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Dan

Why not post a review?

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I have been wondering why people don't post comments when they've finished a book. Some of the reasons I didn't used to post reviews; I felt intimidated by the stellar reviews by MrHG, Grammath, David etc; I didn't feel my opinion had validity; I didn't want to put someone else off on a book they might have liked, or criticize one they loved; I didn't want to take the time.

But I've come to realize that this isn't the NY Times Book Review, and I don't have to post a review that has literary merit in its own right. Everyone's opinion has validity, and provided there is some semblance of balance in it I doubt anyone will be offended by a post, or even necessarily put off, to judge by Luna finding something intriguing in my less than enthusiastic review of Paper Men, and going on to read and enjoy that book.

The time factor can be a big deal, and when it's a complicated book, or I have mixed feelings, sometimes it takes me quite a while to write a review. But I've gotten in the habit of writing those kind of reviews on a notes page, and then I copy and paste when finished. That eliminates the tyranny of an open window, so to speak.

But a lot of the time I can type out a review that only takes a few minutes, and while it may not be award winning, at least it can either stimulate discussion or at the very least be a book blurb not hand chosen by the publisher.

I value the opinions of regular people. And I see many, many books on people's book lists that I've either heard of but know nothing about, or have never even heard of. It would be very useful to me to at least know if the writing is clear, the dialogue good, the story plausible, the characters believable and at least marginally fleshed out. Was it boring? Was there any humor?

I don't mean that I think everyone should review every book they read, although I would love that! I read every single post on this site, regardless of category or genre. And I understand that many people just aren't into writing reviews. But if anyone is not posting comments for any of the reasons I listed above I urge you to reconsider.

The opinion of every person on this site has validity!

And I would like to thank those of you who do post your thoughts here on the books you read. Even when I don't comment I am always glad to see them here!

Edited by Dan

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Good points all Dan and thank you for starting this thread.  I've noticed that you post reviews of the books you read and, as you say, I'm glad that you do because it lead me to enjoy The Paper Men which I didn't even know existed.  And that's one of the reasons I'm a member of this site.

 

Why have I not posted on most of mine?  Probably laziness.  And that which you mentioned, who would be interested in i) what I read ii) what I have to say about it ?  You're right, I should post reviews more often, even if nobody responds, it can always be responded to later.  After all, how are we going to find new-to-us books reviewed by people we trust? 

 

I shall improve.

Edited by lunababymoonchild

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I read so many of the same kind of book I think it might become tiresome to the reader so I just read and don't review.  If I find a book really exciting or interesting I will post about it (as long as I write the character's names down before I come up to the Desktop computer also the name of the book and the author.  Kindle doesn't have the title running on each page through the book so I have to go back to my index to find out what I've been reading. :rolleyes:

So I will endeavour to share one of my next book reads with you.   :)

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Certainly don't be intimidated - and don't feel you have to post a review; any comments are good comments. It is always interesting to see what other people have thought of books I might have my eye on.

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I totally agree with all of the above.  I ought to do more.  I will try and do more.  Maybe we could all make a New Years' resolution????

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Thank you, Momac! That told me everything thing I'd want to know about that book. And if I'd already read it then I could say, with appropriate spoilers of course????"Wasn't that interesting when..." , or "Wasn't that ridiculous when...", or "Why do you think..." . I appreciate the effort, Momac!

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I think in the last year I got into doing reviews more than previously. I quite enjoyed writing it, especially more so if I really enjoyed the novel or there were particular elements of which I liked a lot. I guess what I like most is to try to get out my thoughts on it and that's what I like best about it, there isn't really anyone in my life who I can discuss novels with. I might lend a couple to my eldest brother when he asks for some but when he returns them, they are rarely without a comment on them (one exception being The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt which he said he really liked).  I also tend to bring up only short conversation on what I'm reading when with friends so writing the reviews I write is an outlet for them (usually on a Saturday afternoon).

 

Part of the reason I didn't do too many reviews before this year is the reasons brought up in the opening post, especially this reason "I don't have to post a review that has literary merit in its own right." and once I got over that my reviews didn't need to be as near detailed as one in The Irish Times, it gave me the confidence needed to write my own reviews.

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I really appreciate your reviews iff, since most of the time I haven't heard of these books. Although even when I have heard of them I have trouble finding them at my library or in local thrift shops. Your review of The Wonder today is a case in point. I was put off by the child narrator aspect of Room and had dismissed Donoghue. But your review today intrigued me and so I googled her and found she is quite the critical darling. That in itself isn't always a good thing, but it made me realize that I at least need to form an informed opinion myself. And that's all because of your review. Thanks iff!

Edited by Dan

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Part of the reason I didn't do too many reviews before this year is the reasons brought up in the opening post, especially this reason post "I don't have to a review that has literary merit in its own right." and once I got over that my reviews didn't need to be as near detailed as one in The Irish Times, it gave me the confidence needed to write my own reviews.

 

I am still nervous of posting reviews, even though I tell myself this. There is often such a gap between what I feel about a book and how to get that across to others. I will try again  :dunce:

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Part of the reason I didn't do too many reviews before this year is the reasons brought up in the opening post, especially this reason post "I don't have to a review that has literary merit in its own right." and once I got over that my reviews didn't need to be as near detailed as one in The Irish Times, it gave me the confidence needed to write my own reviews.

 

I am still nervous of posting reviews, even though I tell myself this. There is often such a gap between what I feel about a book and how to get that across to others. I will try again  :dunce:

 

 

Practice makes perfect.  When I'm reading someone else's review I simply want to know if they liked the book and if they thought that it was worth reading.  Let's face it, if I want a 'professional review' I can look that up elsewhere on the internet.

Edited by lunababymoonchild

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I would like to do more reviews but unfortunately time is often at a premium with me and if I'm going to do a review I like to try and say more than I liked/loathed it etc (tho not always) so that means spending a bit of time on it. Another reason for not writing more reviews is that very often even when I have nobody comments on it. Now I know nobody is obliged to comment on reviews and I'm not asking people to do so just to please me but if no one responds then I think that some of the books I read just aren't of interest to the people here on BGO and so I stop trying. And again I know that's the wrong attitude because reviews aren't just for members but can serve as signposts to the site for people googling books who may then become new members. Bottom line is if I had more time I'd write more reviews. But a big thank you to all those who do, you keep the site alive! 

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I would like to do more reviews but unfortunately time is often at a premium with me and if I'm going to do a review I like to try and say more than I liked/loathed it etc (tho not always) so that means spending a bit of time on it. Another reason for not writing more reviews is that very often even when I have nobody comments on it. Now I know nobody is obliged to comment on reviews and I'm not asking people to do so just to please me but if no one responds then I think that some of the books I read just aren't of interest to the people here on BGO and so I stop trying. And again I know that's the wrong attitude because reviews aren't just for members but can serve as signposts to the site for people googling books who may then become new members. Bottom line is if I had more time I'd write more reviews. But a big thank you to all those who do, you keep the site alive!

 

It is hard when there are no comments, especially when I see that there were many views, or I notice someone has that book in their booklist. But knowing that it is being viewed makes it seem worthwhile. And I usually 'follow' my own posts and it's satisfying when someone posts on that thread several months later. And even an 'I loved...' Or 'I loathed...' comment can spark a discussion.

One thing I started to do when I made a commitment to myself to review or at least comment on every book I read, and this is particularly useful with complex or interesting books, is to write plot blurbs on a notes page fairly early in the reading of a book. Or at least notes of things to remember. It's fairly quick to do and saves time when I try to write the actual post. But then I do all of this on my phone, because it is my only computer, and there is a notes page I can easily access.

One really cool thing about planning to write something about every book is that it helps me identify themes early on, and rather forces me to read the book with more of a critical, and even occasionally scholarly, eye. Not that I'm claiming any great insights. Just that it broadens and deepens the reading experience.

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One thing I started to do when I made a commitment to myself to review or at least comment on every book I read, and this is particularly useful with complex or interesting books, is to write plot blurbs on a notes page fairly early in the reading of a book. Or at least notes of things to remember. It's fairly quick to do and saves time when I try to write the actual post. But then I do all of this on my phone, because it is my only computer, and there is a notes page I can easily access.

One really cool thing about planning to write something about every book is that it helps me identify themes early on, and rather forces me to read the book with more of a critical, and even occasionally scholarly, eye. Not that I'm claiming any great insights. Just that it broadens and deepens the reading experience.

That's an interesting idea Dan, I hadn't thought about doing that. I also have a note facility on my phone which I use for all sorts of stuff so I'll give it a go and see if I can start adding book notes. 

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I'm now seeing the benefits of writing a review.  It just never occurred to me to do so except once in a while and now I think that it's a great idea I'll be doing so more often

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a thought as I type a review, sometimes I find when writing a review is that when trying to get out the thoughts, it affects my rating of it.

 

One book when trying to review, I took a star away from it when I put the thoughts. the current review, I start writing it and when putting it together, consider whether it should earn an additional star.

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This happens with me a lot, iff! There have been many books that didn't impress me much during the reading, but afterwards when I'm writing a review I think 'oh that was a nicely done trick', or 'that was a clever transition'. Some books are well written, but I just never become invested in them. And whether that is on me or on the author I just can't say. 

I also notice that my mental 'rating' of a book will often change for the better if I think about it very often. Real staying power seems to indicate a higher level of literary merit. 

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Having read reviews mostly posted by Dan and Mr. HG I realize that very few of the books I read would be much of a literary challenge - I read mostly for entertainment, as I think I've mentioned before, detective novels, thrillers, WWII books, naval and military, sometimes I feel as if I'm caught in a time warp.  For instance, right now I'm reading a murder mystery which happens in a small picturesque village where an independent living retirement home accounts for fifty percent of the residents.  Having friends who actually live in homes like these it is really interesting how they spend their days, what they used to work at, their likes and dislikes also the description of the Cumbrian village where the story takes place.  It provides a look into a small population which, although fiction, could readily be a true account of any small village.

 

And I just finished a couple of WWII books by James Barrington where a Major and a Lance Corporal are sent to France to check up on the French defences in 1940, on behalf of the British government, and then they are caught behind enemy lines and have to make their way back to a French port to get back to England. So in the last two lines I just reviewed the books. :)

 

So that's my excuse for not posting in depth reviews.:hmm:

 

Edited by momac

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I don't think that you need an excuse not to write a review Momac. 

 

I always assume that nobody is going to be interested in what I'm reading but having read this thread I'm posting reviews anyway.  I always like to see what others are reading, in case i miss something!

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I am never sure about posting reviews on books as I'm never sure whether or not my opinion is valid or whether what I have read warrants a review, I have a very eclectic taste will read practically anything once so I have convinced myself that some of the books I read wouldn't be of any interest to anyone other than me. There is also the fact this is such a huge site it can be a little intimidating to post a review, I have always looked for existing threads on books but on occasions have missed them, started a new one only to find later there was one there after all and I missed it and posted in the wrong place.

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1 hour ago, Apple said:

I am never sure about posting reviews on books as I'm never sure whether or not my opinion is valid or whether what I have read warrants a review, I have a very eclectic taste will read practically anything once so I have convinced myself that some of the books I read wouldn't be of any interest to anyone other than me. There is also the fact this is such a huge site it can be a little intimidating to post a review, I have always looked for existing threads on books but on occasions have missed them, started a new one only to find later there was one there after all and I missed it and posted in the wrong place.

 

I'm always interested in what you have to say about anything (as you know) and if you put it in the wrong place I'm sure the moderators don't mind moving it.  You won't be posting a review every five minutes after all.  I was of the same opinion (see the post just above yours) but post anyway because I always like to see what other people are reading and what they think of it.

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Honestly, I would pay more attention to a peer's comment/review about a book than I would to a critic's review. I love hearing what every-day readers have to say about books!

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I don't post a lot of reviews as I don't feel that I'm very good at it, however I make a point of reading reviews (and blogs) by people's whose taste I share and I've made some really good discoveries as a result. Doesn't always work but a much better hit rate than selecting books from newspaper reviews that often follow the same songbook as every other publication or are written by the author's friends.

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