Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Review Conundrum

Once I finish reading a book, I am always plagued by the question: when do I write the review?

On the one hand, the hand that is older and less likely to remember exact details, I think I should write the review immediately, while the characters, plot, theme, and emotion are still fresh in my mind. I usually have no problem remembering "if I like a book or not" --- but I struggle developing support for my opinion if I do not write the review shortly after finishing the book.

On the other hand, the hand that enjoys quiet reflection and contemplation, that believes that the true opinion of a book is only fully developed over time....I think that I should write the review after a few days - or even weeks. This method allows me to truly discover the "why" behind the emotional response of like or dislike. The flip side of this, of course, is that I lose track of such descriptive details as character names, relationships, conflicts etc. The image that stays in my mind is one of generalities rather than specifics. Not exactly conducive to a well-received review.

I suppose I could develop a compromise of sorts. Write down initial thoughts and summarizing details once I finish with the book - save the post as a draft - and then after a certain amount of time has passed - complete my emotional response. However, that goes counter to my efficient way of thinking that says, "Do not procrastinate. Complete the task so that it can be properly checked of the to-do list."

As you can see, this is a conundrum on several levels. So I ask you, dear reader, how do you write your reviews? I would love to gain some perspective on this issue.


31 comments:

thecaptivereader said...

I've kept reading diaries for years so, as I'm going through the book, I'm writing down thoughts and favourite quotes already. I usually write the full review up within a day of reading then review it the next day, to make sure I haven't thought of anything more, and then I will post it. I also usually write several reviews over the weekend which I then will post throughout the week, so I don't feel any rush to write a quick review on books read during the week, giving me time to relax and reflect on them and then finally post once I'm happy with my review.

Meghan said...

I try to write my reviews soon afterwards. Sometimes a book will stay with me, but I'm not sure my feelings change drastically on them after a day or two of reflection. Normally I'm scheduled fairly far ahead anyway, because I read pretty fast, so I can change things if I want to. Since I almost never do, I think writing reviews within a day or two is ideal for me.

Mr. Chester said...

Lately, my review writing is a weekend activity, so I don't write them as soon as I finish reading. There have been times when the details of a book were lost because of this. I like to schedule the reviews to publish a week, even two, after they are written. This gives me a chance to revisit them after some time has passed just to make sure I'm really saying what I want to say. Taking some time over them also helps me figure out what it is that I want to say in the first place.

Vivienne said...

I try and write mine within a couple of days of reading it. I tend to read a lot faster these days and find if I don't write the reviews quick I end up sitting looking at a pile of books waiting to be reviewed and I find that really depressing.

Annette said...

I keep a notebook and take notes as I'm reading. Notes about synopsis of the story, the things I notice in the story that I like or dislike and why. Rarely do I wait more than a few days before posting a review.

StephTheBookworm said...

I write mine as soon as I can after I finished, either the same day or next day.

bermudaonion said...

I usually write mine shortly after I've finished the book and then sit on it a few days. I read and edit it before posting.

Nicole (Linus's Blanket) said...

I struggle with the same thing. I am leaning on writing a short summary, as I am reading or as soon as I finish and a few notes, and the review a little later. But I hear you about the procrastination trap.

farmlanebooks said...

I normally write some of it as I'm reading it and then finish it off in the 24 hours after I've finished it. It is then normally about a week before it gets posted, so I will look at the review before I post it and see if my opinions are still the same. I'm a bit behind at the moment though!

Ambrosia Jefferson said...

I tend to write my review right after and at longest a few days unless something comes up. Mostly because I read so many books I want to make sure each book gets a good solid review that is not muddled.

Kay said...

I love your "do not procrastinate" statement, Molly. Spoken like a true Type A (or maybe you're not?). :-)

I really try to write my thoughts on the books I read right afterward because I tend to move on in my head to the next book. Or maybe it's a sign of advancing age! If I wait too long, I can't remember what I wanted to write. I keep a log of the books I've read, but just haven't felt the need to take notes. For me, that seems too much like school. To each her own I guess.

Lisa said...

I've done mine pretty quickly after I finish reading a book but I love some of the suggestions you've gotten. I was always concerned that I would begin to get confused with my current read if I didn't get to it right away.

Jillian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jillian said...

I think it fully depends on the book I am reviewing. If it has made a big impact or has made me feel strong feelings as soon as it has ended, whether it's a positive feeling or not, then I usually write the review as soon as possible. Example was when I wrote a review for The Book Thief (which I loved so much), it was easy for me to write a review as soon as it was possible, because I truly loved it and is now one of my favorites. Also, when I read The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown, I also wrote a quick review on that because I DISLIKED it so much!
If it's simply a book that I have either liked or disliked, but not have made that much impact, I don't mind lagging for a few days. Like you said, this helps readers like me realize the book's true effect.

jillmrayearth.blogspot.com

Florinda said...

I usually try to write my review as soon as I can after I finish the book (ideally, within a day). When possible, though, I won't schedule it to post right away, so I'll have a little time for further consideration and revision. That's kind of a compromise approach, I guess :-).

Lu @ Regular Rumination said...

I try to write my reviews right after I read a book, because I articulate my feelings much better then, but I know what you mean. There have been a lot of times where I've gone back and reread and review and not felt the same about a book. I've been doing something similar to what Jackie has been doing, scheduling reviews in advance and then reading them before they post to make sure I feel the same way.

ANovelMenagerie said...

When I first started blogging, I did the reviews right away. Now, I do them as time permits. Guess working a lot will do that to you. If I had my choice, I'd do it right after I finish reading it while my impressions are vivid.

Vasilly said...

It's becoming harder for me to write reviews if I don't write them right after finishing a book. For some books I think I'll have to start a reading notebook so I can keep up with details. For other books, I think I will have to re-read them first, then review them. Let us know what you end up deciding.

Diane said...

I struggle with this as well Molly. I write my thoughts as I am reading as then do the reviews as time allows, buy I prefer to do them sooner vs. later as everything is fresh in my aging brain at that point!

Michelle said...

I started keeping a reading diary that helps me keep those immediate reflections fresh in my mind when I go to write the review a day or two after finishing a book. That way, I can allow a book to sink in for an in-depth review but can still remember my immediate reactions because I wrote them down!

Kathleen said...

Hi Molly, even though I just discovered your blog yesterday I have given you an award. You can see it at http://boardinginmyforties.blogspot.com

Rob said...

I'm still trying to come up with a system that works for me.

Right now I don't go to the next book until the review is written.

I normally tag pages as I read the book and then after I'm through, I'll revisit these pages to structure the review.

I like to think about it for a few days and do some rough drafts. It somehow all comes together when I start writing the final version on-line.

Aloha from Rob

Nan said...

I go back and forth on that also! I forget details easily (especially if I read a similar book soon after). But many times I've written a review about a book only to realize a few weeks later that the book didn't really stick with me or that it did stick with me more than I thought it would! I'm still trying to find the right balance.

Jenners said...

I face the same problem. Sometimes I let MONTHS go by before I write a review and then I really have to struggle to remember things. But I find that if I write them too soon after reading the book, I change my mind about how much I loved or hated the book. It is difficult to know what to do .. I suspect writing a few notes with details (or even the story overview part) might be good to do first and then write your opinion later.

Kathleen said...

I do best when I read a book and then review it right away. The longer I wait, the less likely I am to remember what I want to bring out to my readers.

voip said...

thank you

Kara said...

I write my reviews right after I read the book. It is still fresh in my mind, details are clear, and my thoughts aren't jumbled with other books. However, if it is a book that really moves me...I might leave the review in draft form and then come back to it a few days later and see if there are any new thoughts I want to add.

pussreboots said...

I read much faster than I can either write or post reviews. When I finish a book, I add it to my list of books I want to review. When I have time I pre-write my reviews. I pick at random one title from the list of titles. I then decide if I still want to review the book or not. If I do I write the review. If I don't, I cross the title off my list and pick another title at random. I also post my reviews at random. It keeps me from falling into ruts in terms of genres or authors I blog about.

Kristen said...

How soon I write my reviews depends entirely on how backlogged I am in writing them and my access to a computer, which fluctuates throughout the year. LOL! I'd love to write them right away but definitely see that my later reviews, are on the whole, more thoughtful than those written immediately when the book is still swirling at the forefront of my brain.

KMDassaro said...

If I want an effective review, then I have to write the it shortly after reading. I have a horrible memory. I only read one book at a time and usually start another one as soon a I finish one. If I don't right down my thoughts, then the story will become clouded with what I read next. However I don't always post it right away. I may feel that I don't like a book at first, but then find myself still thinking about it into the next book. Then I will adjust my review and post it.
mommysreading.worpress.com

Wendy said...

I write my reviews within 24 hours of finishing the book ... for two reasons: 1. the book is then still fresh in my mind, but 2. I get to sleep on it and let it percolate a bit before I finalize a review.

Sometimes I will write a review, then let it sit a day before publishing it (especially if it is one of those books which has made me think!)

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