Thursday, January 15, 2015
Reading as a Reviewer vs. Reading as a Reader
My experience with the act of reading changes often, depending on what book I'm reading and why I'm reading it. Since I'm linking up with Samantha from Bookish Serendipity for her Read. Blog. Discuss linkup, I want to talk about reading as a reader vs. reading as a blogger. Book reviews are a huge part of the blog-o-sphere, so I thought that Samantha was quite brilliant for suggesting that we bloggers discuss the differences between reading for ourselves and reading for a review. Here are my thoughts.
These are the books that I pick up because I want to lose myself in them. I want the escape from my world into someone else's. I want to marvel at the way an author spins a story. I want to explore unique characters and their equally unique tales of growth. I want to laugh at character's witty comments. I want to be swept off my feet by a romance. I want to cry when a character dies or goes through something worse than death. I want to feel things. I read to extend my range of empathy, to understand myself better and to understand the people around me better. This type of reading is a primal one, an organic reason for reading, the reason why all of us bookworms started reading in the first place. This type of reading is driven by emotions.
Reading as a Reviewer
Since I read for escapism and general enjoyment, I find reading a book for the sake of reviewing a book (e.g. ARCs) puts a strain on total immersion in the story. I find that there's always this voice in my head reminding me to pay attention to the details, pay attention to the writing style (which we all know is supposed to disappear in a good book), and to be thinking about what I'm going to say in the review. When I know I'm expected to review a book before reading, it's like there's a veil dropped, stopping me for losing myself in the story and keeping my brain a little too much involved. This is why I signed up for Netgalley, but I didn't end up reviewing any books. I just couldn't bring myself to enjoy reading the e-arcs that I had downloaded, because I hated reading with an agenda. And if I'm not enjoying a book that I'm reading for fun, for my blog, what is the point?
All that being said, I do occasionally enjoy reviewing a book, and you will see those reviews scattered around A Splash of Ink's archives. However, the decision to review always comes after I've finished reading the book. Their is no plan to review when I start a book, instead the review is born out of feelings and questions that linger long after I'm finished a book.
I think with more experience in the book reviewing area, I could change that mindset and enjoy it a lot more, especially since I have so many good examples of awesome reviewers in the blog-o-sphere. However, A Splash of Ink isn't a book review blog, so I'm okay with just admiring all your reviews and reading as a reader for now.
Do you like reviewing books? Do you find a difference between personal reading and reading for a review? Am I over-thinking this? Let me know all your thoughts in the comments!
Listening: to someone madly typing in the library
Watching: Person of Interest