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Comments for Shannon Hale Wants to Know

Shannon Hale Wants to Know: 08/26/09

Shannon Hale

Shannon Hale asked some interesting questions on her blog about the process of book reviewing. Suey wrote an answer post on her blog and I like the idea so I'm posting my answers too.

Shannon asks:

1. Do you find that the anticipation of reviewing the book has changed your reading experience?

Anticipation of reading of a book is enough to change my reading experience. I try to keep those expectations in mind when I'm sitting down to write the review.

2. Are you rating the book even as you read? Or do you wait until the end to sum it all up?

I keep notes of my progress on GoodReads for my thoughts after finishing a chapter or to track a favorite quote. I use these status updates to refresh my memory when it's time to write the review.

3. Does knowing you'll be reviewing it (or rating it) publicly affect which books you pick up in the first place?

No. I am still reading for my own enjoyment above all. I hope to connect with other readers out there who share similar likes and dislikes. I am not though trying to pick popular books just to get traffic.

4. Does the process of writing the review itself change how you felt about the book?

Sometimes the process of writing the review does alter my initial reaction. Usually it will improve my outlook on a book. Thinking critically about a book will force me to think of its narrative structure and other techniques. Good craft will rank higher even if I don't like the outcome.

5. What is your motivation to assign a rating to a book and declare it to the world?

I don't rate books on my blog reviews because reading is such a personal experience. Sites like GoodReads and BookCrossing have a built in rating system so I will add a rating when I post a copy of my review on those sites. I try to follow their site guidelines when picking stars.

6. If you review a book but don't rate, why not? What do you feel is your role as reviewer? I'm very curious about all this and hope you feel free to speak freely (and kindly and respectfully, of course) even if you disagree with me.

Since I'm not a professional reviewer, I see myself more as a book fangirl. If I ever change careers from web producer to literary reviewer, I will rethink my role as a reviewer. I leave the ranking off my site to give people the change to read the review and leave with their own opinion on the desirability of the book.

Comments (14)

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Comment #1: Wednesday, August, 26, 2009 at 09:25:26


Great answers! I especially love the term "book fangirl." That's totally how I feel.

Comment #2: Monday, August 31, 2009 at 17:17:13


I like books and love writing about them. Blogging didn't become fun until I focused on books. I really didn't start out with an angenda beyond perhaps getting other people enthused about books too.

Comment #3: Sunday, September, 6, 2009 at 04:48:05

Erotic Horizon

I love your answer - Very fresh and to the point...

I concur with quite a lot of what you said especially about just reading for the simply pleasure of reading and connecting with like minded readers...

Thanks for a great post...

Comment #4: Friday, September 11, 2009 at 17:36:01


Thanks. I'm trying to grow as a blogger but I am still doing it primarily for fun. If it stops being fun, I'll probably stop.

Comment #5: Sunday, September, 6, 2009 at 07:36:28


I'm not a "professional" reviewer either, and I guess journalists would say that we who review books on our blogs are taking a "soft" out when we point out that we are first of all reviewing to clarify our own ideas, and only secondly to recommend books to others. Blogging about books (crime fiction in my case) gives me plenty to blog about though, and though I originally intended my blog just to be a place where I published my reviews, it has become far more than that.

Comment #6: Friday, September 11, 2009 at 17:51:33


I don't worry about the journalists. The books I cover are so different from what they cover. Mine are usually self published, or out of print or not on any of the best sellers lists.

Comment #7: Monday, September, 7, 2009 at 17:24:06


So far yours is the most similar review system to mine I've found. I like it :o)

Comment #7: Friday, September 11, 2009 at 17:59:01


I only rate the books when I'm sharing my reviews on sites that have a rating system in place. My hope is that regular readers who know how my reading tastes vs. their own will be able to judge how well suited a book is for them based on my thoughts.

Comment #8: Tuesday, September, 8, 2009 at 13:23:46

gautami tripathy

I seldom rate books. I simply don't like it.

Comment #9: Friday, September 11, 2009 at 18:02:05


I don't rate books here... only on social networking book sites like GoodReads.

Comment #10: Wednesday, September, 9, 2009 at 20:58:56


I like your view of reviewing. I've never tried to make my reviews "professional" either. Sometimes my reviews are even more about the ideas in the book than the formal content and workings of it!

My review is here.

Comment #12: Friday, September 11, 2009 at 18:06:16


I put a lot of myself in some of my reviews too.

Comment #13: Thursday, September, 10, 2009 at 18:58:33

Erotic Horizon

Loving your honest thoughts on this weeks WG...

Quite a bit of what you said resonate with me..


Comment #14: Friday, September 11, 2009 at 20:24:44


Thanks! Sorry about the slower than usual reponse this week. My week has been hectic.

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