What a boring title…. I need to work on that. But! I am really excited about this topic of the format of reviews. I write my reviews in a very structured way with an opening paragraph, the information about the books, the strengths, the weaknesses, and a summary for people who skip to the bottom ;-). I definitely use a “list” format for my reviews every single time. This is in stark contrast to the paragraph style that you generally find on book review blogs. From time to time I see people use a list style when they declare they are feeling lazy or having trouble coming up with thoughts on the book. I suppose you could make the argument that I feel lazy at all times when reviewing (being a grad student is hard D:), but I am also making a deliberate choice to use the format that I do for two reasons: I like writing list reviews and I like reading list reviews.
Easier to Write?
I tried to write paragraph reviews when I first started book blogging a year and a half ago. I really did try. But I’m horrible at it! I found myself rambling on and on or completely stumped. I would find myself sitting at the computer feeling my soul was being sucked out through my fingertips, and I don’t really want a hobby to suck my soul out through my fingertips, ya know? It seems that hobbies should by definition not suck out souls (unless your hobby is literally soul sucking I guess…. Weird thought, moving on!) As soon as I started making a list of what I liked and disliked, I found myself so much happier writing reviews and much happier with the end product. I think at first I meant to make an outline and then write in paragraphs. But then I thought through what seemed to be easiest for readers (from my perspective!), and I decided to just stick with what seemed easier all around. And really, I know that if I hadn’t made that switch, I wouldn’t have kept book blogging!
Easier to Read?
That brings me to the reader’s perspective :D. Obviously I’m just one person, but I didn’t really have the time to form a product testing group when I started book blogging, so my opinion was the one I went with ;-). When I do find a review that is in list form, I have such an easier time reading it! I often find myself skimming reviews that are in paragraph form, reading the first sentence of each paragraph to try to get the idea. I basically am turning the paragraphs into lists in my head. We are all busy people, and I find myself reading blog posts when the boyfriend is watching TV or when I’m bleary-eyed in the morning, e.e. times when I’m not really able to give 100% attention to what I’m reading. Lists make it a lot easier for the portion of my brain that is capable of paying attention to know what is going on, hehe.
I think it’s likely I’m in the minority on this one, given the number of reviews that are written in paragraph form. I’m really interested to hear the other side. What is it that makes you enjoy writing paragraph style reviews (if you do)? Do you have a strong preference on which form you prefer to read? (Hopefully you don’t completely hate list-style reviews given the blog you’re reading, hehe.) What do you think the strengths of both styles are?
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