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Do You Ever Read Books Without Reviewing?

Reading without Reviewing?

Reading Books Without Reviewing Them

Hi lovely readers! I wanted to ask your advice today and get a general idea of how people handle books that they read but don’t want to review for one reason or another. For the most part I review everything I read because of the pressure to get more content up and my desire to get my thoughts out there. However, I’ve been thinking about situations where I wouldn’t really want to write up a review, and I’m interested in what other reasons some of you might have….

It’s All Been Said Already

I’ve run into this feeling with a number of books recently, most notably Catching Fire and Mockingjay. I mean, let’s be honest, it probably has already been said! I just can’t think of what I could contribute to these books anymore, since it seems likely that anyone who wants to read them already has, or is planning to. Anyone who hasn’t heard of them either has no interest in that genre/reading in general or is new to the scene. I suppose it is fun to write about last year’s (two years, etc) popular books and reminisce, but perhaps then a discussion post with lots of spoilers would be better? As a blog reader, do you like reading posts about older books you’ve already heard of, but not for a while? Or is it just noise that you skip over?

I Can’t Figure Out What I Think

This fortunately hasn’t happened to me yet, but I’ve been close. What if you reach the end of a book, and you just have no idea what to say about it? I’ve had a couple books where I didn’t have much of an opinion, especially because I felt like all my criticisms were due to be reading outside of my genre, so I wasn’t sure I should say anything. So far, I’ve been able to think through my feelings (gah, feelings!) more and sort out what was the book’s fault and what was my brain’s fault, but I’m worried I’ll find a book where this can’t happen for one reason or another. Has anyone decided not to review a book they read for this reason? If no one says this has happened to them, I’ll be reassured ;-) (this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t say anything, tell me!).

The Book Doesn’t Fit My Blog

This one I can totally understand. If you have a blog with a fairly specific theme and you are trying to keep to that genre(s), skipping reviewing a book for your blog makes complete sense. In these situations, do you still write a review for Goodreads/Amazon/etc? I think I would be conflicted since I would in part rather be spending time reading more books! This reason is also why there is the “(mostly)” in my blog description ;-). If you choose to post only positive reviews, not liking the book also makes perfect sense :).

Avoiding The Stress A Bit

I haven’t had too much trouble with stressing out while reading books to review, however I can imagine knowing you are going to review a book would change some people’s reading experiences. Do you ever feel like you need to take a break from reading books to review them?

I’m sure there are lots more reasons out there, and I really want to hear them! Have you ever decided to read a book without reviewing it? If so, what were your reasons? Do you find yourself reviewing most of the books you read, or does it really depend?

Happy Reading!

Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings -A

© 2013, Anya. All rights reserved.


  1. Correction – The Scorpio Races.

  2. I claim “no rating” for the books that I don’t know how I feel about. Because the back and forth nature of indecision means that one day I could love it or hate it (example, The Scorpio Trials has no rating for me). I find that I am perfectly able to describe what works and what does not but identifying where it falls into a scale of
    love is problematic for me. i think this happens more with people who don’t like writing negative reviews. I don’t mind doing that at all.

    Conversely I have problems writing reviews about the book that everyone wants so far ahead of schedule without spoiling it. Particularly those books that are in the upper echelon of want (example – Insurgent, which I have not read but that’s the level of book I mean). I find that just telling people I have it and read it can be perceived as bragging so I don ‘t bother writing a review. It’s just easier.

    Older books I write reviews all the time regardless if people care or not. It matters to me to write them. If that makes sense.

    • I didn’t actually finish Scorpio Races … >.> I should try again, but I didn’t really know what I was getting into and was bored :(

      I write reviews for books far ahead of release date and then just save them for closer to the date, otherwise I would completely forget my thoughts on it! But I agree, figuring out when to review a book is tricky…

      yes, older books need more love in general! There are so many awesome older books that got skipped for some reason, so I actually really appreciate that :)

      • Sometimes writing a review for an older title convinces someone to pick it up and they might otherwise never have. So there’s that. Also, i do like your ” a dragon wants to talk to you ” widget. You should show me what it is again.

        • Exactly! Sounds good, I’m around on Tuesdays :D It’s a plugin called Comment Reply Notification and I would love to help you set it up ;-)

  3. First off, I read your blog because I care what you think on books. So, yes, i do want to know what you think of The Hunger Games trilogy because I know that you also like these other books that I like. Please keep including older books because I don’t read what everyone else has said; I read what a handful of trusted bloggers say.

    Second, even if you are reading outside of your fave genres, your opinion still counts. You can state up front that you haven’t read much steampunk/alternate history set in Imperialist Russia, so certain sections of the book flew right by, etc. That said, the rest of your review still carries weight.

    The only thing I have had trouble with on reviewing books is when I feel I need to let potential readers know there is adult content. Now I personally don’t have trouble using adult vocabulary to describe situations or positions, etc. But I also don’t want my blog flagged as 18+ only sites. So, i have to get creative on the write up or leave things out. Violence isn’t so hard, because this country is far more touchy about sex than violence in the media.

    • Yey, sounds good! I will definitely write up my review of Mockingjay soon, omg life xD

      Thank you for the recommendation on reviewing outside of my genre, I’ve been struggling with how to tackle that recently since I’m trying to broaden my reading tastes lol

      That is a good point about mature content. I keep toggling back and forth between whether I should give violence/swearing/maturity warnings in reviews. I think for the most part adults read my blog, so I guess I haven’t been too worried about it, haha.

  4. I review everything I read.
    I’ve had one instance where I read a book that was so strange and weird, I honestly had no idea what I just read or what I could possibly say about it. It was a used bookstore find and I never reviewed it. Had it been a book for an author or something, i would have figured out what to say, but it wasn’t, so I just overlooked it.
    I don’t really run a review blog for other people, I run it for myself. I enjoy being able to talk about books. since I read so many, I can actually go through my old reviews and jog my memory about a book and remember the details. Reviewing books helps me move on to the next book, too. And on top of all of that, it helps authors and other readers, so that’s really just a plus. I don’t find reviewing books to be all that time consuming or stressful because I enjoy it. I feel like if I read a book and don’t review it or talk about it in a book club or with friends, I’m sort of alone in my feelings. Writing a review allows me to reach out and express myself. It was the whole reason I started reviewing books before I knew book blogging was a “thing” so.. I always write something down!
    It is all the OTHER blog content that I spend more time stressing about, really. Memes, giveaways, random posts.. etc. I’ll always have a steady stream of reviews. It’s the everyday content that I stress about staying on top of.

    • That is an important distinction between reviewing for others and reviewing for yourself, excellent point. I completely understand stressing about the “extra” posts. I have gotten a pretty good rhythm going with reviews, but I also like to have discussion posts like these and I’m worried I’ll run out of things to say! The one thing I would say about memes etc though is that if you aren’t enjoying writing the meme, then you could probably skip it. I know a lot of readers are less interested in meme posts than reviews anyway ;-)

  5. Until last fall, I was extremely diligent with writing a review for every single book I read. I wouldn’t necessarily publish them all on my blog, but I’d post them on my Goodreads and LibraryThing accounts. It wasn’t for others so much as it was for me to practice my reviewing skills. Then, Fall 2012 happened, and between last August and this February I basically didn’t write a single full-length review. Mostly, my non-blogging life got in the way; and I felt like I was also in the middle of changing my reading preferences. I knew how to write reviews for MG and YA, but what if I wanted to read more adult fiction? I didn’t know how to write reviews for those.

    Too much time passed and I had to give up on trying to write reviews for a lot of the books I read during the second half of last year. I still have the mentality that I should write a review for each book I read, regardless of its genre. Only, now, I’m less hesitant to share those with my blog readers.

    Great post. :)

    • What do you find are the differences between YA/MG books and adult books? I have occasional MG books to review, but I’ve found I think about reviewing them the same way, so I’m curious if I’m missing a difference I should pay attention to, haha!

      I definitely understand opting to let go of books you read a while ago. I keep thinking that I want to go back and review some of the books I read before starting blogging, but there is always other stuff that needs to be done instead ;-) Thanks for commenting!

  6. This is a fantastic post! I love your discussions. I definitely read books that I don’t review. A lot of times it’s because it’s been heavily reviewed. Or if it is a ‘for fun book’ that is fluff, I won’t review it (I’ll admit to reading some new adult and contemporary romance that I don’t bother reviewing, because they all seem to be similarish – unless it really struck me). If the series has been out a while and HEAVILY reviewed, like you said THG, than I probably wouldn’t bother. That is a really great example. Though if it is older and not as widely known I will. When I started blogging, I had a lot more of those “I have nothing to say about this book. ahhhhhh!!!!” moments, but the more I write reviews, the better I’ve become at coming up with thoughts, and now my problem is that I tend to over write.

    I review to remind myself what I thought about a book, but also to add my thoughts an assessment to a book. But I do feel a lot of pressure to review and keep current. Sometimes if I’m feeling reviewed-out, I’ll purposefully choose a book that I don’t plan to review and then just enjoy it without the analyzing, because I think my experience with it is sometimes different.

    • I’ve also experienced becoming more able to put together thoughts the longer I review, so helpful! I completely understand the pressure to keep current, that is turning into a struggle to decide whether to read older books or all the new ones, since I’m not sure which people will be more interested seeing….

  7. Nice list of reasons.

    I have run into a few of them myself. Not fitting my blog is often the main one, though it’s not very often that I allow myself to stray outside of review books. Time is tight, you know? But like right now I’m reading an Alan Bradley book, which isn’t YA/MG at all, despite featuring an 11-year-old protagonist.

    Another big reason for me is if I’ve already read the book at least once. I like to review based on my first impressions, reading as my followers will read if they follow my suggestion to check out the book in question. I haven’t yet gone back to review a book that I read pre-blog.

    • I’m impressed you stick to review books so much. Maybe it’s the books that I accepted for review requests, but I find myself needing to take breaks between review request books because they tend to be less interesting than all the pretty ones I got myself.

      That’s a good point about re-reading, though I never find time to re-read these days it seems, time is tight!

  8. Livvy @Nerdy Book Reviews says:

    I have to say that most of the time I review all the books I read since I didn’t limit my blog as I didn’t want to place such restrictions on myself. However the odd time I’ve read a book or skim read thinking it has been dire and I just haven’t bothered to review it because I haven’t felt like I’ve read it sufficiently. Or sometimes it’s just a really trashy novel that you occasionally read, then I don’t review them. However I think good or bad I review to give a balanced opinion to my blog.

    I think it’s hard to write a review on something you don’t really have an opinion on, but I’d always give it a try. I feel worse about ones where I don’t like them and somebody has asked me to write a review.

    Personally, most of the time I’ve never read the really popular books so I like reading the reviews, but I guess it depends. It’s nice to get anothers’ thoughts on them after so long.

    • I agree that I like to give a balanced opinion, but I’ve found myself liking so many of the books recently that there is less balance now, oh well XD It’s definitely hard when an author is waiting on a review and you don’t think they’ll like what you say, but I’ve generally had pretty good responses. A couple have even implemented my suggestions in new editions or asked me to beta read their next one. I was pretty excited for those responses though ;-)

      • Livvy @Nerdy Book Reviews says:

        That’s good. I had one rather rude author response, but then he apologised, so I haven’t had a problem. At the end of the day I say I give honest opinions, they should be able to take that, not expect gushing…

  9. Yes! I have started doing that because I am finding some books I either feel I have nothing unique to say about them or I am uninspired to do art for them!

    • Oo yes, doing the art for your reviews would be hard if you can’t think of anything for them! Your picture reviews are so awesome but it would definitely stress me out to force something when it just wasn’t happening.

  10. This is a great question! :) I’ve been facing this a lot lately. A lot of Adult/MG books I read I don’t review. There are 2 very popular books I recently read but haven’t reviewed because I really hated them. Ironically, they are both in my favorite genre (contemporary YA) but I can’t stand them. I haven’t written the reviews because even though I have some legitimate reasons for not liking them (bad boyfriend choice/cheating) a lot of it has to do with my personal opinion and I’m afraid of offending my fellow book bloggers who I know adore the books. Another reason I don’t review books is because I don’t really have much to say. Like, “I read it when I was bored. It was okay. Not really good or bad.”

    Alice @ Alice in Readerland

    • Ugh, I agree, I am automatically turned off by cheating in books D: Though now I’m interested in which they were…. >.>

  11. I read and don’t review books all the time. Unless I got the book for review, of course. I just read way too much to have time and energy to review it all, even though I feel bad about it :( I read around 3 books a week, depending on length and how much time I’ve got. It just takes me so long to write a review and bring my thoughts into a comprehensive written form! (I don’t usually think in words, much less full sentences). Or sometimes I know what to say, but somehow can’t bring myself to open a file and write it down. I don’t know why – it sure sounds simple enough, doesn’t it?
    That being said, I have more trouble if the book was either absolutely amazing or rather terrible. With the first one, I have no idea how to do it justice, with the second I feel bad about stating my honest opinion.
    But I also get your ‘it’s been said’ point! I’ve thought about making a discussion post to a series and just talking about all the books, with a spoiler warning of course. That way it’d be possible to focus more on the themes/content/relationships than it is in a regular review.
    Major respect to you for reviewing all that you read though! o.O I’d never manage…

    • I completely understand with wanting to skip writing reviews if you are reading that many books! I also have a hard time opening the file to write something down, I have to start with post-it notes just to get notes down, otherwise I can’t manage to think when the screen is staring at me ;-)

      I think we should go with this discussion idea, since when I super love a book or just have an overwhelming number of FEELINGS, I need to write with spoilers, haha!

  12. I know what you mean about the ”everything has already been said” bit. I haven’t run into that since I run the blog but I did when I read the Lord of the Rings. I do feel that a newer review helps others who may have been holdouts (for whatever reason) to maybe reconsider after seeing a fresh, recent review. I know that I am always interested in reading new reviews on beloved books, even if I’ve read the books way back…

    That being said, if writing any review is causing you to stress and that you feel you have nothing new to add. OR that you aren’t sure how you feel then by all means just skip those kinds of reviews :)

    • I also hope that it might remind someone of a book they always meant to read, since I totally forget about all the new books I want to read in busy seasons!

      That’s excellent advice! I do need to remember that even the reviewing part should be fun ;-) I’m too used to overdoing everything, ahaha

  13. I’ve actually run into a review problem very recently. I read a book written by someone I know well and work with to publish my own books. (They say you shouldn’t review friends books. This is one reason why,) I REALLY didn’t like the book. My problem is that I don’t have much that’s positive to say about it. While I totally believe in expressing my true opinion, I also don’t believe in smearing an author online, and as I said, this is someone I know. If it were anyone else, I probably would just not post a review at all, but he’s waiting for my review. I dealt with it by thinking really hard about the book and working to come up with at least a few positive things. Then I wrote the review, leading with the good, but being honest about why I was turned off by the book. It will run tomorrow, and I kind of home it just slips by under his radar. I’m a bit nervous, but I feel good about the review I’ve written.

    • I completely understand about that! I was actually a tiny bit nervous about this situation with your book since I feel like we’ve become friends through the read along ;-) But then I loved it so it wasn’t a problem ;-) Maybe give them a warning before hand and let them down easy? Generally I would hope that anyone we are friends with would understand that a book just didn’t work for us and it isn’t personal :(

  14. I don’t review books that I really didn’t like on my blog, but I post comments about it on Goodreads. I don’t like writing very negative reviews because I don’t think it’s fair to the author, so I don’t review those on the blog. Also, if I’ve received the second or third book in a new-to-me series for review, I read the previous books quickly, but I don’t review them unless I really enjoyed them and wanted to put my thoughts out there. I save my time to review the book I was meant to :)
    But yeah, I mostly review everything I read. I feel bad if I don’t :P

    • That makes sense, though do you worry that you’re readers might try the book that you didn’t like and waste their time on it? I’m always conflicted about negative reviews for that reason :-/

      Books in a series is a good point! Though I find that the reading takes the most time, so then I want to get reviews out of it, haha!

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