Discussion Post: Why I’m So Slow to Write Book Reviews

Hey, look at me! I finally got up the nerve to write another discussion post.  I don’t know why I find these so intimidating, but since I made it a blogging goal to write more of them, here I go trying to achieve my goal.  Since I’m way behind in the reviews I need to write at the moment, I figured a relevant discussion topic for me right now would be why the heck it takes me so long to write a book review, haha!

Sometimes I think I must be the slowest reviewer on the planet.  No matter how much I love or hate a book, I just cannot sit down right after I finish reading and churn out a review.  Those who know me well would probably say it’s because I’m a master procrastinator and, yes, I confess that’s probably part of it, but there’s more to it than that. There is a method to my madness!

I don’t know about other book bloggers, but often, my first impression after finishing a book doesn’t hold up if I take a few days to reflect on it.  Sometimes my opinion sinks a bit and I feel myself starting to nitpick details that maybe didn’t initially bother me but the more I thought about them, they more they did.  Other times, I actually think more highly of a book after thinking more about the story, its characters, structure, etc. and realizing how truly well crafted a book is.  Maybe I just like to over-think books, I don’t know, but doing it this way does work for me in that I feel like my reviews end up more accurately reflecting my true feelings about what I’ve read than if I had immediately written them.  But  man does it wreak havoc on my schedule!  I seem to always be juggling 2 or 3 books that I’ve finished reading but don’t feel ready to write about yet, along with whatever books  I’m currently reading.  In that sense, I’m very envious of those who are able to immediately sit down and make that review happen.

To keep the juggling act manageable so that I don’t get stressed out, I always take notes while I’m reading and I do jot down my initial reactions as soon as I finish.  This helps me to not forget any of the book’s pertinent details (like all of the characters’ names, which I’m very prone to forget if I don’t take those notes!) and it also gives me a good starting point for my review once I’m finally ready to write the review.  Sometimes I only need to reflect on a book for a day or two before I’m ready to finalize my thoughts, while others I can easily sit on for a week or more.  Labyrinth Lost, for example, is one that I’ve been sitting one for over a week now. I really loved the read, but I’m still trying to decide what I really want to say about, what made it so meaningful for me.  I think I’m  finally ready to write that one, but since I was stuck on it, I pushed it aside and wrote  several other reviews in the meantime where my thoughts were more solidified.  As I’m gathering my thoughts for the reviews, in many ways, I feel like I’m composing the review in my head so once I’m finally ready to sit down and write, thankfully the review comes together pretty quickly.  With that being said, here are some books I’ve recently finished reading and have been reflecting on that I’ll (hopefully!) be posting reviews for soon:

The Leavers by Lisa Ko

When We Collided by Emery Lord

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova 

* * * * *

So, what kind of book reviewer are you?  Are you able to write yours immediately after finishing a book or do you need to sit on them for a few days like I do to fully wrap your mind around what you’ve read?

28 replies
  1. Angela
    Angela says:

    I’m kind of the opposite – I tend to write my reviews right away, either the same day or within a day or two. I find that I have to get it all down quickly or I start forgetting things (isn’t that terrible?). I post-it mark important places in the book I want to come back to, and by the time I finish reading, I usually have a pretty good idea of the things I want to talk about and how I feel about the book. Every once in awhile my feelings about a book will change upon rereading, but more often my first impression sticks.

    After reading many of your reviews, I can definitely tell you put a lot of time and thought into them. I still think reviews are an important part of book blogging, so I really appreciate yours!

    Reply
    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      Oh gosh, my memory is awful too! If I didn’t take some notes as I was going along, by the time I sat down to write, I probably wouldn’t remember much of anything about what I had read. I love your reviews too so your method definitely works well for you 🙂

      Reply
  2. Lisa
    Lisa says:

    My reviews are basically ‘This!! Read it!’ … I’m horrible at reviewing a book, or even explaining the plot to someone who I’ve told the above statement to.

    I’ve picked up many books in the last few months based on your reviews of them.

    Reply
  3. Molly @ Molly's Book Nook
    Molly @ Molly's Book Nook says:

    I actually take a while too, usually. I take notes while I’m reading (because my memory is terrible) but also waiting a few days helps me really think about it. However, if I’m reading other books in between, I can sometimes forget what my thoughts are? I don’t know if that makes sense. Like even with the notebook, I’ll be like “wait, what even happened in the book?” hahah Told you, my memory is terrible. So I usually have this sweet spot of waiting about 4 days to a week to review – I’ve occasionally taken longer, but that’s the ideal time for me.

    Reply
    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who does this. And yes, my memory is so horrible it’s actually embarrassing. If I don’t make pretty detailed notes as I’m going along – people, key events, maybe even a few quotes – and then jot down my initial thoughts right after I’m finished, within a couple of days, I’ll easily start to forget everything I’ve read unless the book really resonates with me.

      Reply
  4. Marie
    Marie says:

    This is such a pertinent post to something I’ve been noticing with myself lately. I was so excited to write reviews when I first started out and would make a point of churning them out within a day or two of reading the book, thinking that was best while everything was still fresh in my mind. Lately, I’ve been mulling the books over in my mind a while before settling down to write a review. I also find the more complex the book, the longer I think about it first. I too, use to take lots of notes. I’ve gotten away from that, but I think I need to go back to it.

    Reply
    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who does this. And oh yes, I definitely take a lot longer if the book is complex. There’s just so much there to reflect on.

      Reply
  5. Cori @ bibliopathic tendencies
    Cori @ bibliopathic tendencies says:

    Interesting thoughts! I think I actually prefer if my reviews reflect my immediate reaction rather than my thoughts after I’ve sat on them a while. In fact, one of the reasons I really wanted to get back into blogging was because I feel like I start writing reviews in my head as I read. Sometimes I even start them while I’m reading. (I wrote most of my review of The Night Circus before I even finished it!)

    I always find it interesting to hear how other people approach reviews. As Kong as you get them done, I guess it doesn’t matter when. (: Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      Yeah, it’s always fun to see how everyone does things. I don’t start writing my reviews in my head while I’m reading, but I’m definitely doing that while my thoughts are percolating for those few days afterwards.

      Reply
  6. Grace @ Rebel Mommy Book Blog
    Grace @ Rebel Mommy Book Blog says:

    I usually write my reviews within a week of reading. I do jot down a few bullet points right after to just remember what I thought was important. I always forget names of characters and totally rely on GR at that point!! I don’t write really long or in depth reviews so I don’t feel the need to take notes. Probably wouldn’t hurt though 🙂

    Reply
  7. Lindsay
    Lindsay says:

    Love this article! Often times I find it hard to sit down and write a review as soon as I’ve finished a book as well. Like you, I also take notes along the way and try to summarize my immediate thoughts upon finishing a book so I don’t forget anything. You have some really great points and suggestions!! I think it’s a good idea to wait a few days to let your thoughts process before writing a review! Thanks for a great article! 🙂

    Reply
  8. Lauren Becker
    Lauren Becker says:

    Yay for another discussion post! I’m really trying to do more of these too.

    Anyway – I’m actually a bit of both. Sometimes I can write a review right away but I tend to wait a bit. Not for any real reason – it just takes time sometimes, and I often start a new book right after finishing one, so after awhile, I end up with lots of books I still need to review. haha

    -Lauren

    Reply
  9. Greg
    Greg says:

    Great topic! You know I’ve agonized over this myself- I’m one of these people that writes the review right after finishing, but for a while now I’ve questioned that since I tend to do the same thing. My thoughts on the book may very well change or develop, I guess, over the course of a few days. And part of the reason I do is because I usually jump into the next book, and I’m afraid if I wait I’ll mix things up lol. Plus having that review out there to be written bugs me until I do it ha ha.

    I actually think your way might be better though, although I know everyone is different. When I have waited it is nice to have my thoughts percolate a bit. And I take notes too, something I never did, but half the time I ignore them when I write. Sigh. 🙂

    Reply
    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      Yeah, I think everyone is different. It has been pretty interesting to hear from everyone about how they do things. Some do like I do, while others have to write as soon as they finish. I guess the main thing is that we all make it work somehow 🙂

      Reply
  10. Suzanne
    Suzanne says:

    Great discussion post and perfect timing for me. Usually I make a couple of notes as I’m reading and try to draft up the review straight after finishing the book. But lately I’ve been struggling to write any review, even though I’ve really enjoyed the books. I can’t find the enthusiasm to finish the reviews and share them.
    I don’t know why, but maybe the fact I’ve taken a step back from blogging this year to focus on writing has something to do with it. It’s a pain as my list of books I want to review is growing!

    Reply
    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      Oh gosh, I hope you get back on track with your reviews, although I can’t think of a better reason to be behind in reviewing books than focusing on your own writing. 🙂

      Reply
  11. verushka
    verushka says:

    I think I’m a mix of reviewing habits, depending on how the book has made me feel. I write reviews quickly if I want to get them out of the way or if I can’t contain myself and I am thoroughly excited. But I can also write them quickly so as to get my ideas out, but I don’t post straightaway. I don’t take notes when i’m reading, so directly after a read is the best time for me to write. But posting is something I can hold off on until I digest everything it’s trying to say (if it’s lit fiction usually)

    Reply
    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      That’s funny you say that. I do think I’m fastest to write reviews for the books that I was not super excited about. That way, as you say, I can get them out of the way and move on with my life. I don’t want to think about them any longer than I absolutely have to, haha!

      Reply
  12. Raven
    Raven says:

    I usually like to leave a day or two after finishing as well, however there are a few that I haven’t written yet and its been weeks and I loved the book but now I’m worried that it won’t show up as well because I’ve left it too long to write it. I also take notes but they aren’t always that detailed, so I’ve kind of shot myself in the foot on this occasion 🙂

    Reply
    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      I have shot myself in the foot on that too and so now try to take enough notes that I don’t forget key details by the time I’m truly ready to write – character names, key plot points, themes, my initial reaction, etc.

      Reply
  13. Brittany
    Brittany says:

    I write my best and most natural sounding reviews right after I finish the book in most cases, though that’s often at 3 in the morning so I’m already falling asleep haha. It’s definitely a problem for me to write reviews as more time passes, simply because I forget what I was going to say. Awesome post 😀

    Brittany @ Brittany’s Book Rambles

    Reply
    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      It’s so cool how everyone has their own style. I know I definitely couldn’t write one at 3AM and have it come out sounding anywhere near as amazing as yours always sound. Mine would be complete gibberish, haha 🙂

      Reply
  14. Zoe @ Stories on Stage
    Zoe @ Stories on Stage says:

    My thoughts exactly! For me personally, I always know how I feel about a book when I’m done reading it, but it’s always difficult to articulate those feelings into words. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous post! <3

    Reply
    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      Yes, that’s the exact way I am. Even if I’m pretty solidified in my thoughts on a book, I still need some time to just think about it and organize my thoughts.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge