Lola’s Ramblings: Why Do You Review Books?

Posted September 24, 2015 by Lola in Lola's Ramblings, Review / 32 Comments


Lola’s Rambings is a feature on Lola’s Review where I talk about me or ramble on about a book or non-book related topic. Usually these posts are everything that doesn’t fall under any standard header, like blog tours, book blitzes, cover reveals or reviews. Lola’s Ramblings posts are are personal discussions of a certain topic. Sometimes about book related topics and sometimes about non-book related topics. This feature was previously known as About Me. The banner for this feature is designed by Michelle from Limabean Designs.

On book blogs it is quite normal to see review posts, but lately I’ve also seen some bloggers decide not to review books. And I think that reviewing books should be a choice indeed. I love reviewing books and wouldn’t dream of stopping reviewing. But as valid as the question is why some bloggers don’t review, I think why people do review is just as a valid of a question. So I decided to talk about reviewing and why I review books

How I started reviewing books

KeyboardA few years ago when I started reading more english books I bought most of my books at a dutch site that’s a bit like amazon in how it sells books, but also lots of other products. They are also branching out to other countries in europe, but their company started in the netherlands. Back then every month you could win a gift card if you posted reviews on their site, so I decided to give it a try and reviewed a few of the books I read. I realized I enjoyed reviews, so I started writing reviews sporadically. I reviewed some, but not all books that I read. Before that I only had experience with the summary like reviews I had to write for literature during high school and I hated that, but I found out that reviewing books in my own way and with books I wasn’t forced to read was fun. Then I found goodreads and decided to write my reviews there, I think around then I stopepd reviewing on although I am not really sure why. Eventually I started reviewing every book I read, I received a few review copies and even joined a book blog as co-blogger and in december 2012 I started my own blog Lola’s Reviews.

Why I review books

  • Because I like reviewing books. I think this is probably my number 1 reason why I review books, simply because I enjoy writing reviews. If I had given reviewing a try and didn’t like it I doubt I would’ve continued after those first few reviews. But I did like it, so I kept writing reviews. I always have enjoyed writing and I think that in part is probably also why I enjoy blogging and writing reviews.
  • Because reviewing helps me order my thoughts about a book. For me writing my review helps me get my thoughts in order about a book. I often have thoughts swirling around when reading, but when writing my review I often realize which points where really important. Not all thoughts and points make it to my review and that’s okay as I feel that this way my review only contains those thoughts that stayed with me and are important enough to mention in my reviews. Often writing my review can surprise me. I have had a few reviews where I couldn’t decide on a rating and starting writing my review first and often then realize what I really thoughts of a book. Sometimes it’s more positive and sometimes more negative than I thought, but writing a review sure can be insightfull for me as well.
  • Mouse and mousepad

  • Because it is a way to express myself and share my opinion. Writing reviews is a way to express my opinion about the books I read and share that opinion with others. I like sharign my opinion about things I read and it’s a way to express my thoughts and emotions about a book. I also find it interesting to hear what other people think of my review or what they think of a book if they read t themselves as well.
  • Because it’s part of my reading process. It doesn’t feel like I really finished a book until I have written my review about it. Reviewing has become part of my reading process and I can’t imagine reading a book anymore without reviewing it. I also like wrapping up reading a book by reviewing it. It’s like my mind is filled with that book until I write my review and then that book is truly finished and I can start a new book.
  • Because I have a book blog. I like having a variety of posts on my blog and reviews are one of them. Even if I didn’t have a blog I probably would write reviews, I think it’s more that I started a blog because I was already writing reviews. but nowadays having a blog is also part of the reason why I write reviews. I write reviews so I can post them on my blog and share them with the world.
  • Because I receive review copies. I receive review copies, which means I get a book with the intent to review it. And that’s also part of the reason I review. Ofcourse this doesn’t apply to all books and this is also a bit of a circle reasoning and the reason why I receive review copies is because I review books.
  • Because I can help others decide if a book is for them. This is such an amazing part of being a reviewer, being able to help other decide whether or not to read a book. I don’t think there is a bigger compliment than hearing your review helped another reader decide whether to read a book. This is also one of the reasons I like reading other people their reviews, they are very helpfull when deciding if a book is for me or not. And I encounter books I might not have otherwise.
  • Because I can help spread the word about books. I like spreading the word about books I read and writing reviews for books I read is one way to do that. When I enjoyed a book I want others to hear about it so they might read it if they like the sound of the book.
  • Because I can help authors by reviewing their books. I have met some awesome authors while reviewing and blogging and it’s nice to be able to do something back. It’s nice to feel helpfull when writing reviews and knowing it’s a big help to the author. That never stopped me from writing honest review, but I still think it’s part of the reason for reviewing. If no one would read my reviews and they wouldn’t help others, part of the reason for writing them falls away.

So to sum it up I write my reviews both for myself and for others, other readers and authors. Even though there are many reasons why I write reviews, the most important one is still that I enjoy it and for myself. If I didn’t enjoy writing reviews I never would’ve continued and even though there are more reasons nowadays why I reviews books, that one is still the most important one.

How did you start reviewing books? Why do you review books? Or if you don’t review books, why not?


32 responses to “Lola’s Ramblings: Why Do You Review Books?

  1. Red Iza

    Very good points ! I started reviewing books for 2 reasons.
    1, I wanted to keep a record of the books I read, what I liked/disliked in them, so why not share it and help other readers the way they helped me ?
    2, I used to say about a book/movie I liked “it was good”. Period. I thought trying to explain why and how and being more articulated about the whole thing could only do me good ! And it helps me in my work, bonus 😉 The review copies are another bonus 😀

    • I already have had it quite a few times that I looked up my review of a book to remind myself of what I thought of it. It’s really handy to have a record of what you thought of the books you read and there are a few books I read before I started reviewing that I wish I had reviewed as I can’t remember what I did or didn’t like.

      I also used to say I enjoyed a book or movie and then not much more. Reviewing really challenged me to think about what excatly I did and didn’t like about a book and also more in general things I like or don’t like in books. And review copies are a nice bonus indeed 😉

  2. I share many of those reasons for doing reviews, too. I am struck by the fact that I need to review to feel I’ve finished reading a book. I wouldn’t have thought of it until you pointed it out, but its true for me, too. I love to review and it really does help organize my thoughts about a book.

    I first started writing reviews b/c an author friend was getting started and needed the reviews to help get word out about her books. It then became a challenge to review each book I read. My sister in law pointed out GoodReads and I joined in 2011. Loved having it as a place to keep track of my books and reviews. I reviewed on Amazon and GoodReads for a year before I started reviewing on Shari’s Delighted Reader blog in March of 2012.
    Sophia Rose recently posted…These Two Need a Lick of Sense … Lick by Kylie Scott #Review #AudioReviewMy Profile

    • It really surprised that after awhile reviewing has become part of the readign process to me and I need to write my review before I feel like I truly finished a book. It also helps me organize my thoughts and makes me focus on what I really liked or didn’t about the book and why. It’s also nice to write all those thoughts down.

      I started on goodreads before I moved to a blog as well. I didn’t realize you had been on Delighted Reader blog that long already as I only met you about a year or so ago I think! You’ve been blogging longer than me 😉

  3. I first started reviewing books because I wanted to share my thoughts about the books I read. Then I had a couple of blogs ask me to write reviews for them and I was really surprised because I didn’t think my reviews were very good. I’ve read other reviews that were much better at review writing so that boosted my confidence to write more reviews.
    Mary Kirkland recently posted…Review: Tom Box Subscription BoxMy Profile

    • Sounds like a fun way to start reviewing with other blogs asking you to write reviews for them. I did a few guest reviews on the blog I later joined as co-blogger and those reviews boasted my confidence as well and I started writing more and more reviews.

      I sometimes cringe when I look back to some of my older reviews, I feel that over the years my reviewing style really changed and I got more my own style.

    • I know quite some authors still review books, but I can also understand why you choose not to. It’s a bit of a grey area with what is right to do in that situation and how to handle it. I do like that you still talk about books you read and loved, that’s still a nice way to talk about them without reviewing them.

  4. I like to review books for two reasons. The first is because I think it’s fun to let others know what I thought and help them decide if they want to read it. The second is because it helps me remember what I thought about a book if I wanted to reread it.
    Jenni Elyse (@jenni_elyse) recently posted…Reading SlumpMy Profile

    • Those are both great reasons to review in my opinion. It’s really handy to be able to look up your review to remember what you thought of a book. A few times when I came across a review for a book I read on another blog, I looked up my own review of the book to refresh my memory of what I thought of it.

  5. This is SO ME TOO. I review books firstly because I like them. And even before I was book blogging, I had little notebooks of reviews. XD A big part for me was the fact that I have a hoooorrific memory. But as soon as I wrote down my thoughts on a book I remembered it better. x) And it’s also nice to just get excited and flail about a book online and get other people excited about it too! 😀
    Cait @ Paper Fury recently posted…Interview With Derek Landy (!!) About #DemonRoad + Giveaway (!!) And Just General FabulousnessMy Profile

    • Even though my memory is pretty good, the older a book the less I remember about it. I do think that reviewing books made my memory for books better, probably as you spent more time thinking and writing about it. And I totally agree with your last point, it’s awesome to get excited about a book and hear what others thought of it or get them excited too.

  6. I started reviewing to share my love of books and to help me remember why I loved a book. I started off as a guest reviewer for Hot Listens and the found out how much I enjoyed it. Now I write for both Hot Listens and Rabid Reads. I do also love helping out the authors getting the word out about their books. Nothing makes me feel better than having someone find a new book/author that they love based on a review that I wrote. I also love when I hear that I’ve convinced someone to become an audiobook junkie, like myself.
    Melanie Simmons @mlsimmons recently posted…Pandemic Audiobook by Scott Sigler (REVIEW)My Profile

    • Yes that’s the best when someone else finds out about a new book or athor thanks to a review you wrote. I also like hearing when someone adds abook to their to-read list after reading my review. It’s amazing to realize how my opinion can infuence whether others want to read a book or not. It’s nice to write reviews and have a way to remidn yourself of why you loved it and spread the lvoe about that book.

  7. Ooooh! It’s interesting to know that you didn’t like reviewing books before when they were a “requirement” for school because it was the same way for me. Our teachers would give us books to read and then have us give a “book report” and it was just awful doing that especially since I never really liked many of the books they gave then 🙁 Makes it worse when my parents forced me to do my brothers’ book reports, too!

    In any case, I review for the same reasons as you – because I like it, because it makes me think and it makes my thinking sharp as I need to think while reading, and I love that there are people out there who follow my reviews and have trust in my opinions. It’s a nice feeling knowing your insights are validated, if you know what I mean??? I’m not even sure if that’s the right word! XD
    Faye la Patata recently posted…Read-Alikes Recommendations: Adult Fiction for Young Adult Lovers!My Profile

    • Yeah it was more a summary back then and we had to talk about certian subjects and it was no fun as it was so restictive. And most of those books weren’t books I really liked or would’ve picked up if it wasn’t for school. Reading for school really get’s the fun out reading.
      When I write my reviews now I can decide what to mention and what not and if I don’t want to address a certain topic I don’t have to. And indeed knowing that people read your reviews makes it feel like they are worth more and that your opinion is valuable. It’s a great feeling :).

  8. Love your thoughts on this topic!! I think what did it for me, is I loved reading most especially romance and I wanted to share my views on those books I loved with others. But the big pivotal moment, was I wanted to run a book review blog, so I would need to right? I find so much joy in writing reviews, it definitely helps me look deeper into a story, the way characters grow and the way plot develops and I look at books with such a different eye than before. Which is definitely a good thing. My goal is to review just about every book I read, even if its a small one on Goodreads, I want to get a review down for those books I read.
    Renee (@Addictofromance) recently posted…Blog Tour Feature: Stranded With The CyborgMy Profile

    • For me the reviewing came first and the blog came later. I started a blog because I enjoyed reviewing. I really enjoy writing reviews and sharing my opinion about books with others. It also changed how I look at a story and I am mor aware now about what I do and don’t like in books. I also review every book I read, also the books I DNF and some are shorter reviews, but I find it important to write down something at least. Most are longer reviews though, with the exception of DNf reviews, those are often shorter.
      Lola recently posted…Lola’s Kitchen: Banana Crumble Muffins RecipeMy Profile

  9. I started book blogging because I’d been laid off and decided it was time to start a new website of some kind. I was doing a lot of reading while looking for a new job, and thought it would be fun to do book reviews. A year later, and I’m still having fun, so I’m still here! *laughs*

    Getting free books for review is a nice perk, but mostly I do it because I like it and it’s fun for me. Plus I like the community.
    Silvara recently posted…Thief’s Magic (Millennium’s Rule #1) by Trudi Canavan (review)My Profile

    • It sure takes a lot of time and keeps you busy, so I can understand why you started a blog when you got laid off and searching for a new job. It’s good that you still have fun! I think that’s what most important! And indeed the free books are a nice perk.

  10. I started reviewing because I wanted to get more experience writing, I thought the best way to do that would be to start a blog and I would blog about books (though I was a food blog for about a week). I just wanted to share what I was reading and it also gave me a nice record of how I felt about books. I love reading reviews as they inspire me to try new books. I have discovered so many new authors through reading other bloggers reviews.
    Heather @ Random Redheaded Ramblings recently posted…REVIEW – The End Of The World As We Knew It by Nick ColeMy Profile

    • I think that’s a good reason to start reviewing too, I certainly feel like I got more experience with writing in general thanks to my blog. I didn’t knew you had a food blog first, I follow a few food blogs for cooking inspiration ;). I love reading reviews for the same reason, I have discovered so many good books thnaks to other book bloggers and their reviews.

    • For me the fact that I love reviewing is also the most important reason. I think it’s nice to be able to share my thoughts about a book with others.

  11. This post is AMAZING! And such a good question, really. I mean, we all have probably written reviews, but how many of us sat down to ask “why”? Basically, while I NOW have other reasons for writing them, it started because I wanted to shout my thoughts at people. I feel like it’s almost a little narcissistic in nature, but I didn’t feel like keeping my opinions to myself, basically. It actually all started with Fifty Shades of Grey, and my desire-no, NEED- to tell the world how awful I thought it was. Then Allegiant came along, and, well, same. So I started reviewing things like, in passing, only occasionally, but I started to enjoy it. And realized that I needed to say MORE things than I could on Goodreads. The result? A book blog!

    NOW, I review for so many of the same reasons you do- I like sharing my opinion, supporting authors, spreading the word, because I have review copies, and it’s just plain old fun! Plus, I enjoy writing in general, so it’s a fabulous prompt 😉
    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight recently posted…This Week At Midnight (80)My Profile

    • Thanks! It’s a question most probably don’t consciously think about, that’s why I thought it was such an interesting topic to write about. Some books really bring out that urge to tell the whole world about it, when I started I mostly reviewed those books I felt strongly about and eventually it became a habbit. I think you summed it up pretty well, a book blog is a way to say and talk even more about books than only reviews.

  12. Sam

    I started leaving Goodreads/Amazon reviews, because my daughter guilted me into it. She is a book blogger, and she is passionate about how leaving a review is important for the author. Then, I started tagging along with her to signings and Cons and it cemented this responsibility in my mind. I am not very good at it (I am not a blogger). I struggle with how to express my feelings, while leaving important plot points ambiguous, but I still leave a blurb.

    • How fun that your daughter got you into reviewing. I had trouble with reviewing at first too, but I felt that the longer I wrote reviews the more I got my own style and noticed what I find important in books and how I want to write reviews. You’ll find your own style eventually, as long as you enjoy writing the reviews that’s what matters.
      Lola recently posted…Review: Burying Water by K.A. TuckerMy Profile

  13. All of those reasons really. Mostly though I just like writing them (and reading them). I like that I’m creating a book journal for myself with my reviews and I love that I can refresh my memory on a book by reading my review. Like you I started writing reviews first and then my blog was just the next step on from that for me. I also like being creative with words and I have no desire to write a book but writing reviews satisfies that need in me to just write.
    Trish @ Between My Lines recently posted…Bookish Chat : Escapism though reading!My Profile

    • It’s so handy to be able to refresh your memory of a book by reading your own reviews. I fele that most bloggers started with reviews first and then started a blog. I liek that with my blog I also can share other posts beside reviews, although I still do a lot of reviews too as I enjoy writing them. I always wanted to be a writer when I was a kid, but at this point I think writing reviews satisfies that need to write for me.

    • It sure is great how you can write reviews for yourself and help others with it as the same time. I really like having a journal of all the books I read and an easy way to look up what I thought of a book.

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