Sunday, 26 September 2010

To review...? Or not to review?

Okay, folks, it is navel gazing time again here on Floor to Ceiling Books!

Well, actually, it is time to ask a few questions of those bloggers I read regularly to find out their opinions on the subject.

The subject today is: Reviewing!

I would welcome input from all quarters on this one, just to find out how, where, when reviewing takes place.

My questions are:

1) When do you review a book? Immediately, during, after a few days...? (this question was shamelessly stolen from Friday's Book Blogger Hop: I read a few responses and it intrigued me enough to think about a few more questions in the same vein).

2) Do you review every book that you read? What prompts you not to review a book? Do you feel the obligation to review all advance copies you receive?

3) How do you do your reviewing? Making notes as you read or just sitting down and jotting down thoughts and feelings once the whole thing is read?

I think that's enough!

On my part, here are my answers?

1) I always review a book immediately on finishing it, although I am having the thought that perhaps I ought to let the novel percolate for a little while before spilling all my reactions on paper. Sometimes those initial reactions are the most truthful, but other times, without putting distance between myself and the book, I can sometimes be overly effusive or a tad harsh, which I think I wouldn't if I waited.

2) At the moment I am reviewing every book I read. It makes Floor to Ceiling Books a little unfocused in terms of genre at times, I will admit, but I started this blog as a way of recording what I read and what I thought about the book so, under those principles, I am sticking to reviewing everything - good and bad. Having to give a negative review would never stop me from reviewing, but I know others will not post up a review if they hated a book.

3) Sometimes I will dash around the house looking for pen and paper to jot down an immediate reaction to something in a book; I will fold the corner of pages with pertinent quotes; but most often my reviewing is a gush of thoughts and ideas once the whole book is read. This means that sometimes I end up missing things that had occurred during the read, which can be frustrating, but mostly works.

Now...what about you?


  1. I'm a big believer in what W.H. Auden said about bad reviews mostly being about the reviewer showing off. I find it's more often the case than not, so I don't do it. If a book is good, I talk about it as much as I like and review it in sonnet form (gah!) if it's REALLY good or at least really interesting, but if it's bad I find it's better to say nothing and not contribute in any way to its getting any attention at all.

  2. Like you, I try to review a book immediately after I finish it. I want to give my quick thoughts. I don't take notes while I read but that wouldn't be a bad idea. I do begin the review by setting up the review in blogger and grabbing the picture, publication info, and book description from Amazon. I am also on the hunt for a great quote. When I find one, I can put it right into the review before I finish the book.

    I try to review most of what I read. I don't always do a review for the books I re-read. Some things are read just for my mental health. Every once in a while I will read one that I feel is too erotic to review on my blog without declaring it a blog for ages 18+ which I don't want to do.

    I do review books I didn't like (but only one that I didn't finish). I do try to find some positives for the review but also talk frankly about my problems with the book.

    This is the system I use and, so far, it is working the way I want it to work.

  3. 1. When do you review a book.
    I prefer to do it the day after finishing it. Life gets in the way sometimes so in practice it can be anywhere from the same day I finish them to five days later. If it takes longer than that it is usually a lost cause. I don't always write an entire review on one day. If I don't like where it is going I'll leave it overnight and come back to it later.

    2. Do you review every book that you read?
    That is my aim yes. This year I am getting pretty close to actually achieving it. I've skipped one book I didn't finish and one novella that came as an extra with a novel and looked at the same story from a different point of view. Didn't feel I had anything to say about it I hadn't already said about the novel.

    Reviewing everything means that once in a while I review a book I really didn't like. I found it useful to have to think about what I didn't like about a novel as well as what I did like. It's probably no treat for the victim but I think it is a good thing if a reviewer writes a negative review occasionally.

    I rarely receive review copies so I do not feel obliged to read or review any particular book.

    3. How do you do your reviewing?
    I never take notes. I just read the book and when I'm done I sit down and write the review. Once in a great while I mark a passage I may want to quote in the review though.

  4. ) When do you review a book? I review within a week. If it's a book that I read some time ago, I usually have a pretty accurate assessment of it from the notes and highlights that I left behind.

    2) Do you review every book that you read? Yes. I only feel obligated to review a book if I stated that I was going to do so.

    3) How do you do your reviewing? I jot notes in the back cover or page numbers in the back cover. When I'm done reading, I refer to the notes and play connect the dots to come up with my review.

  5. 1. I tend to let the book percolate, but then it has it's drawbacks as well what with the whole memory thing. I think I'll try to write notes immediately and write the review after percolation and see how that fairs.

    2. Everything I read that's fiction. Otherwise I don't tend to review the economics/political books I read. And yes I try to read/review all review books. Not that I'm successful.

    3. Sometimes I take notes that I feel would go well in the review. Usually throughout the read I'm forming my review in my head...and I amazingly actually remember a lot of those things. Probably because I think of them every time I pick up the book. Then I'll write the review a couple days later.

  6. I'm a new book reviewer and I've decided that I like to write a review of every book I read. It helps me internalize the book. I get an overall sense of what I got out of the book if I have to write my feelings about it. My reviews are usually very short, but I enjoy doing it. I think it also helps me remember the books later. I don't usually take notes, but I think about what I'm going to say in my review as I read the book. Once in a while I'll mark a passage that I want to include, but usually not.

  7. 1) When do you review a book?
    It really depends on how much time I have. Lately it seems to take me a few days to a week before I post a review of a book. I think this is why some of my ratings for books change because sometimes I after I stew on the book for a while, I realize things I didn't really like or really liked about the book.

    2) Do you review every book that you read? What prompts you not to review a book? Do you feel the obligation to review all advance copies you receive?
    I haven't reviewed ALL books I read this year, but lately I've been doing a lot of reviews. I haven't really thought about not reviewing some books I read. I guess my love of writing also prompts me to just keep on writing about the stuff I read, and I think it's good writing practice.

    3) How do you do your reviewing? Making notes as you read or just sitting down and jotting down thoughts and feelings once the whole thing is read?
    I don't really write down notes, but I do take note of the favorite passages/quotes in the book. I don't really include them all after, though. Right after I read the book, I read reviews before writing my own. I often miss out on things I want to write about in the review because I tend to ramble, and I feel like if a review's too long, no one is going to read it. ^^

    Great questions!

  8. 1) When do you review a book? Immediately, during, after a few days...?
    I try and review the books immediately or the day after. Though that's never actually happened since life keeps getting in the way. It usually comes down to me reading in the evenings and writing reviews on my days off.

    2) Do you review every book that you read? What prompts you not to review a book? Do you feel the obligation to review all advance copies you receive?
    I don't review every book I read. I don't review the books I read in Dutch, since that would probably not be of interest to my readers. And at times I read non-fiction books that wouldn't be interesting to review either. Those I just comment on on Goodreads.
    I haven't received any review copies from anyone (wouldn't know how lol), so I don't have any obligations in that way.
    Because of this I mostly read books I pick out and thus hardly ever have a negative review to write. This might change as I'm starting to read outside of my comfort zone.

    3) How do you do your reviewing? Making notes as you read or just sitting down and jotting down thoughts and feelings once the whole thing is read?
    Mostly I just sit down with the book and start by typing out the blurb. And then I write quick notes in a sort of stream-of-conciousness way so I know what I want to say and then I elaborate on those. I do lose some thoughts I have during the reading itself though, so I'm planning to get myself a notebook to keep with me while reading so I can jot down notes. It'll be nice to see whether my reviews benefit from that approach.

  9. 1. I tend to give it a few days, maybe a week in some cases to let it sit in my head for a bit. Even when it's a book I absolutely loved and want to gush about, I need time to get past the initial squeee and understand why I loved it so much.

    2. I review every book. If I receive an advanced copy I will definitely write a review as soon as I can. Sometimes it won't be before the book comes out, but if I can, I will.

    3. I have ideas about it in my head, the main points I want to mention, and I'll sit down and write it in one go as it's been brewing for a few days and I've been lining it up in the back of my mind somewhere.

  10. New follower here!

    1) When do you review a book?

    I try to review it almost immediately after, while everything is still fresh in my mind.
    It doesn't always work out that way, and I've been very tempted to start taking notes while reading.

    2) a) Do you review every book that you read?

    Yes, and I do it for myself. I have realized that through the years I've read many wonderful books, and had many thoughts on said books... most of which have been forgotten, washed away by the tides of time. I don't want to keep forgetting these things.

    b) What prompts you not to review a book?
    I always review... ESPECIALLY if it's bad.

    c) Do you feel the obligation to review all advance copies you receive?

    If they're part of an ARC tour, yes. If they're from an author or publishing company, yes. If it's something I pick up in a bookstore (local bookstores will give away ARCs)... then no.
    Although if I read it I will end up reviewing it, I suppose the more apt question is the promptness with which I read and review it.

    3) How do you do your reviewing?

    I write the review when I'm done reading... no notes, no nothing. However, if it's a book of short stories, I review every story after I've read it.

  11. 1. I tend to wait a few days. As a would-be author I definitely have to be more diplomatic that a blogger who's strictly a reader-reviewer. It takes some time after a read to make sure I'm giving a balanced opinion.

    2.I don't review every book I read (I listen to audiobooks, actually). Partially for the same reason I mentioned above and partially because I listen to some adult stuff, but my focus for writing and blogging is YA.

    3.Generally, I think of things I want to say in the review as I'm listening to the book, but I don't write anything down until I'm done.

  12. 1) I review a book when I feel like it. Sometimes it's immediately, sometimes, if it is my purchased copy, a few weeks after.

    2) Lately, yes I do review every book I read. I don't really feel prompted to not review a book, I'll post the review even if it is negative. I owe that to my followers. People come to my blog expecting integrity and that is what they get. With ARCs, if they were requested then yes, absolutely I feel an obligation. If they were unexpected, then no, not really.

    3) Well, I fold down pages that have quotes I want to use. If a strong thought comes to me during a book, I will usually write it down or tweet it as a way to remember. Then when I feel inspired or not lazy, I will site down and write a review. I am actually quite proud of my reviews and put a lot into them.

  13. 1) I have a range of techniques. I scribble down notes as I go along, incorporating them into a review as soon as I finish the book. Then I wait a few weeks before posting. I edit if my feelings have changed.

    I find this way good because I have my initial thoughts as well as some more long-term reactions.

    2) No. I don't tend to review a book I don't like mainly because I rarely finish books that fall into that category. I'll occasionally do a post saying why I didn't finish it. I also rarely review trashy romance despite reading one or two a week.

    I don't recieve ARCs so that part obviously doesn't come into it.

    3) Kinda answered that in 1!

  14. 1) When do you review a book? Immediately, during, after a few days...?

    I usually review it immediately. If I can't get to a computer that fast, I will wait till I can - or maybe until the next day.

    2) Do you review every book that you read? What prompts you not to review a book? Do you feel the obligation to review all advance copies you receive?

    My goal is to review every book I receive. The whole concept of receiving books for review is new to me, so I want to be able to read them all. I guess I will find out in time what would make me not review something that I received for review.

    3) How do you do your reviewing? Making notes as you read or just sitting down and jotting down thoughts and feelings once the whole thing is read?

    I just make mental notes while reading, and if there are too many mental notes to easily remember, I will jot down a few phrases here and there on a bookmark.

  15. 1.) I usually review a book a few days after finishing it (unless it's due back at the library). But I finished two books a week ago and still haven't reviewed them because I've been so busy with things.

    2.) No, I don't review every book I read. Sometimes I don't feel like writing a review or I just don't have anything to say about the book. It's really hard for me to review books that I LOVE (but I do try my hardest to write up a review of those!).

    3.) I always have to start my review on paper, I can't just type one up on the computer. I usually just make a list of things I may want to include in the review and then just start writing. Sometimes I can write a review in one sitting and sometimes it takes a couple days.

  16. Oh gosh. I do it all. Sometimes write up my review right away, sometimes I wait. Sometimes I take notes as I read, sometimes I don't. I do review everything that I read though!

  17. As someone who would like to start reviewing but not sure if I'd be any good - this makes interesting reading. Thanks for this post and all the comments :)

  18. I started out by reviewing every book I could get my hands on. I figured that it would be good practice to hone my reviewing skills. However, now that I'm further in I only review books I love! Publishers say all the time that they don't mind if you don't review every book they send you, as long a you let them know.

    As for how I review, I mainly wait a day after I read a book so I can let it all sink in. Then I sit down and just type a stream of consciousness, that I then go back and revise. After trying and failing to take notes while reading, this works best for me :).

  19. I'm not in the habit of taking notes so I tend to write my review within one or two days so that I don't forget what I want to say and tinker with it for another day or two. I read about a book a week so I try and write about every book, although I won't beat myself up if I don't.

  20. 1)When do you review a book?
    I try to do my review the same day as I finish the book, although in reality this rarely happens and it often takes me a few days.

    2) Do you review every book that you read?
    Yes, I review every book that I read. One of the reasons I started my blog was to keep a record of everything that I read and what I thought of it. I have only been blogging a short time so have yet to read a book for review that I didn’t like but when that does happen I will still review it but try to do so fairly. I have also never received any advance copies for reviewing so no obligations there!

    3) How do you do your reviewing?
    I don’t make notes or anything. I read for pleasure / entertainment and the review is just a little something extra at the end, not the main purpose of reading the book. When I do my review I type up my thoughts on the book as they come to me. I keep the book to hand so that I can refer to it as necessary.

  21. 1)When do you review a book?
    Start writing review as soon as I can after finishing. Normally takes a couple of days from start to finish as I don't tend to write an entire review in one sitting.

    2) Do you review every book that you read?
    Yes. I'm sole contributor on my site so the books I review tend to be ones that have piqued my interest. So launching the site I have reviewed every book that I have read.

    3) How do you do your reviewing? I use Evernote to jot down notes and a very basic 1st draft of my review. In most cases I start this while I am still reading. I hate to have an idea then forget it.

  22. Interesting questions! And rather than taking up oodles of space in your comments (because I have a tendancy to be a bit long-winded about things like this), I figured I'd answer them in a blog post of my own. :p

  23. I review my books after I read them, pretty much right after. Sometimes I take notes as I go, but usually I just try to hit what I liked about the book, the characters and plot.
    I review most books that I finish. If I really don't like it, I usually don't get through it.

    Visiting from YA Addict Comment Exchange Program
    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  24. 1) When do you review a book? Immediately, during, after a few days...?

    Depends what it's for - if I've got a deadline I'll get it ready for the deadline - and how hard I'm finding it to pull the review together. Some reviews just won't coalesce. But I'm trying now to finish each review before starting work on the next one, just so I don't have a backlog of stuff that needs finishing.

    2) Do you review every book that you read?

    I tend to choose which books to read from the ones that have come in for review, and I do review nearly all of them.

    What prompts you not to review a book?

    If I don't review a book I've read it's generally just because I didn't feel I had anything interesting to say about it.

    Also, I won't review books by people I've publicly had fall-outs with, because I wouldn't be able to give the book a poor review without looking vindictive.

    Do you feel the obligation to review all advance copies you receive?

    I put the publication dates of ARCs into my tasklist and aim to have reviews online by the time they're out. If I don't make it (or if I don't get them in advance), they go into a pot where I review on a rota, by publisher.

    3) How do you do your reviewing? Making notes as you read or just sitting down and jotting down thoughts and feelings once the whole thing is read?

    I usually make a start on writing the review while I'm reading the book (or watching the film, etc), make other notes as I go along, and then assemble it into a review when the deadline approaches.