making space for books

Thursday, July 16, 2015 |
I do not tend to think of my blog slowdown (posting has neared a standstill at points over the last year!)(you may have noticed. or not.) as a positive thing. There are good books I've missed, even better conversations skipped entirely, and potential new internet friendships ignored. However, there is a silver lining to the quiet (probably several, really): I now sit with books. I make space to contemplate them – sometimes unconsciously. I still read them at the same speed as ever, and after I finish I continue to jot down notes and reflections to help recall later what I liked and didn't like.

But then I wait. I let my heart stop hammering and my tears dry.  I turn those thoughts over and over. Sometimes I change my mind entirely. Sometimes when I get down to finally writing and posting the review I focus on a theme or outside concern that doesn't bear any relation to the direction my notes took in the first place. I think it’s a wonderful change. My reviews end up more thoughtful, or at least more representative of the reading experience I had and the way I'll remember the book down the road. 

Anecdotal evidence suggests that these long-mulled reviews end up being more positive than the ones I used to finish one night and post the next day.  And I don’t mean positive as in “I love every book I read now!”  I mean it in the sense that I am more enthusiastic about the books I’ve read, and who they might be perfect for.  I bring up books in conversation more often, even if they were not my cup of tea.  I’m sharing them more readily, too (both recommendations and physical copies).

I take this rekindled enthusiasm as a promising sign for both my reading and my blog.  I needed the “blog break” over the past year, though I lamented (and was ashamed of) it at the time.  But these days I’m excited to read, and consider my reading, in a slightly different way.  It’s a good thing.

I’m curious: How long do you consider a review and/or how long does it take you to write a review?


La Coccinelle said...

I have to review pretty much right away, or I'll forget things. Even if I make notes, I'll still forget. Sometimes I read my old reviews and it's like reading a review for a book I've never read!

Jenny @ Reading the End said...

I'm the same as La Coccinelle! If I don't get a review written pretty quickly after finishing a book, I'm unlikely to write one at all. Right now I'm behind on my review scheduling, but I keep finishing books and not writing about them, and when I try to write about them a week later, I've forgotten everything. :/

On the other hand, I am trying to review mainly books where I feel like I have something to say: Whether it's OMG READ THIS or WOW this has some problems, or WHAT FUN but with a caveat, those are the books I'm more likely to end up reviewing. The "meh" reads that leave no impression -- increasingly, I'm letting those go.

Anonymous said...

I often use goodreads status updates for notes which helps me take time to mull. Also now that I have a buffer a few months out I feel like I can ponder without feeling like I'm "wasting" time. I'm glad your break helped you regroup and refocus--it's always important to take time to do that!

Memory said...

I generally outline a review within a week of when I finish a book, but I'll often let it sit for a while after that. When I come back to my notes, I reincorporate anything else I've thought of in the time since, draft the review, and let it sit for another day or two before I revise and schedule it. It gives me plenty of time to decide how I feel, and to see if any of my first impressions have changed once I've mulled the story over for a bit longer.

Nan said...

This was so wonderful to read. I love the changes you've made, and how they have affected you. I've not had the time to blog in the past two years, and I have sorely missed it. Writing my blog slows me down and makes me notice things, and think about things in a way I don't when I'm not writing. I'm slowly making my way back, as my time has opened up a bit.

Liviania said...

I find I take about thirty minutes to write a review. The most crazy enthusiastic ones come easiest and often go on longest. Lately I've been thinking of slowing down because I haven't felt super passionate about a book in some time, but at the same time there are so many I want to read I feel guilty about going slower.

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