Let’s face the facts, people. A blogger here and there is predisposed to brooding over the fruits of one’s labor (or lack thereof) in terms of writing a review. I myself have given the issue some thought, and have asked myself: Is it worth writing a review? Does a blogger even need to?
In my opinion, the answer is yes and no. And I mean that separately. Let’s try to break it down.
Sometimes the effort we exert is not commensurate to the attention we receive. I myself don’t mind in the least that my reviews seem to receive the least thought and scrutiny, though I give my reviews much retrospect and no lack of revisions—I examine the plot, the originality, the pacing, the characters, the romance, and a tidy sum of other elements that may have bothered me to no end, or given me cause to put the book on a temporary pedestal and sing it seemingly endless praise. I myself am able to appreciate reviews better when they are detailed, comprehensive, blow-by-blow accounts of the reader’s experience, which break down the content whilst avoiding potential spoilers. This is, as opposed to those that simply tell me to
‘READ IT NOW I SWEAR’
or that ‘OMG THIS BOOK. THE FEELS! *FANGIRLING*’
or ‘STAY AWAY. NOW EXCUSE ME AS I BURN THIS BOOK TO A GOOD CRISP’
… or something. I mean, it’s good that remarks like these expressly tell me how one feels for a particular title, but it isn’t convincing enough without solid proof, a finicky explanation of the pros and cons, substantiated by examples (albeit amorphous or superficial, so as to avoid botching the entire thing with an incompetent spoiler). Because of the fact, however, that the books we read aren’t usually known to many
unless you’re too mainstream for your own good, only interest few, and are consequently read by little, the circumstances blaze a trail towards the million dollar question of whether or not our efforts are in vain.
Earlier reviews hold less ground for discussions. Oh, admit it! When you’re a blogger, you are simply bacchanal over recently released titles, especially ones instantaneously at your hands the moment they hit the precious shelves. I myself get ten times more excited to read such books, especially series finales I’ve been
unwillingly patiently waiting for. However, the problem with these new books is that only a select few have done reading it. If most people who haven’t read a certain book (or don’t plan to), skip through your reviews when they pop up on feed-readers, for fear of spoilers or any number of other reasons, your post won’t get the attention you may have seen in the cards, which of course is somewhat pitiful and heartbreaking. Of course, we must take into account readers and bloggers alike who read reviews for what they’re worth—that is, for a general overview of a relevant book, one that could help them decide to commit oneself to a book or otherwise, ultimately drop it. The question remains, however.
People tend to skim through more detailed reviews. Color me guilty. If it isn’t my own review, and it’s exorbitantly verbose, I won’t have the time nor the patience to read them, especially in size 10 font and in 10 different paragraphs. While I love a meticulous review, I tend to skim through them once I’ve gotten the general idea. When I try to think about it, I’m not sure if people out there even read my own reviews in full, which are of course, are the simple, yet variegated by-products of my habitual prattle. I know that I have a lot of readers who take the time to read them as they are, but then again, one can never ensure the fact that they come in majority.
So what’s the point? The point is that there is one. Yes, you don’t have to write reviews to be a book blog, and yes you retain your essence even without a glorious archive. I myself review only 1-2 books a week, and usually that leaves me quite satisfied. I don’t believe that reviews have to be the posts that generate the most traffic or the best discussions, at least for them to be worthwhile—they help other readers, and are avenues for one’s own assessment and speculation, preeminently rewarding for the intransigent and opinionated. Whether or not you’re directly aware of it, people do read them, and the mere fact that there is an audience and an opportunity for unrecompensed expression tells me that perhaps there’s no dilemma after all.
Let’s just agree to agree, shall we?
But what do you think? Do you think there’s a reviewer dilemma? Do you think reviews are worthwhile? Tell me in the comments below!