Monday Musings | Review Slumps

One More Page Weekend Blogging

Well friends, I think I’ve seen it all now. I’ve been through reading slumps, blogging slumps, and now, more specifically, a reviewing slump. It’s not even that I’ve been reading sub-par books; it’s been quite the opposite, in fact. I finished Vanessa and Her Sister, The Gallery of Lost Species, and the touching It Was Me All Along last month and while I enjoyed them all in different ways, I feel like I don’t have the words to review them properly.

Have you ever felt this way? My reviewing process has always been an up and down thing, and I think my biggest weakness when reviewing is that I try to do too many things at once. I simultaneously want to inject my own personal connection to the story while exploring its themes, message, and symbolism. I want to sound like a blogger but also like a “professional reviewer” at the same time. I want to be both personal and formal. These opposing approaches are often what makes me stall the most. So, moving forward, I feel like I need to make up my mind about how I continue to review books. I want my reviews to be engaging, thoughtful, and informative. Once I can figure out a way to accomplish that, I’m sure I’ll be out of my slump in no time.

Have you ever been in a reviewing slump? How did you decide on the format of your reviews? Do you enjoy writing reviews?

25 thoughts on “Monday Musings | Review Slumps

  1. Arielle Joy says:

    I’ve gotten into a bad habit of procrastinating the writing of my reviews lately. I completely agree with you on wanting to do a book justice by writing a great review, wanting it to be personal so that your readers can relate and at the same time wanting it to be formal so that it sounds like a professional review. When I first started writing reviews they sounded like a re-written version of the back book description with a speck of a personal touch . Over time I’ve come into a style that I think works for me. In my reviews I’ll mention a bit about the characters or the storyline but I talk more about the major themes of the novel and the important lessons I got from it. I’ve started to feel like if people want to know what the book is about they strictly read the book description. I believe that people read reviews in order to determine if they want to invest their time in reading that particular novel or if it’s worth the money to purchase it. I also never want to give away too much of the book and spoil it for the reader.

    • Karen @ One More Page... says:

      You’ve really hit the nail on the head – I never want to give too much information in my reviews, but I also want it to be compelling enough so that readers can decide whether the book is for them or not. I am really terrible with procrastination; I think it has definitely made this review slump a lot worse than it should be! (Thanks for commenting!)

  2. Milliebot says:

    From time to time I realize that I just can’t write a review about a book, for whatever reason. It’s got nothing to do with the material, just that I can’t seem to put together coherent thoughts. I just have to let go and realize that I can’t always come up with a post for each book.

    • Karen @ One More Page... says:

      I totally get that too, and I’m wondering if that’s why I’m in my slump. After struggling to write a few reviews, I may have to deem it a lost cause and not review it (though I hate doing that). It’s a tough place to be in!

  3. Angélique says:

    It does happen to me that I find a book hard to review and so I just procrastinate. There must be a reviewer-block just like there is a writer-block 🙂
    I try to write down my ideas and organize them before I write the review itself. It helps me to get started.

  4. Cynthia says:

    That happens to me as well. Honestly though, sometimes it is the book and not so much me. There have been a couple of books that I have read this year, but haven’t reviewed. The main reason is I just don’t have as much to say about it as others. I would advise that you don’t necessarily have to review every book you read. Also sometimes I just need a day or two after reading the book before I write my review to get my thoughts together.

    • Karen @ One More Page... says:

      You have some great advice here. I struggle with not reviewing certain books because I received them from a publisher with an inherent agreement that I will review it. I know that they’re technically “for consideration,” but if I requested a book, I do try to review it to the best of my abilities. It’s tough! I have had to let go of some reviews because I just didn’t have enough to say, though.

  5. Naomi says:

    I do enjoy writing reviews. Writing down my thoughts and favourite quotes from a book is why I started my blog in the first place. Sometimes, though, it’s hard to make all my thoughts flow the way I want them to. But, if it’s a good book that I think other people would like to hear about and read, then I tell myself it’s better to write anything at all than nothing. It doesn’t have to be a lot. That usually gets me going.

    • Karen @ One More Page... says:

      That’s a great attitude to have, Naomi! I definitely find it easier to write about books that move me. You’re right though – perhaps I should focus on the points that other readers would enjoy and use that as a starting point. Thanks for your insight!

  6. Carole Besharah says:

    I’ve been in a review slump too, since the Xmas break. Part of it is my huge pile of homework.

    If I wait to long to write a review after I have read a book, it becomes more difficult to write. I also do not review every single book I read. Reading for pleasure without always taking notes or sticking Post-Its is a must for me.

    • Karen @ One More Page... says:

      Aw, that’s too bad about the homework load! I really admire bloggers who are still in school because it must be such a commitment on top of your already busy schedule! You’re right that reading for pleasure is important, though I do also feel obligated to review books that I received from publishers. Hopefully this slump will end soon!

      • Carole Besharah says:

        Only 3 weeks of college left. Then a work term. Then… Graduation! Which means more time to read. Yay!

        Yep… People who receive ARCs should always review those books. I am glad to see you take that privilege seriously. I do to. That’s why I only request a few ARCs at a time. When I have posted a new review (ARC or giveaway), I will reward myself by requesting a new title. It saddens me to see people win or request lots of books and NOT follow through on reviews.

        Good luck when faced with slumps!

  7. My Book Strings says:

    There are books that I find difficult to write about. It’s usually when I liked some parts about a book, but not others. And sometimes, I have a hard time being brief…. Overall, I don’t think that every review has to follow the same format or focus on the same thing. If the symbolism in one book really gets you going, focus on that. But if you like the “lessons learned” better in the next book, write about that. In the end, the most important part is that you don’t feel like writing the review is a chore.

  8. The Paperback Princess says:

    I think you have hit the nail on the head, friend. Once you find out which way you want to go, I think you will find that it’s a lot easier again. I had the same thing and I’m still always jealous when people write reviews that explore greater themes and relate them to the state of the world. But I’m definitely not one of those bloggers.

    • Karen @ One More Page... says:

      Right? I think sometimes comparing myself to other wonderful bloggers is what holds me back. There are so many reviewers that I admire, but ultimately, I should write in a way that feels like me instead of being too many things at once.

  9. joyousreads says:

    I feel the same way. But since I read mostly YA books, I can’t help but write exactly how I feel. So more often, I sound like a fangirling shrew. I try to write a more professional review, but it’s tough because it’s not me, you know?

    • Karen @ One More Page... says:

      Totally! And if you want to fangirl, you totally should! (I have definitely done my fair share ;)) It’s hard because blogging is such a personal thing that it can seem strange when juxtaposed with a professional review. It’s best to stick to what feels right for you, whether that means a more formal approach or one that expresses your feelings and emotions. 🙂

  10. Lit Lovers Lane says:

    I know exactly what you mean, having been there also. I think for me it depends on the book and my mood. Sometimes the reviews sound professional and serious, and sometimes, more personal and carefree. And I don’t have a problem with the differences in voice. it keeps it fresh for me.

    I think I generally suffer from procrastination, no matter what. Partly, because it is not my fave part of the process…crazy, huh? But also, because more often than not, I need a few days to let the ideas germinate and take root. Then, I write.

    • Karen @ One More Page... says:

      Reading these comments has made me feel more comfortable about the changing voice – it’s true that some books make me want to write in a more formal tone than others! I’m a procrastinator as well, and I know that that is partly to blame for this slump. Thanks for your comment!

  11. Alice says:

    Definitely, sometimes books are so good I’ve nothing to say on that. Sometimes I just have no desire to write. I’ve been wondering if that’s a mood thing, I’m not sure. I find the less time I have the more I want to write.

  12. tanya (52 books or bust) says:

    If i don’t write the review immediately when I finish a book, I’m in trouble. And that is the situation I’m in right now. 2 reviews need to be written and they just aren’t getting done. My solution, that I only sometimes adhere to, is that I can’t start a new book until I’ve written a review for the book I’ve just finished.

    • Karen @ One More Page... says:

      Oooh, that’s a great solution though I’m not sure I’ll ever have the willpower to implement it. I’m starting to think I need to start writing my review immediately after I finish the book too… it’s too risky to just let it go these days!

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