Reading Without Reviewing — LET YOURSELF EXPERIENCE

Hello darlings!

Welcome to my first discussion post!

It’s probably mostly me rambling but we all need to start somewhere and I promise not to be too chaotic! So, I wanted to talk about a certain recent experience of mine.

We’ve all seen those discussions: ‘Do you have to review every book you read?’ but I would rather be more decisive from the start.

No. I don’t review all the books I’ve read.

But that’s not all on the subject. My question here is: 

What about the periods of time when you stop reviewing books altogether? Are they a waste of potential or something entirely different?

I didn’t mean for this to happen. I never tried to summon this experience. I simply stopped writing reviews for a while and it came to me. Not instantly. I had to close my reviewer’s eye for a bit first.

There is something about reading a book just for yourself.

When you don’t need to focus on any particular elements or how you will EXPLAIN your likes and dislikes.

Relapse Records Ocean GIF by The Album Leaf

When you just let the words come to you like a tidal wave. You close your eyes and don’t name things: this is salty water, this is the wet sand, this is a seashell and this is a piece of amber. It doesn’t make those things LESS of themselves. In fact, just for a moment, they become MORE. They become the experience enclosed in this one moment. They exist just for you and you live in a world where nobody else experienced them the way you do.

I haven’t reviewed a book in some time. Sure, I left a short note on GoodReads every now and then but none of them was detailed all-encompassing reviews I used to write.

Black And White Loop GIF by A. L. Crego

At first, I just didn’t have the time. Then I was just too focused on other posts. And then? I don’t know? I went on the audiobook binge and since I rarely review audiobooks, I just didn’t?

It was for the ease of it mostly.

mental health girl GIF by ChabaskiI still paid attention. I still mentally noted down my reviewer’s thoughts. But there is something freeing about audiobooks that makes it easier to just let them [the thoughts] pass. — If I wanted to note them down, I would have to either pause the book or miss some parts. The former seemed like too much of a hassle and the latter wasn’t an option.

There’s also something about audiobooks that lets you listen to the story even when you’re feeling depressed as fuck again and the whole rational thinking department turns off.

girl school GIF by Remus & Kiki Animation

That might have helped. You sit back, close your eyes, and let the story wash over you.

Honestly, I don’t know if the audiobooks were the key here.

Maybe yes —maybe it’s that human experience of a TOLD STORY.

A story from before writing stories down was a thing and you had to scoot closer to the fire and listen carefully. The voices honey to your ears — so sweet and golden.

Hardly Art GIF

Or maybe those were just the conditions needed for me to experience this feeling at this particular moment.

Or maybe I just like to romanticise every part of my life.

I will never know.

I am glad though.

It’s so important to learn again to listen without judging first. To learn — what makes the story for ME??

Or not learn.


Because when I don’t name things for a second, they get to be a part of me. Because when I don’t name things for a second, I don’t draw the line between me and the story.

Because it feels good to be A PART OF SOMETHING.

I’m not advocating for abandoning reviews altogether. Nor am I saying I’m giving up on them.

Lyss GIF

Actually, all this led to me writing a review.

This review will be so much different from those I’ve been posting usually.

I love thorough reviews. I seriously LOVE writing them. I love the details and the analysis and how well-rounded they are. I have no intention of giving up on them either.

Fuck, I was an English major. It’s my shit.

But also, I know how unemotional they can turn out.

I know how I sometimes edit them, again and again, repeating for god’s sake, it’s a blog post not a mid-term paper. Be more entertaining!

Writing down this new review felt like going back to the basics. Focusing on the feelings. On what was important for me.

And yeah, it won’t have 7+ sections. It will be much shorter than my usual reviews for the full-length novels. But must all of my reviews be like that?

Drawing GIF

I, too, deserve to get lost in the story sometimes.


  • Do you review every book you read?
  • Do you focus on the reviewing while reading or keep those separate and only focus on the review after you finish the book?
  • Do you give yourself a period of reading for the reading sake only?
  • What does your reviewing process look like?


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16 thoughts on “Reading Without Reviewing — LET YOURSELF EXPERIENCE

  1. I’m so glad you talked about it, E! It’s such an important post! I review *almost* every book I read, but sometimes I don’t want to review a book and only read it for myself. When I read a book to review, I have to note down so many of my thoughts so that I can mention them in my reviews, but it’s something I don’t want to do every time. Lately, I’ve started to just read for fun and not to write a review because it makes me enjoy the story more. As you said, we do deserve to get lost in the story sometimes! Wonderful post, as always! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Nikita! I realised that after some time I didn’t review books a little I could finally tune off my mental note-taking and it was such a blessing?? I love helping books get attention and being a part of this community but sometimes it just feels so good to read for myself only!! ❤


  2. “Because when I don’t name things for a second, I don’t draw the line between me and the story.” You nailed it right there. If I’m reading to review, I’m composing that review in my head as I go, effectively standing apart from the story. Which is not a bad thing – reading analytically is how I’ve learned a lot about writing. But sometimes I just want to read a dang book! I’ve started shifting to doing mini-reviews rather than full reviews, partly because of time constraints and partly because I can write 1-3 sentences about what I liked about a book without having done analytical reading. And honestly it’s a huge relief knowing I’m not going to have to sound super-smart about a book later, I can just read it and enjoy it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly! One of my professors (r.i.p.) said we should read books twice — the first time to just experience the story and the second time to analyse it. I mean, nobody got time for THAT but it’s so easy to get lost in the analysis and just enjoying the reading is important too. It’s our hobby first and hobbies should be enjoyed!
      Doing mini-reviews is a great way to take off that pressure! I think I’ll be doing more of emotional reviews now? I love the analysis but I’m shooting for the variety here!
      Thank you so much for commenting, Skye! ❤


  3. This is such a good discussion! I definitely don’t review every book I write…and mostly it’s because those books I don’t review fall outside my usual genres. I feel like I can’t actually look at them from an analytical standpoint because I’m not as familiar with the genre. That being said, I don’t review every book in the genres I read in either! Sometimes I simply don’t have something to say 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, that’s another aspect! Sometimes I also feel like I don’t have much of a room for comparison if the book falls outside my usual genres. If I have to write a review, I try to focus on the parts familiar to me and only gloss over the rest but if it’s not an ARC, I just skip it.
      Thank you! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love this discussion! I used to review every book I read, but I found that writing down notes while reading pulled me out of the story. Now, I maybe review 1 in every 5 books – I finish the book without making any notes so that I can fully experience it, and I’ll write a review if it’s something that I’m still thinking about days after finishing. It’s made reading so much more fun, since I don’t feel any pressure to dissect a story mid-read.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, that’s exactly what brought up this post! It’s so different to just read a book without making yourself stop to note things down constantly? I feel like I don’t let myself just enjoy books enough!
      Thank you, Erin! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t review every book I read. I like to leave some books for “me time” and be able to immerse myself in a story without having to write notes and critically assess things. This is because, when reading / reviewing a book, I tend to write notes as I go along, otherwise I could forget key plot moments or points I want to mention within my review. However, this process also risks pulling you out of the story.

    As I’ve said, I don’t review every book I read, and do give myself periods of reading for pleasure and nothing else. In the summer of 2019, I’d just finished university and got married, so I took a total break from blogging altogether, and read plenty of books just for sheer enjoyment! It was quite fun to be able to “switch off” for a bit.

    Great discussion post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! I feel like I focused on reviewing so much I forgot to have some “me time” reading as well. Honestly, even with the books I don’t plan on reviewing I sometimes catch myself mentally “writing” the review as I read and, as you said, it’s good to switch off from time to time!

      For me, it’s hard to focus on things so going back between reading and writing things down throws me off a lot so being able to maintain that focus throughout the whole book is a blessing!

      Thank you, Judith! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve been feeling this recently — as if I’m sometimes sucking the joy out of reading by trying to review EVERYTHING I’ve read. In the end, I’ve decided that a few short sentences may be all that I can drudge up, and I can always go back and write later. And they can be funny, they don’t have to be serious! Also you are right, they are not a midterm paper which is what I’ve been treating them like…!

    I have to remind myself to take a break now and then!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think we as bloggers put so much pressure on our reviews and basically push ourselves into slumps… But it’s so hard to maintain that middle ground between wanting what’s best for our blogs and promoting the books we love, and remembering that this is our hobby not another responsibility! It may be as well the perfectionist in me but I just overthink everything I read and write to the point where I can’t even remember whether I’m enjoying it and it’s so frustrating!

      I’m glad I’m not alone in this! We deserve breaks!!

      Thank you, Mere! 🙂


  7. I don’t like to review books in general. In fact, I usually will only review books that were specifically sent to me for reviewing purposes. For some reason I find it very difficult to write my thoughts down. I can easily have a conversation about any book, but I find writing to be constricting for reviews. There’s so much to say, and it’s so difficult to convey properly. With a conversation you have a back and forth and can clarify ambiguous points, but I’ve had times where I’ve written reviews and explained why I disliked a certain aspect, only to find that people misconstrued my meaning. I will many-times analyze what I liked/disliked about a book in my head, just for myself, but I’m happiest when I feel no obligation to review a book. I loved this discussion though! Sorry about the long winded rant, I just have a lot to say on the subject!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, yes! It’s so much easier to share your thoughts and build upon each other’s ideas! Maybe it would be a cool thing to start collaborative reviews? Idk, in an interview form? Or something?
      I know! It’s so easy to be misinterpreted — you have the whole perspective and oftentimes you talk to someone with zero knowledge about this book. It’s hard to get your points across while also worrying about the spoilers and all that!
      Yes, it’s just so much easier without that pressure? And I say that as someone who LOVES writing reviews — it’s just not an easy task and it takes time and skill and a different type of immersion than reading for pleasure does.
      No problem at all! I love long comments 🙂 Thank you for the time you took to write this, I really appreciate it ❤


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