How I review

I guess I should have written this long time ago and not after three years of writing a blog (I still can’t believe it’s been so long).
But now at least I can look back and explain how I do it. If you had asked me in the beginning how I decide what to write, I don’t think I could have given a meaningful answer.

This post has mostly been prompted by the stuff happening in the book bloggers community that I managed to almost completely miss but that has been brought to my attention by this post.

So basically this is about books but is also valid for perfumes.

  • Most of the stuff I read is the books I bought. I probably should mention that in my reviews because if I think a book worth reading, I will buy it.
  • This is where NetGalley comes in – I get a lot of books for free from there. So far I only reviewed 12 of the 40 I received. Those are the ones that caught my attention amid everything else that I can choose from (and believe me, I can choose from quite a lot).
  • I don’t have a problem with not finishing a book. There are many out there I won’t have time to read so I don’t get worked up because I stopped reading a book that didn’t interest me. This also means if I reviewed it (even if not in the best of ways), I find it good enough to be read (before everything else I can choose from).
  • This brings me to the fact that I could put in action my own style of grading the books. There would only be 3 categories: Had to start reading sth else in the middle of the book as it didn’t really hold my attention, Read it without stopping for something else, and Had to force myself to go to sleep because I couldn’t stop reading
  • As my library (valid for perfumes as well) is rather large, the fact that I haven’t yet reviewed something I received for free doesn’t mean I didn’t find it interesting or good (but it could mean that), it probably means it wasn’t yet time for it to catch my attention – sometimes I’m in the mood for particular things and the rest lingers
  • I believe in being nice and polite to people – so if I don’t like something, I probably won’t get nasty about it, but then again, the topic probably won’t come up unless I’m provoked
  • Lately, my tolerance for YA adult novels is diminishing and by that I mean, I look for more than a new type of story
  • I also believe authors shouldn’t get all worked up over bad reviews – does everyone you meet in real life like you!? Why should then every review be a good one? Not to mention the fact that literary geniuses are rare.
  • I don’t believe my book reviews are typical – I don’t find it necessary to repeat the basics of the story (as that can be found everywhere), so I just try and go with things I enjoyed about a book (I just wish I was more in the habit of making notes while reading a book)
  • I’ll finish this list by saying I am always up for reading a genre I haven’t yet – one of those being steampunk novels (I look forward to reading my first one)

And to end with some of my thoughts on reading:

  • Have you ever noticed how everyone in novels speaks without problems? Usually all the sentences are correct from beginning to end without any hitches. I never talk like that. Then again, it might just be mine particular problem with forming and pronouncing sentences perfectly at all times.
  • The other thing I noticed from my favourite books, but it also seems books that are usually most loved,  and on top of lists, feature difficult, tragic situations where there is a lot of suffering for the main character – Is it just me, or does that sound very Matrix to you too? It wouldn’t be believable or good enough if there wasn’t suffering in it to balance the happiness?

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8 thoughts on “How I review

  1. bloody frida July 19, 2012 at 06:00 Reply

    Hey Ines – great post! I really need to go back into your archives and check and see if I have ever read any of the books you have. I know we're both on Goodreads, now, which is good.BTW, do NOT read the book Green by Jay Lake. Just a helpful hint! I love steampunk! I would suggest the Steampunk anthology to start off with.

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  2. Undina July 20, 2012 at 06:10 Reply

    Suffering creates more emotions both for the writer (so it's easier to write) and for the reader (so it's more engaging to read).I do not read serious books any longer: I've seen enough RL suffering and know that even more is in store for me from this point on – so I do not need to feel bad for fictional characters.

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  3. Suzanne July 20, 2012 at 19:25 Reply

    Ines, I enjoyed reading this and was nodding my head with much you have to say. Like you, I don't worry about not finishing a book either. I purchased a book this year by an author whose earlier work I really liked — Pam Houston is the author — but her latest book ("Contents May Have Shifted") is so bad that I gave it the heave-ho, even though it was something I paid for.This leads me to ask, are you reading most of your books now on your Kindle? Our bookshelves have gotten so crammed with books — and as Mark is going away next week on business travel, I am thinking while he's away I'll get rid of a bunch of them (it's too hard to do when he's here, because when he sees what I'm doing he suddenly feels like he can't give up his copies of books that he hasn't touched in ten years). 🙂

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  4. Ines July 21, 2012 at 12:50 Reply

    Thank you for the suggestion Bloody Frida. It would certainly help knowing where to start with steampunk – I don't want to come across a novel I don't like only to discard the whole genre.I see my post was successful in getting suggestions on what not to read. 🙂 Thank you for that. I will check your goodreads choices to see if I can find something new I'd like to read (lately I have a problem finding new authors I like).

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  5. Ines July 21, 2012 at 12:53 Reply

    Undina, I don't read serious books either. 🙂 The novels I read are such incredible fiction as to not make the suffering as real as a serious book might.And the suffering is one of the reasons I no longer watch TV or many of the movies dealing with such themes.

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  6. Ines July 21, 2012 at 13:30 Reply

    He, he, Suzanne, yes, I mostly read on my Kindle and try not to buy books (unless it's a cheaper choice or the book isn't available on Kindle, or for Croatia – that happens too).I know all about crammed bookshelves and I have boxes and boxes of books hidden everywhere out of sight because I have no shelf space for them.But, you know, I can't get rid of any. 🙂 I love books and I plan on keeping every one I can.

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  7. ChickenFreak July 29, 2012 at 08:52 Reply

    This makes me realize that while I have no particular problem with reviewing a perfume negatively (though I rarely do – if I don't like a perfume I'm not too interested in thinking about it for long enough to write), I'm nervous about reviewing a book negatively. I think that's because I have little fear that the nose or perfume house will freak out and attack, but some fear that the author will. Reading the post you linked to, it sounds like that fear isn't as irrational as I would have thought.

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  8. Ines July 30, 2012 at 11:48 Reply

    CF, I am the same way about perfumes. I usually don't write about those that I don't like because I dismiss them quite fast and don't really think about them long enough to form an opinion for a review.But, I honestly don't understand why do authors get so upset – ok, it is their living and they depend on book sales, but attacking bloggers for their opinion will more surely affect those book sales than a bad review.

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