Reviews are a staple of the majority of book blogs, but that doesn’t mean that all bloggers review books in the same way. Since I’m always interested in knowing how other bloggers approach the reviewing process, I was pleased to discover the book reviewing tag, created by Fatma from the blog The Book Place. It is all about how we write reviews, the books we choose to review and how we evaluate our own reviews. There are eight questions that I tried to answer succinctly.
What’s your review writing process like (do you write notes somewhere, make annotations, highlights, etc.)?
I’ve been following the same review writing process almost since I started blogging. I always write notes on a notebook or, if I’m not at home, on my phone at the end of each reading “session” about the things I don’t want to forget to mention on the review of the book I’m reading – initial plot points, writing style, personality of the characters, quotes I liked, etc. This makes writing the review itself (usually the day after I finish the book) easier, since I then only have to connect all the notes in a coherent way, plus write an introduction and a conclusion. The proofreading process takes sometimes as long as writing the review, since I keep getting prepositions and other things wrong. But it’s all part of the joy of not having a blog in my first language.
What do you struggle with most when it comes to writing book reviews?
Besides trying not to make stupid mistakes, it’s coming up with an interesting introduction that doesn’t feel repetitive in the context of the whole blog and choosing which elements to highlight in it.
Your favourite review(s) that you’ve written
The review I’m most proud of is the one about The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis by José Saramago, since I think it makes clear what the book is about, is in-depth and I managed to find translations of the quotes I wanted to highlight (I read it in Portuguese). The review of The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton has a special place in my heart too, though, because it was the first one I wrote. I had read the book months before writing it and starting this blog, but I still had a lot to share.
A review that you struggled to write
I always struggle to review poetry, although I enjoyed analysing it at school. My most recent reviews of poetry collections are Geografia by Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen and The Door by Margaret Atwood.
A review you still want to write
I want to write a review of the Portuguese classic Os Maias by Eça de Queirós but only when I finally reread it, probably next month. It’s the only book that I haven’t reviewed yet from my old favourites.
A review that you don’t want to / won’t write
I didn’t review any of the Shakespeare’s plays that I read nor will I. I don’t think I have anything intelligent to say about them. I liked them and that’s it!
Your most popular review(s)
It depends on how we define popular. Is it the most viewed or the most liked? My most viewed review is Contos Exemplares (Exemplary Tales in the English translation) by Sophia de Mello Breyner Andersen, certainly due to search engines and not many people having reviewed that collection of short stories. The most liked, on the other hand, is Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier, which is a review I also enjoyed writing a lot.
How you feel about your book reviewing this year
I’ve reviewed all the books I wanted to so far this year, but I think I’m becoming a bit tired of writing reviews, they are all starting to sound the same to me. It’s probably because I’ve been writing more reviews these latest months than usual, thanks to 20 Books of Summer. Also, despite not checking my blog stats regularly, I noticed that my most recent reviews have been having less engagement than usual. Older blog posts have been having more views instead.
Do you also write reviews on your blog or other platforms? How do you feel about them? Tell me in the comments!