Why Write Reviews?

Recently, I’ve been thinking about why I keep writing this blog. It is one of my hobbies, and also something I enjoy doing, but why keep doing it? There are countless blogs out there that offer the same kind of content as this one. Many of them are much better written, more interesting, funnier, and more inspiring than mine. Yet, by some incredible stroke of luck, I’ve managed to pick up a few subscribers and regular readers over the last five years.

To pose another question, why do we read book reviews? Aside from a love of stories and reading in general? Our book reviews are always subjective to our personal tastes. A book we adore and rave about may be another reader’s idea of boredom or even torture. But we go on writing our reviews with the simple desire to spread the word about stories that we love, hate, and everything in between. So, is it just about spreading the word or the love?

What brought you, the reader, to this blog? What made you click that subscribe button? I’m hoping it was because you enjoyed reading one of my reviews. We probably have similar tastes in our reading choices. Even better would be you reading one of my many recommendations and really enjoying it. Then, letting me know about that experience via a comment or message. Which goes back to the idea of sharing the love of reading a really good story.

If I were to answer my own question, I would say that I read and follow your reviews because I enjoy reading them. I love reading about a book or author I’ve never heard of, trying that book, and going on to have a wonderful time reading it. It might be unhealthy for our TBR piles, but it’s great to discover new stories via this online community. If only we had more time to dedicate to reducing that TBR mountain. Wouldn’t that be nice?

An old TBR pile from 2017

Okay, this has turned into a bit of a ramble now. I think it’s time to move on. Just let me say that I really, really appreciate YOU taking the time to read or comment on my little corner of cyberspace. Thank you for all your feedback, comments, recommendations, and–dare I say the word–“likes.” (Did he just say “likes”? Whaaaat? Cue an old Ultravox song:

Likes It means nothing to me, likes this means nothing to me, oh, Vienna.”…Yes, I’m old.)

Thanks for reading! Now where’s that dopamine hit?..

Wakizashi (pron. “wacky-zashee”)

41 thoughts on “Why Write Reviews?

  1. I struggled with the same questions. I guess I just like to put my thoughts down on paper, so why not publish them online? By reviewing is an extension of the main hobby, which is reading books. I don’t read for the purpose of reviewing.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Ah, an 80s Boy πŸ‘πŸ˜ Iβ€˜ve got that song on record.
    If I remember correctly, your Dune review brought me here. There aren’t that many thorough reviews around, at least not at WP, so that might be your USP.
    The main reason why I write reviews is to remember myself what I thought – other reviews don’t express that.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thanks for your reply. On record? That’s cool!πŸ˜ƒ When I hear “thorough reviews,” I think of Bart @Weighing A Pig. His reviews are epic! What you say about writing your reviews as a way of remembering what you thought about a story is a great reason! I’m always impressed by your output, Andreas. Do you read and review a story every day? Or do you have a backlog of reviews ready to publish?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you πŸ™ 😊
        I really read one story each day and publish the review for it mostly on the same or the following day. Sometimes, I have to tighten the schedule a little bit in order to reach publication days. But never more than two stories per day – more would also feel like spam for followers, right?
        I have a huge backlog of reviews on GoodReads for novels which I haven’t published here, but so far I didn’t touch that.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I cant remember which post of yours led me here (I’m sure it was a search within the wordpress reader for either a series or author, maybe even Dune like Andreas mentioned) but it has surely been a great time.

    I do admit, there are times I wish you’d publish even your little thoughts on books like you do on devilreads. But if you’re tired, man, cross-posting is a ton of work. I added bookhype and devilreads this year and let me tell you, that is NOT happening for next year. WordPress, blogger and Librarything is about all I can handle (plus my own offline calibre library of reviews).

    To end this comment on a complaint free note. I like what you write here. Keep up the good work! and if Ol’10 ever gives you too much lip, you just let me know. I’ll totally tell on him to Psychic Grandma and THEN he’ll be sorry.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a generous and thoughtful comment. I’ve got a lump in my throat after reading that… I think I swallowed my chopstick without realizing.😰 But seriously, thank you very much.

      I always want to post more on here, but I feel like I need to write a “proper” review, not just a few lines. Don’t know why. Some sort of daft personal policy that’s stuck with me since uni. You may just have inspired me to try something new next year. A more thorough chronicle of my reading year.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are more than welcome πŸ˜‰

        And I for one would love to see more writing. If you think of this as a long term review collection, that might help? But no pressure from me. How you blog is as personal as anything πŸ˜€

        Doing what works for you is what keeps you going instead of burning out. Once you start writing for others, you’ll other become wickedly famous (l’m sure you can name 10 Top Bloggers off the top of your head, hahahahahaa) or burn out completely.

        And thanks for putting up with my wordiness. Sometimes they back up and they can’t escape through the keyboard quick enough πŸ™‚

        Liked by 2 people

  4. I write for two main reasons: like Andreas, to remember what I thought, and to force myself to formulate an opinion on what I’ve read. It’s often through writing I discover that my opinions are different from what I originaly felt.

    I also like a bit of polemic, and especially if my review is more negative as most other reviews I consider them as a service to other readers. I do know I would have read a whole lot more of bad books if not for other reviewers, so I’m glad to return the favor.

    Obviously, blogging is also a bit addictive, and likes and comments and good stats are part of it too.

    The reason I read reviews (including yours) is that I need guidance, simple as that. I consider book blogging also as a form of curating, and deciding what to buy & read is a big part of the hobby, that’s just as fun as reading itself: there are aspects of collecting, hunting, discovery.

    A final reason to read reviews is to be part of a conversation, and that’s why I maybe like reading reviews of books I’ve read by bloggers I know fairly well is the ultimate pleasure…

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks for your response.πŸ˜ƒ It has been fascinating to find out some of the reasons why fellow bloggers post reviews. This might sound crazy but I’d never really thought deeply about why I do this, aside from the enjoyment factor. Also, the addictive nature of blogging, as you mention.

      Keeping a reading record and writing reviews not only helps us to remember what we read and how we felt about it. It’s also an act of creation; creating content. This can feel very satisfying, especially when our posts receive interaction. It still amazes me when I see views from different countries all over the world. People I don’t know, nor will never meet, have looked at something I wrote. Even if it was just me writing “I enjoyed this book and recommend it”–(that’s about the level of my reviews, if I’m being honest). The power of the world wide web.

      Reading reviews gives me guidance, too. Especially on books I am considering buying. I love reading reviews by fellow bloggers on new releases, as well as books I’ve read in the past. It’s great to get different takes on things. We also get introduced to books and authors we’ve never experienced before. And, as you said, that sense of community, being part of the conversation, is also a big part of what we do.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ah, the reviewing obsession. Why don’t I just read like a normal person?

    Since 1987, I’ve kept a booklog with brief notes on most things I read. It started as a memory aide, particularly with book series. I always thought being a book reviewer would be fun. Blogging is a way to do it.

    But there are times I ponder giving it all up — like when I’m two months behind in reviews and the time I spend blogging takes away from reading good review sites like yours. But I also like reviewing things that don’t have a lot of reviews or doing a different take on them too. I suppose that’s a bit like curating, keeping the memory of worthy books alive. (And, I suspect, giving students term paper material on occasion.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’ve kept a booklog since 1987? That’s very impressive.πŸ˜ƒ It’s great to have a platform to keep and online record of what we read. I’ve always enjoyed reading book reviews. It used to be in magazines, now it’s online. Like you, I sometimes get behind in reviews. Another problem I find is that all my reviews start to sound the same after a while. I mean, how many different ways can I write “this book was good because A, B and C”?

      I enjoy reading reviews of “lesser-known” stories. It’s a great feeling when you discover a fantastic story via these reviews. It must be very satisfying to be able to use some of your content as material for students. I teach English in Japan, so unfortunately, my reviews are a little bit too difficult for my students’ language level, (mainly aged 9 to 15). One of my hopes is if a student somewhere around the world has found something useful from one of my reviews. Or if they have been inspired to read a book or story I wrote about. That might be expecting a bit too much, but it’s a nice little dream to have. Thanks so much for your comment!


  6. That’s an interesting question – thanks for the prompt! I think my main reason for writing reviews is to share my thoughts on something that was important to me – that’s why I usually write either glowing or scathing reviews πŸ˜… I love those conversations with like-minded people from around the world, the recommendations, warnings etc. And along the way, I love how we all get to know one another better.

    But we originally started the blog mostly as a place to keep our thoughts on books in one spot – the discussions, differences of opinion, etc. And as I wrote on Bookstooge’s blog, it worked very well and still works, even though we’re now half a world apart, each with their own busy life.

    I do enjoy reading your thoughtful reviews, but even more those big question posts – on blogging, on dreaming, etc. This makes your blog pretty unique, so – keep up the good work! πŸ†

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your comment, Ola 😊. I was thinking that I really don’t write many scathing reviews. Am I being too generous? Or have I just been lucky with my choices πŸ˜…? A lot of those choices are due to my fellow blogger’s reviews, which is such a great part of the blogging experience.

      That’s very kind of you to say, but I don’t think those “question” posts are unique to my blog. I’ve learnt so much from you, Bookstooge, Lashaan, and others. That’s part of what makes this a brilliant and rewarding experience. A global community of like-minded people who want to share their love of books and reading 🌏❀️

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, I enjoy reading your reviews no matter if they’re scathing or not; they are always thoughtful πŸ˜‰ everyone has their blogging groove, it’s just a matter of finding it – and I think you did.

        Thank you, Wakizashi! The community of bloggers is one of the best things not only in blogging but in this year in general – keeps us all sane and happy, I’d say! πŸ˜…

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I discovered your blog by finding you in the comment section of Bookstooge’s blog at some point in the past and I’m glad I did since now I know someone who has similar interests, especially when it comes to comic books, which is so rare, considering that I want to be able to talk to people sorta regularly on that matter and everything else!

    What makes me write is mostly out of a love to put into words my experience with something and then to find out that there are people who are interested to READ my thoughts, which isn’t always the case in real life since people tend to only ask your opinion so that they can tell theirs… To find like-minded people through blogging just makes my life more complete hahah

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think that’s the same way I found your blog. Look at Bookstooge, bringing bloggers together!πŸ˜ƒ Yes, it’s cool to have someone to talk about comics with. I always enjoy reading your take on comics and books. As you say, finding like-minded people is a very rewarding part of the whole blogging experience.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. From my perspective you answered your own question in the second sentence when you said it’s something you enjoy doing. That seems reason enough to me to continue doing it, especially if there happen to be other benefits, like exchanging ideas, recommendations, etc with like-minded folks, or even with folks not-so-like-minded as we can learn a lot from them, too. πŸ™‚

    As for how I found your blog, as Lashaan said, it was in a comment section of some other blog(s), though I don’t recall exactly which one(s). I find over time I start seeing the same folks commenting on different blogs, and that sometimes leads me to check out their blog. One thing you had going for you, in addition to blogging about topics and reviewing media I enjoy, is the Japanese influence. I’m fascinated by Japan, the culture, people, wildlife, landscapes, media, music, anime, movies, food, etc., so just the name of your blog and the name you go by helped pull me in. But it’s the reviews and your thoughs on topics that keep me coming back. There may be lots of other similar blogs out there but each of us are different and can bring something unique just by being ourselves.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great points, Todd. As you said, we can learn much from people with different tastes and views than our own. Otherwise we may aswell live in an echo chamber. I always enjoy reading critical reviews which explain why they are being critical, what they didn’t enjoy about the book. Even if it’s something I rate very highly, it’s always useful to get a new perspective.

      I’m happy to hear that you enjoy the Japanese influence on my blog, although I haven’t written very much about this fascinating country on here. I am thinking about a Japanese-themed topic for my next post. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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