjoyment. WHY do we do that? Why can’t we just ramble about how much we love it, like we would with baked pastries? All we have to say with those is “ohmygod this is wonderful, TRY IT!” and the job’s done.

– Writing reviews isn’t always the most thrilling of tasks. So when you finish a book, put it aside and feel good for that small achievement, you might also be thinking “ugh…but the review” or “so what would I rate it?” before quickly pushing it aside for another day.

star

And yet writing book reviews is something we choose to do. Surely, if it ruined our enjoyment that much, we’d just… not do it?

On the flip side, writing reviews could make reading more enjoyable. Because sure, the actual writing process of reviews might be hard sometimes, but it means all your books are varied somewhat. It means you know what to look for when buying a new book, because you can point out things you’ve loved in previous reads. It means that, while you may think more critically, more in depth about the elements of each book, you’ll start seeing problematic things, and will strive to find books without them. It means that from an English Literature lesson point of view, you might start seeing just how clever/meaningful/important the book is, and will make you appreciate it even more.

I personally love having reviews for every book I read. I love seeing my shelves, knowing all the books I’ve read have their own individual rating. I love seeing how varied those ratings are too. I even like seeing the books I rated 1 star still sat on my shelves. Something about having a wide selection, each book with their own individual review, something I can look back on…something about that satisfies me to no end.

I think the problem is how we almost feel it’s our responsibility to write reviews, and to make them good (as in quality, not 5 star reviews). Once you start writing reviews, you might get stuck in that mindset where you feel as though you should write them. And if that’s for every book…well, it can be overwhelming.

But if we only write reviews when we want to, I don’t think that’d take the enjoyment out of reading. Not for me, personally. Though I do write reviews for every book I read, I make sure not to make it a pressurised thing. I write them when I feel motivated to. And if that means pushing the review back on the schedule another week, then so be it.



So now it’s your turn!

Do you think being a book reviewer can ruin the enjoyment of reading?

Have you had cases of it ruining a book for you?

Or have there been times when writing the review, it actually made you love the book more?

Join the discussion in the comment!

Until next time…

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69 thoughts on “Let’s Talk: Can being a book reviewer ruin the overall enjoyment of reading?

  1. Great post! It is really interesting how reviewing can sometimes feel like a chore and not something enjoyable at times, but I always love to read and remember a lot of the joys and sorrows of a book through looking at some of my older reviews. I really hope to remember that my future joy is worth the work of writing my thoughts in the present.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I feel that too! It’s also handy for when you need to remind yourself of what you thought of a certain book – say if you were continuing a series and just needed a reminder of the previous book. It helpful to look at your own reviews rather than have to reread the entire thing!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoy reading and read because I like it but I do struggle with reviewing, it’s not that I don’t like doing it, more that I don’t think I’m good at it and I try to put out the best review that I can, which takes time but at the end of the day, book bloggers have to write book reviews, it’s part of having a book blog. I don’t think being a book reviewer ruins the overall enjoyment of reading though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah it can be hard to make reviews good, especially when you know they’re not the most popular posts. It’s hard to entertain readers in a review! I don’t think book bloggers HAVE to write reviews, though most do. My blog is mainly for reviews though. I don’t think it ruins reading either! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t feel as though being a book reviewer lessens my reading experience, although I do feel bad when I don’t pop out a review on a book that I’ve read. I completely agree with you point that once we’ve done it, we feel like we need to continue – and that’s a lot of pressure! I always feel a little guilty when I go onto goodreads and look at a four stars and no reviews.

    On the other hand, I enjoy thinking about the book a little more because I go through them rather quickly sometimes. Thinking critically about it can up the enjoyment!

    Fleur @ FranklyBooks just posted 5 REASONS WHY I HATE GOODREADS

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, it’s especially good for those quick reads! Sometimes you get through a book way too quickly, but instead of casting it aside and moving on, writing a review means you have to come back to it and actually think through it some more 🙂 I agree with you on that!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I suppose being a reviewer could ruin the enjoyment of reading, but it never has for me (yet). I imagine that if it started to, I would need to start asking my self why. Stressing myself to write reviews I’m not interested in writing? I would just not write it then. This is a hobby, not my job, and it doesn’t actually matter whether I review a specific book or not. I think people who are continuously stressed about having content for their book blog might consider a co-blogger. Because, yes, it can be hard to read fast enough to keep churning out content. Even if you’re not just writing reviews, you still need to read widely and often to tackle general discussion topics like “romance in YA” or whatever.

    I don’t think that just thinking about the book ruins it, though. Thinking about it should be a good thing! Sure, you might realize flaws you overlooked in the heat of the moment of reading, but that’s something I always note: that something stood out to me on reflection, but I didn’t notice while reading, so it didn’t kill my enjoyment of the book at all. And sometimes, after more reflection, you realize good things you had previously overlooked!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree! I’d be the same – if I started to hate doing it, I’d ask myself why and just stop. While I’d feel bad for missing a day’s post or something, in the long run it’d probably be for the best, and get me feeling motivated again.
      And that’s the reason why I actually like thinking back. Especially once you’ve read the entire story, there might have been things towards the beginning that you overlooked, and now notice them with the ending in place 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I think that reviewing is like everything else, if you pressure yourself too much, you won’t have fun doing it and then what’s the point? As long as you review the books you really want to review I truly don’t think it can ruin a book. I personally don’t review every book I read, simply because, for some of them, I don’t want to get to the bottom of why I like them, I just do. I have never come to dislike a book by writing a review but I have definitely come to enjoy a book more by thinking about it for a review (Although I can’t name one right now). During this thought process I found things I hadn’t noticed while reading it and most of the time I understand the characters better.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m the same! It’s definitely down to pressure. I noticed that the people who absolutely hate writing reviews are often the ones who say they HAVE to write them, which can be odd considering this is a hobby.
      I’ve rated books lower than originally planned when it comes to writing the review, though that’s never BECAUSE of the review. It’s usually just because, by the time I come to write it, I’ll have thought it through some more. I’ve never hated a book simply because of it’s review!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. First of all, welcome back and I must say I love your discussions! Writing them is also my favorite part of blogging but like you said, if we do it too often we could run out of ideas quickly 🙈 I agree that being a reviewer definitely makes me read more critically. Even when I’m reading, I’m constantly thinking of how I’m going to rate and review the book, taking pictures of some pages for quotes to prove my points and all that. But also like you, I love doing it. I love writing reviews for ALL the books I read and I actually don’t mind doing it. I mean, I’m already thinking about it, I might as well write it down.

    The problem is whether to post it on the blog or not. Sometimes there are books which reviews are long, and some that I just don’t have much to say about. That’s when reviewing starts to feel like a chore hahaha for me if it’s not an ARC/review copy, I won’t force myself to write a comprehensive review. Also yes, writing down my thoughs could make me love the book more and less!! Great discussion as usual! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi! Thank you, I’m glad you like my discussions 😀
      Oh I definitely get those moments too where I wonder if certain reviews are even worth uploading. I feel like my reviews are quite long, so if there’s one for like a graphic novel or something, that’s literally about 2 paragraphs, the debate always begins in my head whether it should see my blog or just be on Goodreads. It can be so hard to decide sometimes!

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  7. I think if reviewing stopped me enjoying reading I’d stop reviewing because reading is more important to me. You’re right, writing reviews is not easy, well, writing GOOD reviews is not easy. I rarely feel completely happy with mine but then I think it’s human nature to be more critical of yourself than of others. I think writing a review is a bit like writing a book…it’s hard work, choosing the right words, trying to convey your feelings but us and not giving too much away. Interesting discussion post…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!
      I’d be the same, reading is definitely more important. Reviewing is hard, because there’s so many things to consider, and just the wording alone – how many different ways can you say you enjoyed it? It’s a tricky one

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  8. I feel like the key is not forcing yourself to review a book if you really don’t want to. Sometimes I just don’t have a lot to say or don’t feel like I’m adding anything new to the overall discussion, and that’s totally fine. It’s no fun when reviews start to feel like homework! Great post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Amazing post! Being a book reviewer does sap the fun out of reading books. You’re constantly reading, but you aren’t actually reading as much as you are reviewing it and searching for things to write about.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Since I have started reviewing books, my average rating on Goodreads has gone down. There are less books I rate five stars, and less books that I absolutely love. I like this better, however. Now I know what my true favorite books are, not just some book that I gave five stars in the moment. Also, I feel like writing about books has made me want to read even more. I haven’t gotten into one reading slump since I started reviewing eight months ago!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Since I have started blogging, I like having a review of all the books I have read, as I not only feel I remember the book more (as I’ve had time to think about it), but in my own brain thinks that I can’t talk about a book on the blog unless I’ve read and reviewed it. My brain thinks that reviews make me a book blogger, even though the reviews are usually the least-read/liked posts on a blog…

    That said, if I don’t start writing a review a week after I have read it (which is how I feel at the moment as I am also behind on book reviews), then I forget how much I enjoyed it. That’s when the lethargy kicks in and I really hate the fact I have to write a review. That and I am the worst at explaining WHY I like something D:

    This is a really interesting discussion you’ve made though, thanks!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you!
      It’s definitely much harder to get yourself to write a review if it’s a week or so after. Like you said, by then you don’t have that feeling of why you enjoyed it, so you just have to write from whatever notes you made or think back too hard.

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  12. I don’t find reviews take the enjoyment out of reading but when I finish a book which was kind of just okay I do get that urgh feeling because I don’t really know what to say. But if its a book I absolutely loved then I really enjoy writing a review. This is a great discussion post, its interesting to see what other people think

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you 🙂
      Yeah, it’s a lot harder when the book is just “meh”. Sometimes there’s books that are just okayy, and there’s not much to be said about them, but you also feel like you need to explain that somehow, and it’s tricky.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. This is such an interesting topic and one that I have a lot of mixed feelings about, haha. Generally speaking, I really like the fact that I write reviews and that doing so makes me think more critically about books. Before I was a blogger/reviewer, I very rarely noticed or paid attention to problems in books. I was vaguely aware they were there, but I didn’t care. Since I’ve started reviewing all the books I read, it makes me a lot more conscious of potential problems (both with the actual writing and with things like representation issues) and I really like that I’m aware of these things that I used to ignore. But at the same time, I definitely notice myself sometimes too preoccupied with thinking about what I should include in my review or what I would rate the book I’m reading and less invested in actually reading and enjoying the book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a thin line! Once you get into it, the thoughts of what you’re going to rate it/what you want to point out sort of settle in the back of your mind, and so will be there for every book. It’s not really something to switch off. But like you, I really like how I’ve become aware of more things and think more critically!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Sometimes I do find that I feel a certain pressure when it comes to reviewing books. I like to write reviews because I can share my thoughts and see if other people agree, or what they thought if we don’t agree which is great if the book was fantastic. I feel pressure to be kind even if I didn’t really like a book because someone worked so hard on it. It is even worse with books sent specifically for review; I was sent one last year and I just didn’t get on with it but I finished it and I reviewed it but when I published the review, the author wasn’t really pleased that I didn’t love the book and for a while it really put me off writing them. Reviewing is a strange process if you really stop and think about it but I like doing it, I just also like reading a book just for the sake of reading it. I will admit that blogging and reviewing has changed me as a reader though, I pick up on problems and faults way more than I used to.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh the pressure definitely piles on when the book is actually sent specifically for a review! I had a similar moment, where I really didn’t like a book sent to me, but instead I marked it as DNF with a few reasons why – purely because I didn’t want to finish the entire thing, feel even worse about it, and write a really bad review. I’d have felt terrible! Better for me to stop before it goes into full on hate and just accept that books aren’t for everyone!

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  15. This is a really great discussion!

    I actually really enjoy talking about books and critiquing books (for whatever reason, I do it a lot), so I don’t find writing reviews affects my enjoyment of the books. I generally just don’t think of my review while reading though, since I feel like I can’t form a proper opinion until I’ve actually finished the whole story.

    The only time I do find it affects my reading is when it comes to review copies, especially if they’re not something I’m really enjoying. I find myself trying to find good points, and it’s a struggle just to get through it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. To be honest, a lot of the time I don’t tend to think about the review while actually reading either. Though most of the time it’s just out of forgetting aha 😆
      The pressure definitely goes up a notch when the book is specifically a review copy!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I don’t think reviews ruin the reading experience for me. BUT! Sometimes the obligation to write a review ruins to reading experience for me. If I don’t feel like reading a certain book or a certain genre, but I have a deadline to meet, that affects the way I receive the book and my motivation to write a review.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Reviewing books does not feel like a burden to me at all. I still pick up and read books I’m eager to peek inside the covers of. I scribble down my initial gut reactions when I’m completed; and then around a week later I transcribe that scribble into a review, casting a critical eye on my reactions and the novel – mainly for two things. What it was that had me engrossed (or not) and things that could have been done to improve my reading experience. I do this because it gives me tools to help in my own writing. It adds another level for my appreciation of the novel and helps further my writing career. Reading has always been a joy. I only buy books I’m genuinely eager to read – I don’t accept review copies. Keep your reading habits fun and adventurous. I switch up genres and diversity in my choices to avoid reading slumps and always look for the humorous side of things… life is a short ride so make it a positive and thrilling one. Happy reading! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sounds a lot like how I do things – though I do accept review copies (but only if I’m genuinely interested, of course) and I don’t do any writing of my own, so I only review from a reader’s point of view. But other than that, we do everything the same! Initial thoughts jotted down, then coming back later to write it more thoroughly 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  18. I often feel that my feelings change for a book (either for the better or for worse) while writing my review because often I don’t sort through all of my feelings about a book until I sit down to write the review. So for me, reviewing enhances the reading experience. While I love reviewing books, it can be very time consuming and intimidating. I wish I could write a review for EVERY book I read, but since I haven’t mastered the art of the “mini-review” yet, I need to pick and choose which books I review.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. For me, I don’t think I’ve ever had reviewing ruin a book or reading for me but rather reviewing burning me out blogging wise. The first blog I had didn’t last because of the pressure I put on myself to review every book I read so when I started this blog I made a promise to myself that if I didn’t feel like reviewing a book I wouldn’t. Review books excluded because I make sure to review all of those. That’s been the key to it not burning me out on blogging or ruining my enjoyment for reading, I think. If I enjoyed a book but don’t have enough thoughts for a review or the time to write one then I don’t for that book. I have had moments where while writing a review I noticed my opinion of it shift. Although, most of the time while discussing the book with other bloggers afterward is where I realize things I might not have liked as much as I thought. Also, I completely get what you mean on feeling like you have to make your review good quality wise. That’s where I get stuck most of the time because I feel this need to be all eloquent like I’m writing an essay for school when I’m not lol. Anyway! This is a really interesting thing to think about. I do love reviewing and how it has made me more critical of what I read and I’m with you on not putting too much pressure on yourself when it comes to writing reviews. Great discussion! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!
      That’s a really interesting spin on it! Thinking on it, the pressure to write reviews does usually affect blogging more than reading. Most people get it if they push themselves too much. It’s so important to know that it’s okayy to miss a review if you just don’t want to do it!

      Liked by 1 person

  20. I enjoy reviewing! I’ve just started a more in depth review format, and it makes me think so much more about what I’m reading. I usually find at least one thing that I don’t like, but sometimes it’s small and doesn’t matter so much. I haven’t found a book that doesn’t have something I like in it, even if it is small. I think it’s going to help me remember how books made me feel too. So often, I find myself saying, “oh I loved that book!” But I can’t remember why. I also miss the critiquing part of college! As someone who would be a lifelong student if I had endless funds, I truly loved that part, especially critiquing good books, short stories, or articles. Reviewing kind of makes me feel like a student again, picking apart the pieces of what I read and peeling back the layers to find more depth. I really love it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh I get that feeling too! I used to love my literature lessons and really miss them for that same reason, so I suppose reviews get that sense of analysis involved. Luckily, I’ll be heading back onto a literature course towards the end of the year, and I can’t wait. But I’m like you, when it comes to saying “I loved this book!” a lot of the time it might take me a while to pinpoint why. Reviews help with that, and having a reason actually gives me something more to say if I want to recommend it to someone 😆

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Great question and I’m sure it differs for everyone. I’m on the flip side. I absolutely love writing reviews because it helps me to really think about and dissect the book. I’m not extremely critical with negative points, I love to focus on the positive. Writing reviews is just something I find immensely enjoyable and I don’t feel pressured in any way.
    Rebecca @ The Portsmouth Review
    Follow me on Bloglovin’

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  22. I used to review each book I read, but now I don’t anymore. I do like writing reviews, but there are times I just don’t feel up for it, and I don’t like feeling like I HAVE to. It’s so amazing you find so much enjoyment in the task! I like seeing mine too, but obvs, the actual writing them isn’t fun all the time, specially for the meh books that you just don’t know what to say about.

    I actually wrote a post about reviewing each book we read a while ago. I talk about exactly why I stopped doing it. It just immediately popped into my mind as I read your post because it’s something a lot of us struggle with! I don’t remember if WordPress accepts HTML so here’s the link: http://www.reveriesociety.com/stopped-reviewing-book-read/

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I can definitely see how writing reviews packs some serious potential for ruining a reading experience at times. I think we can all be guilty of allowing a hobby and what we love to turn into a chore if we are not careful. There can be a very fine line sometimes between what we want to do and what we feel we must do. We can easily begin to feel we have obligated ourselves. So it takes a careful balance and the ability to be comfortable with stepping away from time to time when needed.

    I personally have found that the actual process of writing reviews has enhanced my experience as a reader, overall. You have made so many valid points. I find myself branching out more when choosing titles. I also feel that the dissecting process that occurs now when I read has helped me gain so much more from some books that I may have missed. But I can see how the need to “just read” happens as well. I am fairly new to blogging still. I think 6 months. So maybe my thoughts on this will change. But for now I feel that my reading life has tremendously improved. Add the community i now know and share thoughts with and it is a win!

    Love this discussion 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  24. This is so true. Sometimes when I read a book I just LIKE IT & don’t know exactly why. But that’s why I now started a journal BUT THEN I start looking for things to write down. It’s a vicious cycle. I don’t review EVERY book (like I don’t review ASOIAF and other classics) but I review all of the YA and other fiction books I read. So yeah, it can start feeling like a chore to force out an actual opinion instead of “I liked it” or “I hated it” haha

    Yet, I like reviews. They help other people choose books to read & I like reading them because they help me as well.

    Molly @ Molly’s Book Nook

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    1. It really can be a vicious cycle! Though it’s true that reviews help people. I mean, I write them because I like getting my thoughts out, but it always feels good when you help someone decide to read a book from your review 😀

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  25. Great discussion topic! Sometimes I feel pressure to review the books I read, but only the ARC/NetGalley books. I don’t know why, I guess because I know I’m on a time limit in a way and it’s something that needs to be done. I have had many good experiences come from writing reviews, as well as negative experiences. Like you mentioned, picking out and looking for problems in a book, but also finding that I really enjoyed a book! So it can really go either way with me. I do enjoy writing reviews, I absolutely love it! And try to review every book I read. But sometimes, on a bad day, it does seem like a bit of a chore. And when that day comes, I just sit back, take a breath, and remind myself that this is a hobby. This isn’t something I have to do. This is something I want to do! And it’s fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  26. I don’t think book reviews take the enjoyment out of reading but sometimes I feel slightly annoyed because I know I won’t write the best review for that book. However, when writing a Goodreads review on a middle grade book, there is a lot less pressure because 1. They’re usually shorter and 2. I usually don’t need to be as critical.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oooh that’s interesting you feel differently with middle grade! I’m kind of the same but with graphic novels and really short books. I always think people can’t really expect you to say much, so there’s no need to!

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