Hi everyone! I’m back again today with a long-awaited blog post/guide! This one has been much requested for a while, and while my answer to this question is often very short and straightforward, I thought I’d make a dedicated blog post anyway to really show you guys how I go about writing my book reviews!
Just a little disclaimer: I am no professional book reviewer/critic! I write my book reviews for fun, and I also do it because I think it can help people decide on whether they should pick up a certain book or not. I think this post would be great if you’re looking to write personal book reviews but don’t know where to start 🙂 But if you’re looking into the book reviewing industry/guides on writing scholarly book reviews, this post may not be very helpful, so please keep this in mind when you read through this post!
To start, here is my book reviewing process in three steps:
- Book annotations and comments of my thoughts
- Compiling all my thoughts in a journal + generally discuss plot, writing, characters, and overall thoughts
- Type everything out on my blog and finalise
Step 1: Book annotations and comments of my thoughts
You guys know that I love to annotate my books, and that is pretty much the root of my book reviewing process! I think having written my fresh thoughts down while I read a book can really help with writing book reviews, so annotating your book and writing comments on the specific features of the story as you go will really help you remember what the book is about as well as your thoughts on it.
I also get questions on how I annotate and what it is exactly that I annotate about, and I have a full blog post on how I do that here. But in short, I write pretty much anything that comes to mind when I read certain phrases and paragraphs of the book! It could be a comment on the author’s writing, the characters, how funny a certain phrase is – literally anything! Every annotation counts, no matter how insignificant you may think it is 🙂
Step 2: Compiling all my thoughts in a journal + discuss plot, writing, characters, and overall thoughts
Now that I’ve got my annotations down and I’ve finished reading a book, I would usually compile all my annotations into a journal! Since I write out all my book reviews by hand, they always start out very long and messy, but this is personally great for me because I think it’s better to have my raw thoughts on paper before finalising them on my blog 🙂 And if my annotations have not already done so, I would make sure to cover my thoughts on the book’s plot, writing, and characters. These three narrative features are what I often focus on when writing reviews, because I personally believe that these three can either make or break a story! Here is a whole list of all the book reviews I’ve done in the past. Note that not all my book reviews cover these three points, but you can see that my newer book review posts (2020 onwards) have a more organised structure that goes over the three points! Feel free to make comparisons to my all book reviews – old or new! Maybe some of them can inspire you to write book reviews in some other way 🙂
I won’t go into depth on how I talk about each feature, but I basically just write out what I like and dislike about the book. Anything that stands out/is important to point out is good to cover as well. Honestly, my number one tip is to just write your reviews the way you yourself would enjoy reading one from your favorite book blog! 🙂 Spending too long on a review and looking up all the right words to use could (personally) really take the joy out of a book AND writing your book review. So just write naturally and you’ll have yourself a banger of a book review!
Step 3: Type everything out on my blog and finalise
Once my journal pages have been filled with my book review, that’s when I’m ready to type it out on my blog! I tend to just blindly type out what I’ve got on paper to my blog. This saves me so much time, rather than having to edit as I go. When I have a huge blob of text typed out, I’m ready to finalise the whole thing and edit out any grammatical mistakes! This is a great time for me to go through the three narrative features I covered (divided into – in most cases – three paragraphs), my final thoughts, and concluding recommendation. At the very end, I also tend to make comparisons to other books with similar features, so it helps people narrow down their interests and pick up a book based on another book that they’ve enjoyed in the past 🙂 And that is pretty much it!
Thank you for reading through this blog post! I hope it has helped some of you out in writing your book reviews 🙂 Once again, this is one of many different ways to go about writing a book review, so please take my three steps with a grain of salt! It’s good to just reference from this post and find your own rhythm in writing out book reviews. You’ll find that it gets much easier the more you do it, so long as you start somewhere!
I’ll see you guys again in my next post 🙂 Take care everyone!